Brew up a cup of Britain’s favourite beverage with these luxurious brands.

In the UK, we drink around 165 million cups of tea a day. We love the stuff. We’ve loved it since the 17th-century. Samuel Pepys’s diary entry for September 25, 1660 read: ‘…afterwards I did send for a cup of tea (a China drink) of which I never drank before’.

As a nation, we are famous for believing that we can solve most problems by putting on the kettle and making a simple cuppa. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are some brilliant British companies selling out-of-this-world tea.

Here, we pour over the purveyors of the finest tea around.

THE TEA MAKERS OF LONDON


Working closely with the most celebrated tea gardens in the world, as well as independent artisan tea farmers, the award-winning Tea Makers of London sells an astonishing range of quality loose-leaf teas. They say: ‘We believe tea is not just a drink, but an experience that should be revelled, enjoyed and passionately explored.’ A delivery from its online Tea Shop would blow the minds of the tea lovers in your life.

NEWBY LONDON


At the turn of the millennium, Newby London was set up with a clear aim: ‘to reintroduce quality tea and revive the world’s love for it’. The company claims to be the world’s most awarded luxury tea brand – which might be why it can be found in so many fancy hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and glossy shops. Newby’s recent collaboration with Matthew Williamson, who has designed a very alluring range of caddies featuring three bespoke tea blends, is a coup for the company. The designer says: ‘Newby epitomises luxury in every sense of the word and [they] do things with passion and flair. I’ve loved the process from start to finish… including learning so much more about the history of tea.’ With free delivery when you spend £30, it would be a crime not to invest in something from his collection...

FORTNUM & MASON


Tea is pivotal to the world’s most famous (and grandest) corner shop. In 1902, Fortnum’s created a bespoke brew for King Edward VII, who’d asked them to bring him ‘the finest tea in all of the land’. These days, its pretty green caddies of scores of exceptional teas are a globally recognised marks of Britishness. We’d like some of the Gunpowder Loose Tea, please, for its tin alone. Meanwhile, the site is a perennial pleasure, from to start to finish.

POSTCARD TEAS


Forgive us for including this website when it is neither the prettiest nor the most user-friendly out there. The company has earned its place on our list because it is such a charming concept. Back in 2008, Postcard Teas were the first people to put the maker’s name and location on every single one of their teas. More recently, it introduced the idea of ‘small tea’, which comes from producers who farm less than 15 acres. Nigel Slater, that most trustworthy of voices, calls it ‘very, very special tea’. The purchase of one of their Tea Vouchers is a nice idea; a visit to the Mayfair store is a must.

THE RARE TEA COMPANY


Henrietta Lovell – also known as The Tea Lady – set up The Rare Tea Company in 2004, in order to source and supply the world’s greatest tea directly from its farmers and their tea gardens. Her goal is to ‘help tea gardens flourish like vineyards, and for our customers to appreciate tea like fine wine. Good tea may cost a little more but the difference is worth every penny.’ Heavyweights in the food industry are big fans, with Mark Hix saying: ‘This has to be tea at its finest.’ Blended from selected fields and harvests in a family-run tea garden in Malawi, we’d like a tin of the Speedy Breakfast Tea any day of the week. It is well worth following the brand on Instagram, too

TREGOTHNAN


Home to the Boscawen family, the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall began supplying Britain’s first homegrown tea in 2005. The estate boasts the largest botanic garden in Cornwall and a unique micro-climate, which ensures that its pioneering tea plantation thrives. Business is booming but Tregothnan tea is still hand-picked by the team of seven full-time gardeners. Sales manager David Raynham says: ‘The first crop in 2005 yielded just 28g of tea. That’s just 3g short of one Tregothnan caddy of loose leaf tea. Now, around 10 tons of tea is produced a year… We still don’t fully understand what we’re doing. The Chinese have been doing it for 5,000 years, and they’re still learning.’ A caddy of Tregothnan Earl Grey would make a lovely present. The estate’s comprehensive website also sells lovely English cut flowers and jams and marmalades to die for.

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By Becky Ladenburg
August 2020

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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