Standing at busy Ludgate Circus, with St Paul’s Cathedral behind you, it would be hard to imagine that you are just steps away from a pot of Monkey-picked Oolong plus a choice of some thirty-odd types of tea.
However behind a somewhat faceless office block facade, a few steps to your right is To A Tea.
Pushing open the doors, one expects to step into the lobby of some faceless company.
It is a pleasant surprise therefore to find this rather nice tea room, with an excellent choice of brews.
Tea makes a wonderful gift, and Kusmi Teas exotic and colourful packaging means you don’t even need wrapping paper.
With its fashionable Gallic style and visual flair, I had assumed that Kusmi was originally a Parisian company.
But as I discovered on their website, Kusmi was started 140 years ago by a P.M. Kousmichoff, the son of a Russian peasant. There is a London connection as his son came here in 1907 to hone his tea blending skills.
After a long history involving escaping from the Reds and surviving being run by arty-types, Kusmi now have a branch on Marylebone High Street. (more…)
Someone should make a film about HR Higgins Coffee Man esq.. The tale of how he started his coffee roasting enterprise in wartime London is heroic stuff.
Evading incendiary bombs, showing cunning in getting a licence to trade; featuring characters with one leg, and help along the way from Misses Fox and Jenkins of South Moulton Street – whose cake kitchen saved the day – makes for a fascinating and jaunty read.
I imagine Trevor Howard in the leading role…but I’m getting carried away. (more…)
Walking along Shaftesbury Avenue, pondering where to get some nice tea, it suddenly occurred to me that I was near Chinatown – surely a good place to hunt down supplies.
At number 124 is Beijing Tong Ren Tang. I have gazed at the orange and gold facade many times from the excellent watch-the-world-go-by-window of the cafe of Curzon cinema on the opposite side of the street.
It never really occurred to me to think what they sold, (more…)
The exterior of The Tea House Covent Garden is reminiscence of a Japanese screen.
Black lacquer window frames form a grid on four levels – each square containing a display of teapots, cups and tea. Vermilion lettering enhances the oriental feel.
The shop has been on the same spot in Neal Street since 1982. It is good to see an independent still trading amongst the larger stores.
What I like best about The Tea House is their range of unusual (more…)
The East India Company’s extraordinary and influential history stretches back to 1600 when it was established by a Royal Charter from Elisabeth I.
Over the years it had its own army, and flag – said to be the inspiration for the U.S. Stars and Stripes.
The Company’s dealings led directly to British rule in India and its system of organisation was precursor to the British civil service. (more…)
Postcards Teas travel extensively in Asia, working with small-scale producers to find the finest teas which you can buy from 9 Dering Street, a former 18th century grocers shop.
The lovely calm space has tea simply displayed and beautifully packaged in brushed metal canisters; each with a unique postcard and (more…)