I’m a HUGE fan of tea, it’s a daily ritual that I participate in and I love all varieties of green, black, white, and oolong (the only ‘real’ varieties of tea which are all derived from the plant Camellia Sinensis). Herbal “tea” is not technically tea but an infusion of different plants with various herbs and flavours… this can be lovely too, whether I want a ‘pick-me-up’ or a calming brew there’s so many great teas to choose from and drinking proper tea is good for us!
Due to its polyphenols, flavonoids, (types of antioxidants) and phytochemicals, it’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea are good for our heart and may help against free radicals that can contribute to disease. The less processed the tea leaves, usually the higher the polyphenol content. Green and white teas are less processed than Oolong and black teas which are oxidized or fermented and so green tea and white tea has higher antioxidizing power and the most potent health properties.
All these proper teas contain caffeine and theanine, which can heighten mental alertness and give you that morning boost that coffee does, but in a healthier way. What other awesome reasons do we need to drink more tea?!
I have a dedicated tea cupboard and a favourite mug, my orange cockney mug (a perfect cup of tea every time!) but as well as this daily ritual I love to make tea drinking a bit of an event. Here are some of the best places in London to get a perfect ‘cuppa’.
Twinings on The Strand
When it comes to tea, there is no brand that is more iconic than Twinings and their Tea Room on The Strand is a true part of British heritage, it’s been around for over 300 years and has hundreds of teas and gifts for tea lovers.
216 The Strand, London WC2R 1AP
Tea tastings, tea baristas, a tea bar, tea art work and free wifi! Created in South Carolina after the founders spotted a gap in the market for quality teas and tea products and now there are two locations in London to choose from. Get your chai tea, matcha lattes, tea-based frappes and iced teas from Marylebone or Soho.
24 New Cavendish Street, W1G 8TX
52 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TQ
Urban Tea Rooms
A funky, modern version of the traditional tea room in Soho serving classic loose-leaf teas, if you want to try something different, go for the pink rose bud tea.
19 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5PY
This tea company knows everything there is to know about tea from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and India. The first tea company in the world to put the maker’s name and location on all their teas, you'll be in heaven with more than 50 varieties of tea from more than 35 producers, including the world’s rarest and most expensive tea, Mother Tree Da Hong Pao, made by Master Xu in China.
Dering Street, New Bond Street, W1S 1AG,
With a terrace overlooking the Thames on the historic Tower Wharf at the Tower of London, the Perkin Reveller is the place to sip a fine cup of tea (why not try their Royal London Blend) and savour the captivating view right in the very heart of London.
The Wharf at The Tower of London, EC3N 4AB
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon - Fortnum & Mason
This tranquil Tea Salon was opened by HM The Queen along with the Duchess of Cambridge and is a rather stylish destination to sample some of the 80 plus tea varieties served beautifully by ‘tea-ristas’ who will elegantly offer a complimentary tea-tasting before you order.
181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER
If you’ve never had Russian afternoon tea, this is an experience and the place to be transported, amongst stacked dolls, elaborate chandeliers, knick-knacks, tapestries and bookshelves filled with Russian literature. Here you can try Sushki, a traditional Russian tea bread with tea served in glass that can be sweetened with jam instead of sugar. Certainly, a memorable cuppa!
Wellington Court, 116 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PJ