Talking to Desert Island Discs, Margaret Thatcher preached the importance of not following the crowd. “Lead it, but never follow it”. In that case, Postcard Teas is quintessentially Thatcherite.
I’m not going to pretend I’ve spent the past 19years drinking the finest, most original teas because there’s nothing wrong with possessing a penchant for ‘high street’ teas. But there is something incredibly endearing about sipping a tea and knowing only a few other lucky ones have discovered it. So I’d say in a tea sense, I’m with Maggie all of the way.
Tucked away on Dering Street (just off New Bond Street), Postcard Teas‘ location perfectly defines its objectives and standing in the tea world: at the heart of London and yet individual, confident in its solitude, chic and inimitable. And it’s as stylish inside as it is outside.
After initially trying to enter through the wrong door (typical me, seemingly cool and in reality, melting inside with nerdiness), I finally went through the front door of the frankly stunning 18th century building. Greeted by a distant “Hello!” from the back room, the simplicity and relaxed ambiance of the shop struck me. I distinctly remember a breathtaking sense of ‘wow’ engulfing my body, reminiscent of the Duchess of Cambridge when she first walked out onto the balcony to greet her adoring fans. Postcard Teas puts the stereotypical high street shop interior (over complicated, garish and tacky) to shame: it consists of one room, containing a long table with a few chairs, a few display cabinets and tins upon tins of tea. What else does it need? Nothing. The welcoming, interesting shopkeepers (Tim and Jonathon) provide all the warmth needed to make this little shop of luxuries a home from home. And given the fact that Postcard Teas‘ unique blends grace the shelves of Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty, Dean & Deluca and Harvey Nicols, one might infer this simplicity is a winning combination…
“Alex, believe that you are an aficionado of tea. Choose a tea like an expert” I thought to myself. But as I confidently cast my gaze upon the twenty or so teas in front of me, I crumbled. Each packaged in adorable metallic tins and adorned with weird and wonderful images, variety haunts this place and quality is omnipresent. Green teas, black teas, oolong teas, scented teas and tisanes from here, there and everywhere, grown from some of the most ancient trees in the world … I inevitably wanted them all.
What is so unique about this shop is the shopkeepers’ enjoyment in sharing their tea expertise. Torn between ‘Nilgiri Forest’ and a ‘Darjeeling First Flush’, I sought Tim’s help and ended up with a free cup of ‘Nilgiri’ in front of me. Whether it was his generosity or his confidence in the product (or both) that got me this free cuppa, I’ll never know. But one thing I’m certain of is the extraordinary power of the tea that sat in that little tea cup. After one sip, my mind was made up. I bought both teas.
Although I may have technically only left Postcard Teas with two very special tins of tea (and may I add, a generous free sample of Darjeeling), I felt as if spiritually, the quaint Victorian shop had gifted me something else: perhaps a reference point, a new found inspiration, or even a mental clarity in my approach to teas. And so, going back to what ol’ Maggie preached, if you’re sitting pretty in the big city but looking for something off the beaten track and impressively individual to get you away from that growing crowd, Postcard Teas must not be missed.
Visit their website for more information: www.postcardteas.com