By LAUREN KELLY BROWN, JUNE 2017
Tea has long been recognised as Britain’s favourite hot beverage. We drink it on cold, blustering winter nights. We drink it on hot, sticky summer afternoons.
As a nation, we can’t get enough of the stuff! On a leisurely stroll through London’s bustling streets, it’s relatively easy to locate a cute little café or quiet coffee shop to settle in for a nice cuppa. And now, through the city’s ever growing diversity, you can sample almost every type of tea you could ever imagine possible. I love tea. I’ll just come out and say this now. Milk and two sugars please if you’re offering! However, a standard cup of tea should be at the bottom of your list if you’re heading out in the city for a cup of the good stuff. On my travels through London’s wondrous streets, I have come across so many unique and quirky places to satiate my thirst for tea of all varieties and I’d love to share my discoveries with you!
Brew Tea PubI’ll start with this – Tea Cocktails. Yes, you read that right! And no, they are not alcoholic beverages infused with tea (which is exactly where my mind went when I first discovered this place!). This establishment is actually an alcohol-free zone, embracing the vibes of a good British Pub, but exchanging pints of beer for pots of scrumptious tea. From an Earl Grey & Tonic to an English Breakfast Martini, there is no shortage of creative cocktail options here. If tea cocktails are not really your thing, feel free to sit back and relax with a fresh cup of Masala Chai or Moroccan Gunpowder Mint. There’s plenty of delicious snacks on offer too – continuing the typical British theme with mustard glazed sausage rolls and slices of cake with flavours that will truly tickle your taste buds. Be prepared to want everything on the menu, I can guaranTEA (sorry!) that you will not be disappointed.
Soho's Secret Tea RoomFancy going on a treasure hunt? This tea room is the perfect prize! Living up to its name, the secret tea room in Soho can easily be missed by those who are unaware of its existence. Finding this quaint little tea heaven is a mini adventure; you’ll have to search the doors of Greek Street until you spot their elegant brass plaque with the secret tea room logo embellished on the front. How cute! Once inside you’ll instantly slip in to a relaxed state of mind as the sounds of smooth jazz and swing set the perfect mood for this quirky establishment. As you take a seat and enjoy the sights and sounds around you, it’s easy to feel like you’re a part of an exclusive tea appreciation society. This place oozes vintage vibes and with over 16 leaf teas and various scrumptious homemade treats on offer, I do not recommend passing up on this little secret! But, shhhh! Don’t tell anyone.
Afternoon Tea at the British Museum
Fancy a truly British Afternoon Tea experience? Then this is about as British as it gets! Boasting some truly amazing exhibits, there’s so much to do here aside from sipping on a delicious cup of the good stuff. However, I’m here to tell you all about the tea, so if you’d like to know what’s on at the museum, all details can be found on their website! The Great Court Restaurant is located under the spectacular glass roof of the museum atrium. Some delicious tea flavours are on the menu here, including my personal favourite of elderflower and lemon (so refreshing!). If you’re feeling peckish, there are also a few afternoon tea packages on offer, which include decadent savoury snacks and some truly amazing desserts. The great thing about tea at the British Museum is that there’s always new things to see, so there’s always a new reason to visit and explore their delicious menu!
Twinings on the Stand Did you know that Twinings was established in 1706? That’s over 300 years of fabulous tea! Located in the heart of the city between the borders of Westminster and the City of London itself, the original Twinings establishment has been the heart and home of many tea creations over the past three centuries. It has also hosted many famous historical guests such as Jane Austen and prime minister Earl Grey, who even had his own tea invented (and named) after him!
After taking a seat at the tea bar, you will be offered to try an array of samples which are presented in beautiful little porcelain dishes. The staff encourage you to smell the leaves and really savour the unique flavours on offer – They are truly passionate about tea! However, there’s so much more to do here than just settle down for a nice cuppa. Why not take a browse through the exhibition to learn more about the history of Twinings? or there’s always the in-store tea masterclass, where you can sample various flavours and learn more about how each tea is made!
The store itself boasts a huge pick ‘n’ mix wall of teas, all of which you can purchase in various quantities. A deluxe wooden tea box is provided for you to fill at your leisure, which makes this tea shopping experience both charming and unique! Alongside this, the store holds regular events (such as the National Cream Tea Day masterclass – scones, jam and cream included… YUM!) All event details can be found on their website.
If you’re truly a tea lover, this is the number one destination for you!