Monday, November 2, 2009

Twining's Tea

Logo courtesy of Twinings website

Recently I visited the historic Twinings Tea shop on the Strand.

In the 17th century, the most popular drinks In England were coffee, gin and ale. The Chinese had been drinking tea for centuries but it had only recently been imported to England and had yet to become very popular.

Along comes Thomas Twining who sets up shop on the London Strand in 1706 in the former Tom's Coffee House, and he introduces tea to his customers. By the 1750's, tea was the most popular drink of the working class.

In that same spot today, this narrow little shop sells tea along with a little bit of history.

Twining's now sells more than 200 teas.

Their expert tasters taste more than 3000 cups of tea per week.

On the high end are these two teas, which sell for between $37-42 for 4 1/2 ounces. Both are two highly coveted Chinese green teas.

These intrigued me. How about a moment of calm? Oh, if it was only so easy to find that elusive moment of calm with a cup of tea!

And for those who like a little bit of this and that, you can put together your own assortment of teas, a bag at a time.

In the back of the shop is a little museum where you can find unusual and special items like this beautiful tea caddy in a sarcophagus shape with brass handles. It dates from the latter part of the 19th century.

Now you may think this is blasphemy in this veritable tea hall of fame, but my eyes were drawn to this cooler of iced tea. Confession time--I am not a hot tea lover. Makes living in London slightly more difficult when you feel like a fish out of water. Believe me, I've tried to like it, with cream, with sugar, without cream, you name it, but it hasn't grown on me yet.

Thankfully, they have a drink just for me--silky smooth and indulgent, it claims. Thank you Twinings for being all things for all people!


  1. Great post, Debi. I am feeling a little calm after reading it. ~donna

  2. I heard they've shut their doors permanently now...when did you go?

  3. I went in a tea shop in Covent Gardens. Actually, I think it was more of a souvenir shop with tea. I really don't like hot tea either, but I was on the hunt for a tea cup with the Queen's picture on it... I wanted to make a candle out of it. I LOVE the Queen. Anyway, I didn't find one.
    Maybe next time I'm in London! (Doesn't that make me sound like a world traveler?)

    Ta Ta for now,

  4. Debi I just love reading your blog. It so reminds me of when we lived in London. Hope you do develop a taste for tea. I like an infusion - chamomille. Miss you and hope we can share an iced tea together soon! xxoo Wendy

  5. I'm actually sipping on Twining's Earl Grey as I read this. Thanks for the post!

  6. Hello, I am a first time commenter and I found you through Girl Meets Paris. I love your site. being inspired by your last post, I have just purchased a "Keep Calm and Carry On" tea towel to frame and hang in our mudroom for my school age crew to look at along with an encouragement scripture to help them out the door on their way to school. But I am so glad for the Twinnings pictures today because on my last visit to London I put it on the agenda of a "have to" sight to see because we ice tea lovers from Texas also love us some hot tea. And then we arrive to find it closed and it was our last day in London too. But now I feel I have gotten an appropriate tour just minus the lovely tea aromas. Happy blogging!

  7. Great post-thanks for sharing these lovely images-I am having a cup of Traditional Afternoon tea as I am reading this!I am so happy I just found your beautiful blog-can't wait to come back again!
    Best wishes, Natasha.

  8. Jenny,
    Thanks so much for stopping by to take a peek into my little world. It's great to have new friends on board. I really like your idea of hanging the tea towel where it will catch the whole family's eyes as they come in and out. We could all use a little more calm in our busy worlds. Sorry you missed Twinings, but it has reopened, so I hope a London trip will be in your plans in the future.

    Best wishes,

  9. Natasha,
    So glad you stopped by with a cup of tea to have a look at the blog. I'm always happy to hear from new readers, and hope we will have a chance for future connections.

    Happy Fall,