away in Southwark Street between the Globe Theatre and Borough Market
in London is a little gem - the Bramah Tea & Coffee Museum. Run
by Edward Bramah, who founded the museum in 1992, it is the sort
of place you would least expect to find among the concrete and high-tech
steel edifices of modern London and yet in an area where so much
tea was imported in the 20th century, it is understandable that
the museum should be near London Bridge.
Bramah, who started his tea career in Malawi in the 1950's, collects
antique tea and coffee pots - surely a quintessentially English
thing to do. He's even written books on the subject - 'Novelty Teapots
- five hundred years of art & design' and 'Coffee Makers' by Edward
Bramah (ISBN 870 948 335, £50).
museum houses part of Edward Bramah's collection of tea and coffee
pots and is decidedly quaint. Their teashop serves a range of Indian
and Chinese tea at an affordable price of £1.50 per pot. Served
with a five-minute timer, you can also have a water refill for your
second or third infusion (they don't call it brewing here). And
indeed, it is described as the best leaf tea in London.
it isn't the over-brewed, milky-sweet 'Chai' that I'm used to every
morning, but their tea is delicious nonetheless. The museum is also
a good place to learn about production of tea & coffee - key exports
of South Asia. 1999 saw the end of the London Tea Auctions which
leaves the Bramah Museum as one of the last links to the "tea routes"
of yester year.
you're fortunate enough you may even enjoy a personal explanation
of 300 years of tea drinking in the UK from Edward Bramah himself.
The story starts in the 1620's when tea was usually purchased from
the Apothecary (pharmacist) as a health drink. It meanders through
the "Tea Gardens" of old London to the Industrial revolution of
the 1700's and carries on to the Opium wars of the 1800's. Skirting
the tea rationing years of the Second World War we arrive at 1955
with the introduction of television. The advent of commercial TV
helped promote tea and saw the arrival of 'quick brew' and 'super
brew' versions. As a major percentage of our tea in the UK is now
infused from bags the museum offers a great opportunity to see,
smell and taste real 'tea leaf' tea.
from visiting the Bramah Tea & Coffee museum you can also buy Bramah
Tea. Visit the official tea site of the Tea Council at www.teacouncil.co.uk
for all the history and details about tea.
Places to buy Tea
course everyone has his or her own opinion. One can buy teas and
knickknacks from the Bramah museum. They stock a range that includes
Assam, Darjeeling, Assam Broken Pekoe, Ceylon Broken Pekoe and their
own traditional leaf blend from India: Earl Grey, Keemum, Lap sang
Souchong & Rose Congou from China; Green Teas such as Gunpowder
and Jasmine; Formosa Oolong from Taiwan and Senchas Japanese Tea.
can also potter on down to Harrods where the Food Hall serves a
range including their own brand Millennium Moon Tea - picked by
moonlight on the eve of the new millennium no doubt! (www.harrods.com).
other option is Fortnum & Mason's where they seem to have an even
larger selection including herb infusions and gift packs (www.fortnumandmason.com).
Places to Drink Tea
to the tea council the best place to drink tea this year is at The
Dorchester, where for a mere £23.50 you get a choice of six types
of sandwich, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and pastries
galore. A snip at the price! Alternatively you can always take afternoon
tea at the Bramah Museum for about £10, or you can buy some
of their teas and infuse it at home.
to make tea.
suggested Tea Council method for 'The Perfect Brew' can be found
at Tea Council
(Click on 'The Perfect Brew' link). Alternatively click
here to read about the Bramah
way to make traditional leaf tea.
get enough about tea?
here to preview a host of books on the subject of the nation's