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?
Mastering Matcha with T2 Tea Kingston
Becoming a Matcha master isn’t something that I can see happening any time soon but with help from the lovely Nick at T2 Tea Kingston I am but one step closer to this goal of mine (that and being able to Chai Wallah!). A group of us headed to T2 Tea Kingston on Saturday and oh my life it was fun, we were taught how to make Matcha the ‘right way’ without ending up with something that resembled poorly filtered pond water (most of my attempts!) and I even got some handy hints for my Matcha pancakes which seem to be popping up on my Insta a lot these days. So onto mastering Matcha!
Matcha is a stone-ground Japanese style green tea and all the Matcha used by T2 is a certified organic ceremonial grade. Matcha Green Tea is much more than a drink it is part of a traditional Japanese culture that has been in place for centuries. The ceremony is one of not only great style but the epitome of grace and elegance as those that take part have the opportunity to bond with their most inner self and experience heightened mindfulness whilst focusing on the here and now.
Many of us are used to loose leaf green tea which can be tasty in its own right. Matcha is a different level all together – it is a superior grade of tea that is packed with antioxidants that boost your metabolism whilst providing a fast and effective detox. One cup of Matcha is the equivalent of around 10 cups of green tea when you are thinking about antioxidant properties. The importance of brew temperature is also something to take into careful consideration. When you make a cuppa, the initial instinct is to boil the kettle and pour – Am I Right?!
Well, according to my sources (T2 Obvs!) you should be using 80° water as this not only locks in the flavour but keeps all the goodness from your choice of tea. With regards to Matcha this is particularly important as you would be wasting all that potential goodness by just not having a little patience.
With that in mind let’s get down to business, then shall we?!
To make a decent bowl of Matcha you will need . . .
1 x Bowl
1 x Matcha Whisk
1 x Matcha Scoop
1 x Pot of Matcha powder
200ml Water heated to 80°
A whole lotta’ love
Put 2 heaped scoops of Matcha with 200ml water (80°c) into the Matcha bowl and whisk in an M shape which should break up any lumps. Continue to whisk the mixture until a light foam appears on the top. Stir in a lot of love and drink as you wish!
So, my question to you is . . .
Now you know how to make it right are you going to try it?
I know after making the effort to take a little extra time to get the water the right temperature and using my beloved Matcha whisk I am loving my Matcha even more than before. Next on my list is perfecting my Matcha pancakes, although they taste good I want them a little greener – I have had some tips so I will be trying them out ASAP! Keep your eyes on my Insta!