With so many wonderful places to stop for tea in London, I am hard pressed to settle on a favourite. However, Camellia’s Tea House is definitely one that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good tea spot. It is both a good spot for tea and a spot for good tea. As well as the good range of quality loose teas, I enjoy their atmosphere; they have an eclectic collection of furniture and teawares in which they serve their tea, giving the place the feel of a cosy, homey independent tea room.
Their range of teas encompasses black, green (Chinese and Japanese), white, and oolong, as well as those non-teas, herbal infusions and rooibos teas. Their herbal infusions are interesting because one of the founders is a qualified Homeopath and so brings her knowledge of traditional remedies to the handmade blends they offer. Hence names such as “Antiviral Tea” and “Bone Building Tea” (yes, I know, they lose a point for using the word “tea”… but they do refer to them everywhere except in the name as herbal infusions). If you tend to find that traditional homeopathic remedies work for you, you might want to try some of their blends. And if you are not one of those people, you can still enjoy the taste of their infusions!
In terms of real tea, Camellia Sinensis after which the tea house is named, Camellia’s features many of the usual suspects in addition to some more unusual teas. There is your Earl Grey, your Genmaicha, your Formosa Oolong, but then there are also twists on classics such as Earl Grey Orange and Tea Blossoms and rarer teas, such as Ceylon Green. This is a green tea grown in a region better known for its black teas, of which the tea house has two—a Ceylon black tea from the Shawlands gardens and one from the Kenilworth estate. They also have two Assams and two Darjeelings from different estates, and they specify which flush they are from. These things make a difference—although you may not yet be able to tell one Assam from another, or know exactly what the difference between first and second flush Darjeeling is, you never will if tea establishments do not list this information.
My sister accompanied me on my latest visit to Camellia’s Tea House. Having decided to order a pot for two, we tried to find something that would fit both our needs. The staff at Camellia’s encourage you to use their sample tea caddies to help with your decision. Although I find their tea caddies a little unwieldy and not as helpful in conveying aromas as others I have encountered, I appreciate that they encourage this. After exploring a few caddies, we settled on their cinnamon black tea—it met our needs for an afternoon energy boost and felt especially seasonal on a cold, brisk November day. With a dash of milk, it was the perfect pot to share as we updated each other on our lives and enjoyed people watching from our cosy corner table.
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