As I returned to the UK for a blend of business and pleasure, I swelled with pride as I went to cafés and eateries and found the bar had been raised on the quality and range of teas available. A visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in the centre of England was accompanied by a lovely lunch at their restaurant, and amongst the usual offerings of tea was a tealightful Yerba Maté fruit blend. My sightseeing trip also took me to Matlock Bath where I enjoyed a loose leaf Russian Caravan. I loved the décor of this tearoom which was steeped in history with displays of teaware and tins of rationed foods.
I went to see a wonderful exhibition at Chatsworth House and naturally at the end of the visit, I took a trip through the gift shop. There were lots of tea paraphernalia, of course, and this tea mug was my personal favourite.
Having spent some time in central England, I headed down to London ,which is always a joy to be in when it comes to tea. I revisited one of my favourite tearooms, opting for a loose leaf Darjeeling 2nd Flush whilst my husband tried a Yunnan Gold, but we sought out new tearooms too. After taking a trip down memory lane, we came across a former pub that had reinvented itself. Empire Café sought to return to traditional British foods, locally sourced from the British Isles where possible and, looking at their sample menu, I was particularly excited about their teas. The selection of teas is familiar to the everyday drinker, but they are loose leaf nonetheless.
One of my memorable visits upon my return to London was a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum and, having taken in several exhibitions (Post modernism, Private Eye, and the House of Annie Lennox), my husband and I treated ourselves to lunch at The V&A Café. I chose Darjeeling First Flush whilst my husband opted for an Earl Grey — loose leaf of course!
So there we have it. The UK, whilst steeped in tea history is no longer just about a teabag with milk and two sugars, the quality and varie-tea have certainly changed.
Read more of May King’s articles about tea here on The English Tea Store Blog.
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.