In 1886 Walter Whittard at the age of 25 set up his first tea shop on Fleet Street – it was one of the busiest years for the British tea industry with new highs two years later of tea imported from India reaching 85million pounds (in weight!) – this apparently exceeded the import weight of teas from China – thats a lot of tea! Many cast aside the idea of success when it came to Walter’s tea shop as something that would be a passing fad.
Walter had a secret – that was his special blends which went on to become favourites of London’s elite. Walter would cater to the tastes of the masses but also very closely to the individual customers needs which clearly did not go unnoticed. By the time it got to the 1890’s Walter and his growing trade we fast outgrowing his humble abode on Fleet so it was time to move on and that is just what he did to none other than Mincing Lane which in the late 19th century was also known as London’s ‘Street of Tea’ and the world’s leading centre for tea and spice trading (I did not know this!) – it is a little one way street in the City of London linking Fenchurch Street to Great Tower Street.
After the war and the complete ruin of the Whittard Warehouses thanks to the blitz the Whittard brother set to work at establishing new premises. New digs were set up on Fulham Road and of course the loyal flock of customers followed. Chelsea was now the new tea hotspot in London. Bringing us haring into the present day of Whittard’s the company works to their founding father’s philosophy of only providing the best and brightest blends of tea to their customers and from personal experience I can most definitely say they do take the individuals tastes into account and try and fit you with something that is just right for you. To say I felt like goldilocks was an understatement – these guys are not only friendly but some of the most astute teachers of tea that I have met in a long time – their knowledge is second to none when it comes to the leaves that I will be gracing my much loved china cups with. There are of course many companies out there that will blend some truly fantastic brews but Whittard’s of Chelsea really does stand out amongst the crowd for both quality and service.
A number of months ago I was kindly invited to Whittard’s in Kingston who hosted a small session for National Tea Day and despite being ridiculously late with my post I am so glad that I waited. I will of course being writing separate posts on the individual and maybe even some of the teas grouped together but for now I just wanted to show you the level of kindness shown by the lovely Whittard’s people.
What was in the box?
Oh my . . . I can’t even!
I mean this box is full of tasty treats that I literally could not wait to break in to. To start with the biscuits were absolutely heavenly I will most definitely grabbing a few more packets when I am next in store as well as stashing away some of the new Christmas biscuits ready for the festive season ahead.
Although tea is one of my favourite drinks I don’t talk about it enough on the blog so my great loves from the tea world won’t be obvious. However, times are about to change (I hope!) – I love a good green tea especially a flavoursome mint tea. Marrakech Mint made an incredibly tasty brew and really does leave you feeling fresh from the inside out – sounds weird but when you try it you will get it! I hope!
Previously when making tea I was under the impression that you could just boil the kettle and go – that however was in the days of just grabbing a tea bag and stirring. Whittard takes things to the next level of brewing and really gets you involved from the degrees to the minutes. If you are unsure then just pop into your local Whittard shop and the lovely staff in there are always willing to help.
Have you tried Whittard yet?