“Experience the exquisite aromas and visuals of exceptional tea leaves at our unique Tea Bar.”
This quote is the opposite of exciting. I’m not really into tea. And even though I’ve been known to indulge in some English Breakfast, rooibos, or even chamomile teas, tea in general, and herbal teas in particular, are for pussies and weaklings.
I’ve got other drinks that I’m into. Awesome drinks that inspire devotion and crafstmanship. Like whisky, beer and coffee. Drinks that are not served in tiny plastic cups to stuffed animals.
In truth, though I’m not really a tea drinker, neither do I look down at those who do, I just never thought tea drinking to be worthy of the same amount of studied devotion that monks in Belgium can apply to beer, Scottish scientists can apply to whisky, and Canadians to coffee (and donuts).
Tea was just something you drank when your office ran out of coffee.
Then my wife introduced me to the TeaSmith in Spitalfields. I was initially put off by the suggestion that we go somewhere that wasn’t a coffeeshop or pub. Seeing how my wife drinks neither booze nor coffee, I figured the tea thing could be a strategic sacrifice.
But soon after we entered the TeaSmith I found my mood picking up and my anti-tea stance softening.
TeaSmith’s interior, by Jonathan Clark Architects, is soothing and minimal. The service was knowledgeable and passionate – as were many of the customers. Also importantly: the tea was really good. So were the biscuits. Though my palate is not terribly refined, I loved the vocabulary on the menus, and the fusion of art and science that they use to come up with their blends was fascinating to watch. It’s a marvel really.
Though at first I kinda sniggered at the ceremony, I quickly came to appreciate that it wasn’t just for show, they were really making a damn fine cup of tea.
My visit to the TeaSmith was surprisingly enjoyable; turns out tea can be awesome.
Although I’m a little upset they’ve complicated my relationship with coffee.