Tea, the most amazing and powerful both socially, financially and healthy resource in the world. Who would have thought that tiny dried leaves, swirled around the teacup of stormy seas on boats from India, China and Ceylon could lead to beauty, joy and also drama. Today I’m looking at the life of tea, beautiful tea sets , the gorgeous glowing golden liquid itself and warm cosy tea houses in London.
Tea has a great place in our hears. Let’s be honest it’s the lady like sister to coffee, it sits well in a fine bone china cup, poured out of a teapot, willing to receive milk, perhaps pop a warm scone with clotted cream on a tower of pastries beside it on doilies that remind you of Victorian skirts frilly, bunched and innocent.
Have it in a cardboard cup, dumping in a tea bag like last weeks hedge trimmings and then throw on some milk in Starbucks and quite frankly it looks dejected and a tad put out!
Everyone’s been to a hotel room where those weird red paper envelopes contain tea that turns into a murky dark mess in those thimble size hotel room cups. I’ve often been tempted to pack a kettle, a large teacup, a box of tea bags of my choice and 250 mL of milk onto the plane to avoid those travel hairdryer looking kettles a bad brew! It seems such a waste of something so delectable.
The boiling of water to make tea killed the bacteria that were killing people in their droves in London and hence tea is a preservative of the people of London in the 17th century.
Priest from Portugal found these amazing leaves in China and brought them over in the 16th century creating a new religion and trade that would lead to many dramas between the West and the East for tea trades routes and wars amongst the nations for land and power.
Even BBC’s new drama Taboo raises the price of international trade and valued resources and trade routes. Tea in its innocent form was part of slavery, opium and trade route deals etc that the nations fought over and the subsequent wars over land and money.
Tea cups and tea sets are my thing at the moment, their delicate nature and the wide range are amazing at the minute.
I’ve found the Pip Range very lovely and vibrant and Spring time (which unsurprisingly is this seasons floral blooming theme) check this stand out for beautiful homeware.
I also love the Wedgewood Cuckoo tea cups with blooms on mint, blackberry or orangey butterfly set that come in little hat boxes filled with a gift which would be both lovely to give as well as to receive even from yourself and it comes with a little book of authenticity to.
Kate Spade’s Tea sets are vibrant I love the bold joyous reign of colour of her main display set – I also adore her hand bags – so wouldn’t say no to those either.
There’s also Pip Studio (one of my favourites! – see below) Katie Alice, Graces Tea ware or Royal Albert to check out for contemporary, spring flower and feminine tea sets.
There’s something very cosy about a tea set, you can pick something as girly as you like and even twee and doily-esque and it doesn’t feel grandma-ish (not in a fusty way anyway).
The Tea Cup has also been revered as a sign of sophistication and delicate tastes and has also become emblazoned on people in the form of tattoos.
Cosy tea houses in London abound from the obvious large old school venues The Ritz, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason obviously or the Mandarin Oriental and Harvey Nicks (Nichols) for the jasmine pearl afternoon tea.
Jasmine pearls are a fantastic thing to share tea with your friends as they unravel to make beautiful shapes and burst into glorious whole Jasmine flowers inside a glass teapot, a talking point in themselves.
I find High Tea of Highgate a cosy 1950’s tea for a pot of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle and is lovely after a walk in the beautiful Waterlow Park. http://www.highteaofhighgate.com
Candella on Kensington Church Street has a decor of unusual items and meringues inside a wire dress, old and unusual tea pots that can give you a break from shopping or visiting the galleries and museums.
Sacred Cafe in Ganton Street (Carnaby street) is filled with antipodean arteficats and buddhas with a bathroom with burning incense and little nooks to chat down stairs in the basement on the coaches.
High Tea of Highgate – 50 Highgate High St, Highgate, London N6 5HX, UK
Sacred Cafe – Kingly Court, 13 Ganton St, Carnaby, London W1F 9BL, UK
Candella – 34 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London W8 4HA
Graces tea ware