12 March 2014

Twinings Tea Museum (ahem, Shop)

Tea is simply eponymous with Britain. Cut an Brit in half, and I have a suspicion that tea will even run through their veins (however that is only going by the volume my office mates consume). In a rather sweet way, it's also the reason that I realised the extent that I was adapting to life in England with ease.
Oh, and fun fact for the day: Approximately 165,000,000 cups of tea are drunk on average a day in England alone.
Adventures of a London Kiwi
The Museum (ahem, Shop) is a tiny cabinet of curious. Sandwiched a stone's throw from the internationally famous Fleet Street, the narrow frontage sits between two much larger buildings on the Strand. The figures proudly characterise the history of this tempestuous food stuff.
Thomas Twining bought Tom's Coffee House on London's Strand in 1706, and it's believed that this is the longest running company in London that has occupied the same premises. At this time Coffee houses were a popular feature of London life.  Men - but never women - of all classes would gather there to drink, gossip and to do business.
Thomas ran quite a large risk by selling Tea to the masses as Coffee was the newest fad and Tea was heavily taxed and had to be imported from China. Luckily the King was convinced that reducing the tax would reduce smuggling, and Tea became increasingly fashionable during the early part of the 18th Century. 300 years later, his legacy lives on and tea is still sold here, all from the much expanded Twinings brand.
The Museum can be found at the back of the business and the shelves are full of period curios, displaying Twinings history and artefacts through the years.
Luckily to get there once you've made your way through the browsing tourists, there is a refreshing tea bar, where you can try a taste of a few of their newest flavours for free. Perfect on a rainy London afternoon - and it has potential health maintainence benefits in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention.
 “Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.” ― Kakuz┼Ź Okakura, The Book of Tea

Don't be like me and put off going to the London home of this English icon for a year and a half 'because it's there and you'll get around to it later'. As Mrs Doyle in Father Ted famously says 'Ahh, go on...'

For further details on the Twining Museum/shop check out their website.
Tea? Coffee? Something stronger?

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  1. I used to work near the shop and spent a lot of time and money in there. Really miss it...

    1. It's so sweet isn't it, and so central! I always thought it was open Mon-Fri. May be that was for the best of my wallet

  2. I love the collection of old Twinings tins! That's the kind of stuff I like to decorate with. :o)

  3. I went there with my mom once when we was visiting. It was a lovely day out! x

    1. It's a proper London tourist thing isn't it

  4. This sounds like my kind of place, I love tea so much and also love trying out new blends!

  5. What is it with tea. I get asked if I want 10 cups of tea a day at work! Gimme a coffee ;)

  6. thanks for sharing!

  7. It is just awesome and worth a visit. This museum is figuring proudly characterize the history of this tempestuous food stuff. This British museum provides a useful and unique history for those visitors who are not living in the UK. I’m also one of them. I had this great chance through the bus tours during the spring break last year. However I really enjoy the Twinings tea in different flavors in a single place.


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