I wrote exactly a year ago about Postcard Teas in Dering Street. I was just back from Darjeeling and Assam and was amazed that Timothy d’Offay, the owner, knew well and sold the tea from Glenburn, the most inspiring and beautiful tea estate of my trip. (I can’t resist putting a picture here):
Since then, nothing that Tim knows about tea and its growers surprises me. He is simply absorbed in and by the stuff, and his enthusiasm is infectious. His website www.postcardteas.com has moving essays about his travels throughout the tea growing areas of India, Sri Lanka, China and Japan.
Since dipping my toe into this vast subject last year, I have found it increasingly compelling. I think it’s something to do with the peace and tranquility that should accompany tea drinking. Even the roughhanded way the British generaly consume tea, has retained the idea of sticking plaster in a crisis: “what you need is a nice cuppa…..I’ll put the kettle on” (implying soothing restoration). A cup of coffee just does not have the same resonance.
The drinking of tea originated the China, legend has it, thousands of years ago, both as medicine and for pleasure. It was introduced to Japan in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk whose zen practices influenced the tea ceremonies. From the reverence for this drink has also developed the craft of beautiful tea pots and caddies.
At Postcard Teas in November, Tim’s Japanese wife, Asako d’Offay, offered tastings and ceremonies, while a young Japanese metal craftsman demonstrated the art of fitting a lid to a caddy so precisely that it shut as softly as silk. The secret, apparently, is Cornish tin.
There are tea tastings every day at 5 pm at Postcard Teas till 24th December. I can’t think of any better antidote to the treadmill pre-Christmas crush of Oxford and Bond Street. And you can even do some Christmas shopping there for discerning friends.
9 Dering Street
New Bond Street
London W1S 1AG
Tel: 020 7629 3654
Open Monday to Saturday 10.30am – 6.30pm