Tuesday, 1 March 2011


There is nothing like a cup of tea to make everything better, is there?

My younger, sugar-addled self would have scoffed at the thought, having been forced to drink Chinese tea with my dim sum every weekend. It didn't matter to me that the name of the meal (yum cha) literally means 'drink tea' - I was just there for the dim sum! However, they say that your palette changes as you grow and sometime in my teens I actually started liking tea - of all kinds.

/* Confession: last year, about twice I had beer with my dim sum. It seemed.....well wrong! pucca_love_14 */

London as a whole has a lovely selection of tea's - pretty much anything you could want.

The Tea House in Covent Garden, my favourite tea shop not only sells tea - it also sells all the tea parapharnelia you never knew existed! It's difficult to miss - the windows are positively stuffed full of everything they could think of, in charming contrast to the minimalist displays of the surrounding shops.
Inside, the aroma from the stacks and stacks of tea never fails to remind me of an amazing visit to the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. The Tea House doesn't sell a specific type of tea - it has Chinese, Indian, African and English tea, herbal tea, fruit tea, floral tea and probably many more tea I can't remember. They also have seasonal mixes for Christmas. My favourite from here is a Chinese black/green/floral blend called 'The Emperor's 7 Treasures' which tastes lovely and peachy. It even tastes great cold/chilled. The rooibos tea and spiced tea also come highly recommended.
Upstairs, is teapot land. One-cup teapots, glass teapots, teapot sets and all the matching mugs can be found here.
The assistants here know their stock inside out, and if they don't have what you are looking for, can suggest alternatives or expected stock delivery dates.

If fruit teas are your thing, Whittards of Chelsea do a pretty good brew. I have a love-hate relationship with fruit tea. Disappointed after trying many different types of fruit tea which smell so so different to how they taste, I am on the fence. However, the fruit teas here are much more convincing flavour-wise than many others I've tried. The dark berry based ones here are the only fruit tea I buy these days, and I couldn't live without them.

If you are lucky enough to have a bigger budget to spend on a cuppa, Fortnum & Mason do an amazing selection of high quality tea - mainly traditional English tea, Chinese tea and a few fruity teas.
Beautifully packaged (of course!) in tins to keep the freshness, the tea here makes a lovely gift - and if it's good enough for the Queen.....

Also for the bigger budget, for those who believe tea is much more than the taste and scent there is Sen. A Chinese herbal remedies shop, it also sells Chinese tea which has been used for centuries in China to ease ailments. Much more modern and minimalist than you would expect a herbal remedy shop to be, the assistants can help you find the right teas which may help your ailments. I have never visited the shop while ill though - I am always drawn to the wide collection of flowering (blooming) teas that they stock here. As each ball of tea is dropped into glass teapots of hot water, it opens into a bloom to indicated when it is ready. Some contain a single 'bloom' - a burst of colour from the surrounding leaves. Others open out to a beautiful bouquet of various blooms! They are expensive but surely worth a once-in-a-while treat.

My duckie tea infuser @ work

Happy.....um, drinking,


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