She has a smile that belongs to a character sprung from the heart of Mary Poppins as she hangs her head out of the Black cab (which she is driving) and it’s unmistakeably Lorraine of Rosie Lee Tea London. She has arrived for the photo-shoot. We’ve met twice before and her smile doesn’t change, is ever present and I almost expect her to say she was born within the sound of bow bells but those eyes have seen the world and still loves life and nothing else matters except that it’s a gloriously misty day in London and we are all meeting to chat about and shoot her truly scrumptious tea.
Her exuberance is not without merit. You might wonder what is so marvellous about this tea? But before we step onto the connoisseur’s palate, lets consider the importance of tea. It’s been held by many an historical, social and economic commentator that tea might have been the magic key which led to the success of Britain’s industrial revolution. It has been conjectured that the Brits turned from gin swilling sots to productive cha drinkers. Even the pee of tea drinkers has been considered less toxic than that of alcoholics, the astringent qualities reducing diseases such as typhoid in the slums of industrial Britain and perhaps it’s time to wonder, with this delightful import, is it time to put the Great back into Britain as more and more companys are taking pride in British owned, British designed products?
Perhaps that’s part of this company’s secret. The owner although having lived in India for a year, where who knows what secret tea knowledge she might have acquired, has her feet most firmly on Blighty’s soil and with a twinkle in her eye, almost confesses to a love affair with London and of course, tea.
Whatever we think, whichever continent we land on, it’s all about tea. It’s what defines a break, a restful moment, a meeting, time to think, friendship, family and it’s not just the Brits that love their cups of rosy. We are seventh in the world for per capita consumption being topped by UAE, Morocco, Ireland, Mauritania, Turkey, and Seychelles and that’s from a list of 155 different countries, all tea drinkers. The Chinese produce 1,359,000 tonnes, India produces 979,000 tonnes of tea per year (2009 figs). There are 165 million cups drunk by the British daily (in comparison to coffee which is 70 million cups daily). The Tea Council will tell you that it contains antioxidants as well as free radicals and even the addition of milk will not affect the bioavailability of tea flavonoids. It is, it seems, an all round excellent choice as a beverage.
And here we are with Rosy Lee Tea London, which is quintessentially a drink for the connoisseur as well as being a drink for the tea lover who has a heart for what is commonly known as ‘builder’s’ tea. Except their blend is the smoothest of Assam and Kenyan leaves and has been taken from the second flush of harvest which guarantees such quality and when brewed, will pick up the senses and leave the tongue feeling clean and the body refreshed. It has been described as ‘Great Tasting’, ‘Full-bodied’ and a tea for any time of the day or night. This is a perfectly succinct and accurate description of what you get. Then, their Royal Mint is a pure peppermint tea which suitably fits the quote by Terri Guillemets:
“O’ peppermint tea –
two delights per sip
as steamy hot as passion
cool as a wintry lake dip”.
But for me, the winner has to be Pearly Grey with its subtle and yet exquisite blends of high quality Assam and Kenyan leaves with Bergamot Oil. My olfactory vocabulary insists on expression as its delicate aroma complements the soothing inner sigh that hits the central nervous system on sipping. Okakura said that Tea… is a religion of the art of life. When you make decisions for quality, when you understand the difference between bog-standard and excellence and when you can afford both, why not pick the better one? Rosy Lee Tea London has most definitely a superior taste. It’s contemporary and yet traditional, the blends are modern and yet established and very respectable. It is in so many ways, a delightful cuppa. Rosy Lee Tea London goes the extra mile, to get to you and is a company worth watching out for, in fact, it’s absolutely worth having on your shelf. It is without doubt, the smooth taste of London sophistication with a smattering of the grand traditions that span across tea drinking cultures world wide.
Rosy Lee Tea London will exhibiting at the Tea and Coffee Festival From Friday 2nd November to Sunday 4th November 11 am – 8 pm daily (6pm on Sunday) at Queens Walk in front of Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX. You can get it in London from The Albion; Docklands Museum, HMS Imperial War Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, Paul Smith, Heathrow, as well as many more locations; in Switzerland at A Slice of Home and in Japan at Beams. NY location coming soon.
Text: © JL Nash, 2012
Images: © Predrag Pajdic, 2012