Visit London Blog » yumchaa Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:06:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fancy a Cuppa? London’s Top 10 Tea Attractions Tue, 02 Jul 2013 14:09:20 +0000

Tea is a British institution – and obsession. For Londoners, a cup of ‘Rosie lea’ (as the cockney rhyming slang goes) is a social occasion, an icebreaker and a cure for everything. Explore the history, current trends and endless varieties of tea at these tea-lightful London attractions.

Mad For Tea exhibition at Fortnum & Mason
Until 28 July, fancy London department store Fortum & Mason is hosting Mad For Tea, a free exhibition all about the cuppa. You can admire fine silver, teapots and tea cosies from the past, discover new styles from contemporary designers and learn about the importance of tea in Britain. Want to get more hands on? Book a place on one of Fortnum & Mason’s upcoming tea workshops or talks, including Tea Tasting: An Introduction on 27 June, Afternoon Tea Q&A on 11 July and the Tea Lecture on 25 July. Don’t forget to buy some of the store’s famous own brand tea on your way out.

twinings_smallTwinings Strand Shop & Museum
Twinings Strand Shop & Museum has a long and fascinating history. Bought in 1706 by Thomas Twining, the shop was originally one of London’s many coffee houses – but came to be known for its unique sideline in tea. As tea became more and more fashionable, business boomed – attracting the likes of Jane Austen and Charles II. Today the store boasts a Sampling Counter, Loose Tea Bar and a fascinating miniature museum – featuring old teapots and caddies, vintage advertising and packaging, and old Twining family photos.

The Way of Tea at the British Museum
Still quick-dunking your teabag in a cup of boiling water? Learn how it’s done properly at The Way of Tea, a free demonstration of the Japanese tea ceremony at the British Museum’s Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries on 12 July and 26 July. As well as the demonstration, given by members of the Urasenke London Branch, there’ll be a short history of “tea drinking and gathering” in Japan.

Stock up at Tea Palace
Through its stores in Covent Garden and Chelsea, tea emporium Tea Palace does a roaring trade – selling a selection of more than 120 fairtrade teas and infusions, including flowering teas, herbal Tea Tonics and organic teas. You’ll also find tea-related gifts and accessories, from quirky teapots to swing infusers.

Tea Masterclasses at The Chesterfield Mayfair
How did tea first come to Britain? Are tea bags or loose leaves better? Why are teas different colours? These and more fundamental tea questions are answered by tea experts Jane Pettigrew and Tim Clifton in their comprehensive Tea Masterclasses at The Chesterfield Mayfair. As well as tasting teas and learning how to properly brew, the day course includes lunch and afternoon tea provided by the 4-star hotel.

A proper cuppa at Yumchaa cafés
You won’t find any tea bags on offer at Yumchaa, which firmly believes in the superiority of loose leaves. The typical teabag, they say, “contains mostly tea dust and broken leaf particles”. Oh dear. Thankfully Yumchaa is on hand to offer quality, blended teas – from Soho Spice to Chelsea Chai – brewed in the traditional way. You’ll find Yumcaa café/shops in Camden Lock, Soho, Camden Parkway and Tottenham Street.

Afternoon tea at The Goring
There are many places to enjoy afternoon tea in London, but The Goring has topped them all by winning The Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea Award 2013. The five-star hotel has been serving afternoon tea since it opened in 1910 and currently offers three afternoon tea options: The Coronation Afternoon Tea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation, Traditional Afternoon Tea and Bollinger Afternoon Tea. Enjoy yours on the sunny terrace overlooking The Goring’s private gardens or inside the cosy lounge.

Tea artefacts at the Museum of London
Keep an eye out at the Museum of London and you’re sure to spot fascinating relics from London’s tea trading and drinking past. Just a few items on display include a cup and saucer featuring suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst’s ‘angel of freedom’ logo, a 19th Century doll’s house tea service and a ‘chop book’ used to document tea dealings between London dock officials and Chinese sailors.

Seasonal Tea Library at Brown’s Hotel
Brown’s Hotel offers a delicious afternoon tea in its dedicated English Tea Room, but not many people know it also has a Seasonal Tea Library. Curated by tea traders Lalani & Company, the library consists of a carefully selected collection of teas, sourced from top family-owned tea gardens around the world. Pop in to sample varieties from the Summer 2013 Library collection, such as Himalayan 2nd Flush Grand reserve (Darjeeling 2011) and Jade Mountain Roasted Oolong (Taiwan 2012).

Bubble tea at Bubbleology
The latest trend in tea right now in London is bubble tea. A Taiwanese creation, bubble tea is fruit or milk tea served ice cold or hot with tapioca balls, which can be sucked up through a large straw. Bubbleology’s five stores (in Soho, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Westfield Stratford and South Kensington) offer seven milk tea and six fruit tea varieties, including Ginger Red Tea, Mocha Pearl Tea and Mango Green tea.

Fancy another cup? Try one of London’s best afternoon teas

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The Best Tea Shops in London Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:00:43 +0000
Afternoon tea in a hotel or a tea room is the ultimate treat, but tea should be an everyday indulgence. These fine emporiums sell blends to make the perfect cuppa at home.

Postcard Teas
If you really care where your tea comes from, this shop run by well-travelled tea expert Timothy d’Offay is for you. Postcard Teas on New Bond Street claims to be the only shop that reveals the true origins of its teas, marking every tin with the maker or estate’s name and the place of production. You can send someone a “tea postcard” by posting a packet into the shop’s own red postbox.
Top tea: The rare Ancient Tree Teas, including a blend from four 100-year-old trees on Wuyi Mountain in China. Only 5-7kg of Oolong tea is made from them every year.

Yumchaa believes the key factors for a great cup of tea are “the leaf, the water and the freedom for the two to mingle”. So it’s loose leaf or nothing across its four shops – one on Tottenham Street near Goodge Street station, two in Camden and one in Soho.
Top tea:  Berry Berry Nice, a Rooibos tea with notes of blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, rhubarb, kiwi, vanilla and rose petals. It should be drunk while wearing sunglasses, according to Yumchaa.

Thomas Twining bought this flagship Twinings shop on The Strand in 1706, as tea became an increasingly popular alternative to the coffee houses springing up in London. It still operates today, albeit in a slightly more modern form. It has a loose tea bar with unusual and expensive teas, a sampling counter where you can try warm teas, and even a small tea museum with old teapots and artefacts from the Twining family.
Top tea: The Cutty Sark blend, created to celebrate the reopening of the world’s last remaining tea clipper ship in Greenwich. The black version is a mixture of two Chinese teas: strong sweet leaves from Yunnan province and Keemun tea from Anhui province.

Tea Palace
This queen of modern tea shops sits in the Market Building in Covent Garden. It sells tea bags and loose leaf tea in regal purple tin caddies. Among more than 160 whole leaf teas, Tea Palacecreates limited edition blends for special occasions – such as an Ultimate Antioxidant Tea Trio to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Top tea: The Diamond Jubilee Blend – although Tea Palace keeps the exact blend of black teas involved a secret.

If you fancy some tea and cake, here’s our list of the best afternoon teas in London.

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