There’s a new drinks trend sweeping London, and it’s got nothing to do with alcohol. Could tea salons be the new cocktail bars?
Ah, tea. It’s a British staple, and yet not necessarily one we enjoy as a social out-and-about event with all the fervour of coffee or (ahem) cocktails. However, offering a lighter, healthier alternative to coffee or alcohol, tea is definitely worth indulging in as a fun city activity. After all, tea drinking is a social conduit through which we can natter, gossip, or simply reflect. Then there’s the fact that tea is good for the soul, and is believed by many to boast both healing and restorative powers. No wonder, then, that tea salons and tea houses are trending alongside the wellness-oriented approach to mindful living in 2019.
Interested? Look no further, as we have put together our definitive list of all things tea around London, adding an injection of fun into our nation’s greatest love. Whether you’re looking for an exotic, nuanced blend, or just a simple cuppa, we’ve got something for you. And, with tea house menus spanning page after page, there are more tea possibilities than we ever dared dreamed of…
And that’s the Tea.
France’s oldest teahouse, Mariage Frères, has a reputation that precedes itself and so it’s exciting to note that the brand has recently opened a magnificent five-storey town house in the heart of Covent Garden.
This emporium features a retail space, alongside a restaurant and a tea museum. And, if you fancy a little walk after your tea consumption, why not peruse the longest wall of tea in the world? Yes, you heard that correctly: the world’s longest wall of tea.
Essentially, Mariage Frères is opulence defined. So, if you are in the mood to treat yourself to an afternoon of luxurious tea drinking, this is definitely worth a visit.
Where: 38 King St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JS
Yumchaa’s Soho establishment is situated within what once was a famous hip hop record store, with two floors of open, bright, tea sipping space.
Self-proclaimed as ‘cosy’, this café is perfect for a comforting afternoon of tea. With temperature sensitive filtration systems, there will be no stewed cups of brew here; they even let you know how long to let your tea sit. Furnished with couches and quiet nooks, this place is the perfect way to get out the house and embrace a prime book-reading and tea-drinking opportunity.
Where: 45 Berwick Street, London, United Kingdo
Good and Proper Tea
This one’s for all you no nonsense, good honest tea drinkers out there: Good Proper Tea’s Bar located in Clerkenwell is a rustic, authentic haven for brews. Committed to creating the same quality experience normally reserved for coffee consumers, this bar has set up a space to celebrate tea in all its glory.
Don’t let the lack of frills fool you, though: this little gem still boasts a menu of around 38 different strains of tea. There is also the opportunity to grab some tea-themed gift sets for those lucky people around you: think Feel-Good tea, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, an ‘ultimate Matcha Tea Set’.
Where: 96A Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TX
Mint Gun Club
Looking to be whisked away from the streets of London to the cool, enchanting serenity of warmer climates? Mint Gun Club in Stoke Newington is the perfect place. Inspired by ultimate holiday vibes, MGC is the perfect antidote to city life, whether you are in desperate need of a break, or find yourself in a post-holiday slump.
Despite also playing home to aperitifs and cocktails, there is no doubt that this place knows their fine tea. Their herbal tea, ‘tisane’, menu spans over eight pages, with teas sourced from places as familiar as Cornwall, to those slightly further afield (think Malawi’s Thyolo Mountain, for example). With a range this varied and exciting, there is guaranteed to be an herbal infusion here for everyone.
Where: 4a Brooke Road, Clapton, London N16 7JN
Candella Tea Room
For those who enjoy the finer things in life, why not try an organic cup of loose-leaf tea at Candella Tea Room. This vintage inspired café is full of antiques to feast your eyes on, from whimsical tea cups and furnishings, to eccentric tea pots. Candella also has one of the widest selections of teas in London, with 50 various different blends.
Described as not just a tea room, but a home, you’re guaranteed to feel welcome in Candella. Fancy a spot of food also, Candella can cater to all your breakfast or lunch desires and needs.
Where: 34 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4HA
Xu Teahouse provides an opportunity to let tea take you far away, as their brews are steeped in traditional Taiwanese culture. Their tea (sourced directly from the teahouses of Taiwan) is served in traditional Taiwanese teapots and each type of tea comes with an explanation of the history of the strain and its origins.
This is the perfect chance to get involved in a tea ceremony and choose from a whole host of partially, fully or barely oxidised teas.
Where: 30 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DL