Sunday, October 24, 2010

A British Tea Party

Its hardly a secret that the British are known the world around for their love of tea. In fact, the United Kingdom Tea Council website lists the amount of tea consumed each day in the UK as over 150 million cups! (Yes, there is in fact an actual UK Tea Council...)

So being in the land of tea, it was only a matter of time before I were to indulge in it's great pleasures; in fact, it was about two days in at my first meeting with the UCL psychology department, complete with a large assortment of British biscuits and tea!

We got the run down on the good, the bad, and the ugly. The typical British tea served is black, Garibaldi's are the worst, the chocolate digestives are the best, and guess what, the Bourbon Creams from Sainsbury are vegan! Now this was a tradition I could get used to. (Though, I'll admit, I prefer to dip my biscuits in hot coffee instead of tea, but that leaves the tea crumb free for drinking purposes).

After about three or so of these spontaneous tea parties, I decided it was time to try out some afternoon tea in the city: I ended up at Yumchaa in London's vibrant Soho, laptop and books in hand.

The first thing you notice upon entering is its quaint Victorian era decor: adorned with long oak tables and pristine white walls, it smells deliciously of hot tea and sugary cakes. My favorite part about Yumchaa is their devoting to practicality: no tea bags to speak of (a clear violation against devoted tea drinkers) and about 30 espresso cups lined out for smelling each of the numerous teas. The variety of flavors was almost over whelming, being swayed by everything from Russian Carmel to Sweet Chili; I ended up going with a green tea, Wanderlust.

The tea was served in traditional British style in a large white tea pot over a large white cup; not a bad deal, for just over two pounds you get a full pot which fills 2 cups--this was more than certainly more than enough to share. Putting aside the strainer, I allowed the soft aromas to fill the air and took a sip: it was a subtle green tea flavor (not bitter as many our), flowery, and with a hint of star-anise.

The best part about Yumchaa--besides the free wifi--? Many vegetarian, and even a few vegan options. If you're in the London area and looking for a great places to stop and chat with some top quality tea, you should definetly check in at Yumchaa!

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