I’ve become a little obsessed with ‘First Flush’ Darjeeling tea of late. This preoccupation has come about purely because I have found it so hard to get hold of the tea this year. Anyway two tea fixations came together last week as I finally got the opportunity to visit London’s ‘Postcard Teas’.
Situated off Bond Street, one of London’s busiest shopping roads, Postcard Teas is an oasis for the tea parched. I visited on a stifling hot summers day and walking into a fresh, cool store and being instantly offered tea, well I was won over!
After a quick perusal of a wide (but not daunting) selection of teas I quickly opted for the ‘Spring Darjeeling’ and took my place at the long wooden table in the centre of the store.
I was presented with my tea by Jonathan Nunn, with whom I discussed the tea’s origin, picking and flavour. Jonathan explained the difference between ‘First Flush’ and ‘Spring’ Darjeeling to me and he was spot on. Postcard’s Spring Darjeeling has no hint whatsoever of the bitter, slightly acrid taste that some First Flushes offer up. The tea was paler than I have come to know Darjeeling but this did not, as I feared, mean a weak flavour. On the contrary the Spring Darjeeling had a fullness of flavour with a real freshness to it.
Whilst Jonathan kindly made me a second infusion I took the opportunity to explore Postcard Teas. The stores name derives from the postcards of tea that can be sent around the world. You pick the tea, either in the shop or on-line and it will be dispatched to your chosen recipient. You can also buy normal caddies of tea in the store which can be refilled. However Postcard Teas is more than a gimmick, with a staff of experts, a strong sourcing policy and proof of provenance for all teas sold, Postcard is a haven of superior tea.
I only have one last thing to say about Postcard Teas… at the moment tea has become synonymous with ‘afternoon tea’. At most establishments this means piles of sandwiches and sticky cakes over quality tea, properly made. Afternoon tea in London also carries with it a premium price tag, often undeserved and riding on the name of the up market establishment rather than the quality of the actual tea being poured. Against this then it is so refreshing that Postcard Teas put tea first, puts tea on the table without cake so it’s fine flavour can actually be enjoyed.
NEW BOND STREET.
LONDON W1S 1AG