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Sample the tastes and aromas from the very best producers and roasters around the world with our exclusive tea and coffee clubs.
A truly excellent tea can be as layered and complex as a fine wine, and with a bit of practice you can learn to discern the exact origin...
We’re all about the art of the roast – the delicate process of balancing the bean’s natural flavours, causing it to change in colour, taste...
Some people count sheep to get to sleep. With 100 different teas to choose from, we’ve found a much better solution. True, our collection is huge. But you can choose to track down your tea by taste, by origin and even by number.
In 1886 our founder Walter Whittard set up his very first shop, filled floor-to-ceiling with the world’s finest tea, coffee and cocoa. Those brave new brews are now time-honoured classics and we’re still following our nose for the new…
Let us introduce you to our world of teas by tasting from our wide selection. Our Friendly Fanatics will help you discover something new. No booking necessary - just pop in anytime!All Stores Daily
Let us introduce you to our world of coffees by tasting from our wide selection. Our Friendly Fanatics will help you discover something new. No booking necessary - just pop in anytime!All Stores Daily
Let us introduce you to our world of Hot Chocolate by tasting from our wide selection. Our Friendly Fanatics will help you discover something new. No booking necessary - just pop in anytime!All Stores Daily
Monks and matcha
Since tea seeds were first brought back from China by the Buddhist monk Eisai in 1191, the Japanese have dedicated themselves to green tea – whether steamed Sencha, super-green Gyokuro, powdered matcha or popcorn-style Genmaicha. Eisai had heard from the Chinese monks that tea was a great way to stay awake during long hours of mediation, and he introduced the monasteries to the method of grinding the leaves to a powder and whisking with water. In other words, monks set the trend for matcha.
Writing the rule book
Over the next few centuries Japanese tea masters turned tea drinking into a fine art, developing new styles of green tea and a particular type of etiquette. By the 13th century green tea had become a favourite with statesmen, intellectuals and court nobles, and in the 16th century the grand tea master Sen No Rikyu arrived on the scene. Drawing inspiration from the Chinese tea ceremony popularised during the Song Dynasty, he established the rules for the distinctly Japanese chanoyu tea ceremony.
The four essential principles
It takes years of training to learn the hundreds of different steps involved in chanoyu, but by following Sen No Rikyu’s philosophy you can try your hand at a proper Japanese tea ceremony. It all comes down to four essential principles: harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity.
Set the scene
Sen No Rikyu’s golden rule was: ‘take care of everything ahead of time’…
Chaji is the more formal type of tea ceremony, lasting three to four hours with a maximum of four participants.
Chakai is the shorter version of chaji, lasting only 30 to 45 minutes.
It might sound strict, but the Japanese philosophy of tea is simple. Tea is treated as a way of life, ‘to discover the hidden beauty of people and objects’. There might not be time for the full tea ceremony every day, but introduce some Sen No Rikyu’s principles to your daily routine and see how you feel. It’s our favourite form of mindfulness…
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