ENGLISH TEA ROOMS
The question often posed to me is; ‘What is a Tea Room’?
A tea room is a venue centred on drinking tea, normally English traditional tea. Although drinking tea is the main function of a tea room, other beverages are always offered for the non tea drinker!
In England, a tea room is a small room or restaurant where tea, beverages and light meals are served, often in a sedate or quaint atmosphere. Nowadays, it is often the case that wine and light alcohol are served alongside a meal.
A customer might expect to receive a cream tea, which is a combination of scones, clotted cream and jam. Cream teas are normally the main feature of a tea room throughout England, especially in the South West.
Thomas Twining (Twinings) opened the first known tea room in 1706 which is remains at 216 Strand, London and in 2006; Twinings celebrated its 300th anniversary with a special tea. Twinings holds a Royal Warrant, which is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen.
In London, there is a long tradition of tea rooms generally located inside London hotels. Browns hotel in London has been serving tea in its tea room for over 170 years.
Tea rooms were widespread in Britain by the 1950’s but over recent years, cafés become more fashionable and tea rooms become less common, but in rural England, tea rooms live on!
A tea garden is a place to drink tea and to take a stroll around lawns, ponds and view gardens and statues. Country hotels, for example, Eastwell Manor, near Ashford, Kent is a fine example.
Tea gardens which are a smaller version of pleasure gardens, flourished in the late 18th century and tea gardens flourished in Japan and examples of Japanese tea gardens can be found around the world.
WHAT IS TEA?
Quite simply, tea is basically the dried and processed leaves of the plant known as Camellia Sinensis. Herbal teas or herbal infusions are not really teas, but are dried leaves and or flowers from various other plants and herbs.
Tea can be sold as a blend of some combination of four main types of teas, such are:
1. White Tea
2. Green Tea
3. Black Tea
4. Oolong Tea
These teas can also be flavoured with oils of scented with flower petals during the processing stage. Some people combine them with fruits and spices.