If you want to understand the love story between London (and even the UK) and tea then head to the Twinings shop-museum on the Strand (it’s opposite the Royal Courts of Justice). It’s the oldest shop-museum in London. And if you love tea, this is a place you’ve got to visit!
Try something new
The shop is a tea lover’s paradise. It’s quite narrow (it looks like a very long corridor) but its presentation is neat and there is in impressive display of teas.
In a way, it looks like a library but instead of books, you got teas.
You can find the usual ones that are sold in supermarkets but there are also some less easy to find teas such as: Jasmine, Pu’erh (we’re still not quite sure how this is pronounced), Keemun and others.
The shop also has a tasting section where you can try the teas that are available for tasting on a particular day (they change daily).
When we went there we were given the possibility to try 3 different teas: Rooibos & Orange, Jasmine Jade Butterfly and English Breakfast (this last one was not so fancy since everybody knows it but it was still pleasant to drink as it was from loose tea).
Become an expert
You won’t be given much information during the tea tasting session so…
If you really want to become a tea expert, they also run some masterclasses.
Not in December though as this is a very busy month for them so they need all the space possible in the shop.
During the class, you will get to learn the origin of Twinings, the history of tea and you will also get to learn which countries the teas come from etc.
The museum is part of the shop. It’s tiny and can be visited in 10 minutes (literally!). It sits right at the back of the shop, near the tasting bar.
You will get to read about how it all started.
You will get to learn that it was originally founded as a coffee house and then the Twinings family saw an opportunity to sell tea which they embraced happily.
However, it was not plain sailing. They had to fight hard to make tea available to the masses at a time when it was the prerogative of the rich and also when it was heavily taxed!
The cold is truly back now and unfortunately it will last a few more months.
But there’s some good news! During those nasty months, you can drink some nice hot tea indoors. There’s nothing better than having a nice cuppa when the weather’s horrible outside. And as they beautifully expressed it a few years ago in one of their ads… drinking a nice cup of tea is a good way to take time for and reconnect with yourself.