Everyone one knows that the English love a “cuppa”!
But did you know tea was introduced to the country by a Portuguese Princess?
Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II, brought from Portugal, in 1662, a supply of her favourite beverage, a drink not well known around here. She served it to her aristocratic friends and soon tea became very fashionable.
Twinings is the oldest tea brand in the world.
“In a time when coffee was king, one mean, Thomas Twining, went against the tide to share his love of tea. His passion turned a little-known drink into the Nation’s favourite hot beverage. For us, tea is more than just a drink. it’s been part of our daily lives and the lives of generations of tea lovers for over 300 years.” (Twinings Website)
In 1706, Thomas bought a coffee shop in the Strand, right on the border that separetes the City and Westminster. The area had been recently populated by the aristocracy following the Great Fire of London, in 1666.
In those days, coffee shops were very popular and men of all classes would gather for a coffee and a little gossip. But women were not allowed inside!
With his knowledge of tea, Thomas Twining had an “ace in the hole” to ensure his clientele. And, despite the high taxes to curb consumption of the new drink, tea became a trend in the beginning of the 18th century, especially among the upper class. In 1706, 100g of Twinings Gunpowder Green Tea was sold for the equivalent of £ 160 pounds today!
216 Strand was recently refurbished but the door is the same since 1706.
We mention the shop in our Intinerary 3.
There is also a small museum with a bit of history of tea in caddies, books, photos and old tea pots.
And you can sample some of the infusions at the Tea Bar.
In 1837, Queen Victoria granted Twinings the Royal Warrant, and they still supply the Royal household to this day.
My favourite is the Chai, full of Indian spices and I drink one every morning. My husband, as a proper Englishman, prefers English Breakfast.
Come and have a cup of tea with us!
We can make a tailor made itinerary just for you, according to your tastes and desires, and help you find out more about London.