The world is full of people who when faced with the challenge of writing a Twitter bio for themselves, search deep within their collective psyche, and recover only two emphatic, identifying words: tea-drinker. We live in a tea-hungry world of mystery and beauty, and often, our love of the saintly hot beverage brings us closer together. One such instance of a shared love for delicious infusions spreading joy across the world’s vast cities, is the work of the London Tea Club, a creative members service founded by loose leaf connoisseur Cecelia Lau.
London Tea Club is a project that aims to bring inspiration and wellness to people who love and want to learn more about tea. Breakfast tea is a big deal here in the UK, but there’s a whole world of fine traditional teas and modern blends that many people haven’t yet discovered. London Tea Club’s goal is to help people discover that sumptuous world of tea, introducing its members to a wonderful collection of flavour combinations, traditional tastes and modern mixes, as well as a tonne of information on how best to enjoy them at home. Cecelia tells us,
‘Tea is such an amazing thing – it’s a soothing drink, a daily ritual, and an act of awareness. It complements all of life’s best moments: starting a brand new day, catching up with friends, strolling through Hyde Park, watching the rain from indoors. London Tea Club allows me to bring these experiences to others… and gives me an excuse to spend every day sourcing, sampling, photographing, and talking about tea.’
After becoming a member, London Tea Club sources and select teas to match your flavour profile, which is determined before your first delivery. As your tastes change, so do the types of teas you receive. The project is all about sensations so delivers its teas in large-letter boxes edged with golden tape to protect the precious contents. Inside the box you’ll find drawstring filters, perfect for brewing loose leaves, and beautiful glass vials of tea, stopped with corks.
There’s a magical, medicinal aesthetic to the way each section of the package is presented, and it’s made better by a beautifully printed set of instructions and information cards. Pop it all in the drawstring bag that accompanies the see-through vials, and you can carry your little kit around and enjoy a luxurious cup of tea just about anywhere; looking super-cool while you do it.
Most companies offer teas in 50g or 100g sizes, which can be unfortunate if you discover that the tea you’ve bought isn’t to your taste. The drawstring bags help to protect the teas from light while allowing members to take tea on the road. Cecelia tells us that she always travels with proper tea and we think it’s probably the best idea we’ve been introduced to in a long time.
Most of London Tea Club’s single-estate teas are sourced directly from farms in China, Taiwan, Japan and India. Cecelia heads off on a sourcing trip at least twice a year, and tells us that she’s just returned from Taiwan and will be off to Japan next. The blended teas come mainly from European blenders, and herbal teas are sourced from all over the world, for example many of the teas contain rooibos, a South African herb. We found out that next month’s herbal blend will from Thailand.
No two days are the same at the London Tea Club HQ. Mornings are usually spent catching up on orders that have come in overnight from North America and the rest of the world. Afternoons are filled with meetings and time spent at the studio working on new products and sampling teas. Then there’s the big task of working on wholesale orders for events, weddings and corporate clients, plenty to keep the team busy.
Each London Tea Club package is specially curated for each member, which we think is a lovely, personal idea. The project sources 5-6 different teas each month and usually includes a delectable herbal infusion as a caffeine-free alternative. The main focus however, is on straight-up tea, whether light or black, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Keep up with London Tea Club on Facebook and Instagram and enjoy beautiful images of carefully curated tea deliveries and news on Cecelia’s travels.
Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth