Tea Crawl: Central London

I ended my visit to the Orangery with a cup of Tulsi Mint, an Indian tea made of tulsi leaf, sunflowers and a hint of aloe vera. This blend of mint tea with a twist is for the more adventurous palates. This Indian blend offers the traditional refreshment of mint tea with a kick of an aloe vera aftertaste. This herbal tea, like many other more exotic blends, is made to drink straight, so I wouldn't suggest adding any milk or honey to the mix.

Each cup of tea at the Orangery ranges from £3.50-3.60 (about $5.50), so while it is a little bit pricier than 202 Cafe, the surrounding scenery of the palace gardens and the unique blends make it worth the visit.

The Wolseley

After my safe choices at 202 Cafe and the Orangery, I decided to kick up the excitement a notch at the Wolseley.

This swanky cafe-restaurant shouts glamour and luxury from ceiling to floor. From the gaudy chandeliers to the chic black color scheme, the Wolseley sets the scene for a sophisticated afternoon of English tea.

I started off with a cup of their Afternoon Blend. The liquid's amber hue was very similar to that of the Afternoon blend at the Orangery, although it consisted a wider assortment of ingredients, including Darjeeling, Fancy Fomosa Oolang and china black tea.

Although the Wolseley's house blend had these more unique ingredients, my taste buds were honestly a bit bored with how finely the tea was blended. It was a bit too bland for my liking, so I needed to add a sufficient amount of milk and sugar to make it worth downing. The light flavor, however, would probably do well if accompanied with a refreshing cucumber sandwich or sweet fruit scone with strawberry jam.

After finishing the Afternoon Blend, I moved on to the Assam, an Indian tea made for true tea lovers.

Assam tea is to tea lovers what dark chocolate is to chocolate lovers. The more robust and bold flavor of this darker blend really accentuates what drinking tea is all about. To be honest, it was a bit too strong for my youthful tea tongue, so I added a hint of milk and a cube of sugar to decrease the intensity.

My final cup for the day was Lapsang Souchong tea from China. This Oriental tea is known for its dark red hue and woody flavor. As Laapsang is meant to be drunk straight, this smoky tea is again designed for the more adventurous palates out there.

Although well-dressed businessmen and women make up the Wolseley clientele on a typical weekday, don't let their suits and heels discourage you from having a casual spot of tea. The prices are fairly decent, ranging from £3.50-3.75 range per cup.

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