Tea for You

A few weeks back,

I hosted a group traveling through London

that were

studying the history of tea.

(... does that sound really random...)

After weeks in India, Morocco, and Boston,

they were on the final leg of their trip...

and what better place to end a pilgrimage for tea

than London?

And, boy, did we do it right.

We had fancy high tea at

St. James

in the historic department store,

Fortnum & Mason.

Not for the everyday treat

at £45 per person...

but with lunch offering like Lobster Salad

or the Crab & Saffron Tart,

you definitely are paying for quality.

look at that delicious hunk of lobster. mama mia.

The main course is served between

savoury amuse bouches

and the delightfully obtrusive tea cakes & scones.

Heaven help me.

The next day, we went to


(the original storefront along the Strand)

for a tea tasting.

Holy cow.

I mean, I drink tea.

I drink a lot of tea.

To be honest, 

I kinda consider myself a bit of a tea expert.

After our tea tasting, 

I realized I am actually just ignorant.

The making of tea is a bit complex.

It was like a visit to a vineyard

hearing them describe the method & process

behind each variation.

I had no idea so much thought & work went into my daily drinks.

Who needs champagne when you can have

20 cups of Darjeeling for half the price?

Ok... I guess it's not exactly the same.

Maybe you are smarter than me

(this is very possible),

but just in case you're as clueless as I was,

here are some things I learned during my morning at


1. Most tea comes from the same type of plant.

(camellia sinensis)

Green tea, black tea, white tea... you name it.

The variation of color comes from different parts of the tea leaves

and the differed time of fermentation.


Tea is fermented?

Yes! Not all, but black teas are.

However, unlike wine-

it's only fermented in hot air for a matter of hours.

3. Tea is marked up about 3000x from the fields to the store.

Isn't that crazy?

4. When tasting tea, 

you make a very loud slurping sound

to allow half tea/ half oxygen in your mouth.

It's not very proper sounding, but proper form it is!


did an amazing tasting for us,

and I would highly recommend them for groups traveling through London.

I mean, if they have been the official purveyo

r to the monarchy

for centuries...

I'm sure you might like them, too.

*All Twinings photos are taken by Noah Darnell, The Fledging Photographer.