The Whittard Blog

Whenever we have a moment, there’s nothing we like more than sitting with a pen and paper to hand and musing over some of our favourite things. Think of it as an ode to tea, coffee and cocoa…

11th February 2014 by Whittard

Freshly Ground Reasons to Visit Portobello

Ruth manages our Portobello store, which opened in 2013, and it's hard to beat her enthusiasm for tea and coffee. 

She makes a point of trying different coffees whenever she has the chance and has developed an almost encyclopaedic knowledge. Tell Ruth the brand of your favourite coffee and how you brew it and she will be able to recommend one of our coffees that you’ll enjoy as much, if not more. She has managed to convert her whole family to the joys of 'proper' coffee and can’t visit any of them without a gift of fresh coffee.

coffee beans

Frequently Asked Questions

She often finds people are keen to drink green tea, having heard about the health benefits, but say they’ve tried it and have been put off by the taste. However, often this is down to how they've made it and when shown how to brew it properly, they are surprised to find how much they enjoy it.

During the summer Ruth developed a taste for cold green tea and now takes two cups of hot green or oolong tea up to bed, one to retire with and one that is ready to drink cold on waking up in the morning.

Our store is located on Portobello Road which is a really vibrant area to visit, if you are planning a trip to London. Traditionally famous for its antiques market – it’s also a foodie paradise where you can sample pretty much any cuisine you care to name, as well as being home to a host of fashion stalls and specialist stores. Eclectic and cosmopolitan, you’ll find people from every corner of the world and Edwardian terraces standing cheek by jowl with modern architecture.

At the weekend, it’s a major tourist destination, but why not visit during the week and take a more relaxed tour.  And don’t forget to pop into the Whittard store and have Ruth and her team (with Irfan and Tania pictured here) find the perfect tea or coffee for you.

Portobello team

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8th August 2013 by Whittard

Desert Island Teas with Gill of Nottingham

Gill, the manager of our Nottingham store provides the latest addition to our Desert Island Teas series, with an exotic taste in teas and an interesting choice of luxury item:

Gill, Nottingham store

1) Two teas

Mango and Bergamot loose leaf, it's one of our exciting specialist teas. The heady fragrance of mango is so uplifting, and it's such a refreshing tea served ice cold in this heat! Perfect to sip whilst reclining in the afternoon sunshine on my desert island! 

Lapsang Souchong...it always reminds me of my childhood, and trips to the tea and coffee importer with my family, so would stop me being too homesick.

2) One pack of biscuits

Butter Sultana...deliciously buttery, with soft sweet sultanas to feed my sweet tooth!

Butter Sultana

3) One book

Delia Smith's complete collection, Delia is quite simply the Queen of cooking and I might need some inspiration when it comes to making supper...after all as my deputy says 'there is only so much you can do with a coconut!'

4) One song

Europe - Prisoners in Paradise.I have loved this band since I was a teenager, and have seen them many times live, the words are quite apt, and i could sing it out loud and no-one could hear me! I would have to take the whole cd please!

5)  One luxury item

I would have to take my cat Delia. We got her from Cats Protection, she's half Bengal and half tabby, and has stamped her massive personality on our family. She would be able to hook the odd fish for our supper too!

6) Which desert island?

 Somewhere near Turks and Caicos in the Bahamas please! When it all gets too much I could flag down a passing jet ski!

Thank you Gill.

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15th July 2013 by Whittard

Desert Island Teas with Esther of Salisbury

In another of our Desert Island Tea series, Esther, Deputy Manager of our Salisbury store, picks a great combination of island essentials and prepares to be cast away.

Esther of Whittard Salisbury

1. Two teas

The first tea I would take with me is our Russian Caravan leaf tea, it's an absolutely lovely one! It has a robust strength to it, but doesn't overpower - the best way I've found to describe it so far is strong, but 'airy'. The packing describe as tasting like 'freedom and adventure', and it weirdly kind of does!

I'd have to take some Jasmine Pearls with me too, I couldn't be stranded without some green tea. They give a great light flavour with the delicate hint of jasmine that I could drink constantly, all day long. You have to think long-term too - the Jasmine Pearls go a really long way, so I wouldn't run out of tea for ages!

2. One pack of biscuits 

We do some lovely Milk Chocolate Chunk biscuits. Lovely on their own, or for dunking in your tea when no one's looking!

3. One book

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Don't ask me why, but I absolutely love it. It's one of those books you can read over and over again and find something you never noticed before, or interpret something differently.

4. One song 

My song would be Dawn Rising by George Frakes. It's a perfect sunny day song; lovely and relaxing. I stumbled upon him by accident really, he was supporting someone else that I went to see live, but I left absolutely in love with his music.

5. One luxury item

A  hammock. Comfort is a very important consideration for me, and I doubt my abilities to be able to fashion a hammock out of palm leaves and coconuts. I could quite happily spend a large amount of time relaxing, in the sun, in my hammock.

6. Which desert island would you prefer to be cast away on?

The Phoenix Islands in the Pacific. Firstly, they're hot and sunny. They're also in a conservation area and unspoilt by humans. It's a beautiful place with lots of amazing creatures.

 Thank you Esther!

 

 

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31st May 2013 by Whittard

Desert Island Teas with Tony and Colin of Manchester

Welcome to another of our series of Desert Island Teas - this time Tony, manager, and Colin of our Manchester store tell us what they would like to take to make life on a desert island bearable ...

Tony of our Manchester Store

Two teas

Tony: Ceylon is my absolute favourite tea.  So, as a treat I'd have one of these as a 'pick me up'. Peppermint is a great tummy soothing tea.  I'm sure I would end up eating something that upsets my tummy so this would be a must have.

 Colin: Lapsang Souchong - The smoked taste a perfect accompaniment to the fish I will catch. English Breakfast - for those nostalgic island days

One pack biscuits

Tony: I would like to say caramel and sea salt.  But I imagine I might be a bit fed up with sea salt after a while!

Colin: Milk Chocolate Chunk.  Because.......  Milk Chocolate!

Colin of Manchester

One book

 Tony: Day of the Triffids - John Wyndman.  This will give me hope when I'm feeling lonely.

 Colin: Sum - David Eagleman.  Because I haven't finished it yet.

One song

Tony: The Chain - Fleetwood Mac.  Air guitar central!!!

Colin: Kandi's - Dont Think I'm Not...  because by that point I won't be.

One luxury item

Tony: Satellite mobile phone with solar powered battery pack..  "Hi Mom"

Colin: Mocha Pot.  I'm hoping I can grow, roast and grind my own coffee.  I've got a lifetime to learn how to!

Which desert island would you prefer to be cast away on?

Tony: Aldabra Island, home to the world's largest population of giant tortoises.  My housemate won't let me have one.

Colin: The one with the bunker.


Thank you Tony and Colin!

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20th May 2013 by Whittard

Desert Island Teas with Pippa of Kendal

Pippa, the manager of our Kendal store, gets into the island spirit and tells us what she would choose to take with her when cast away ... mind you, not so sure she'll find the power supply that she'll need for her luxury item! 

Pippa Kendal

1. Two teas

If I were to spend the rest of my life alone on a desert island the two teas I would choose to pack a lifetime supply of are firstly, Irish Breakfast teabags - I can't live without a cup or two of this throughout the day as it is, so this will be my number one item. The super strong Assam blend will keep me super alert incase i meet any scary creatures! The second tea I would choose is Organic Peppermint,  again, a favourite of mine this will also help my digestion when I'm discovering exotic new foods!

2. One pack of biscuits

Out of pure greed if I had to choose a packet of biscuits to take with me, my choice would be a pack of our luxury short bread fingers. All of our shortbread is to die for and i know that this box contains the most!!    

3. One book 

Oooooh, one book? Now you are really asking!! It would have to Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It's a true story of  an escaped convict from Australia who heads to India to start a new life, whilst there he falls in love with Mumbai and meets many amazing people. I read this book when I was studying at  a Film School in India and in the book he visited many of the places I was visiting at the time. His descriptions of India, the people, the smells, THE TEA and the culture in general conjure up the amazing feelings I experienced whilst I was there. When I need to escape the world this is the book that I curl up with and I can definitely see myself doing this on golden sands, with waves crashing on the shore in the distance!

4. One song

  Mr Blue Sky - because it makes me feel good and I can dance like no one is watching me...

5.One luxury item

My kindle fire HD!!! This way I can have as many books as I want, music, films and can scan for WIfi networks! ha ha!

6. Which desert island would you prefer to be cast away on?

I would love to be left on any island where the water is clear, the sand is golden and the sun is beaming! It would also help if there were no wild tigers, snakes, spiders or any other scary creatures!!!

Thank you Pippa!

 

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2nd May 2013 by Whittard

Desert Island Teas with Octavia of Cambridge

In part 2 of our variation of Desert Island Disks, we quiz Octavia of our Cambridge store on the essentials she would take, if she had to spend the rest of her life alone on a desert island:

Octavia from Whittard Cambridge

1)      Two Teas

Irish Breakfast as I need a mug in the morning to wake me up and I'm a traditionalist at heart and Lapsang Souchong as my mum always brews a blend using this so the aroma conjures up so many memories from my childhood.

2)      One packet of biscuits

 Fox's golden crunch creams

3)      One book

The Oxford English Dictionary - it would keep me occupied for a long time!

4)      One song

 Tuba Smarties by Gerrard Hoffnung. This song always makes me laugh and reminds me of my family.

5)      One luxury item

My stanley knife and some blades so then I could be productive and build things.

6)      Which desert island would you prefer to be cast away on?

One where there was plenty of edible plants and berries so that I could eat well, other than that just cast me away!

Thank you Octavia!

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19th April 2013 by Whittard

Desert Island Teas with Vicky of Witney

In our variation of Desert Island Disks, we asked our store staff  what they would take to survive life on a desert island. Here's what Vicky, manager of our Witney store, chose:

Vicky of Whittard Witney

1)      Two teas

I would take our customer's favourite, English Breakfast, to remind me of home!

Also, Spice Imperial - this is our Christmas Tea so I'd be drinking this in the winter months to make me feel festive.

2)      One packet of biscuits 

Our Whittard Chocolate Chunk Biscuits would definitely be in my suitcase to get my chocolate fix every day. But I would try and smuggle more than 1 packet there!

3)      One book 

A survival book by Bear Grylls - he knows how to take care of himself so I'm sure I could pick up a few tips from him.

4)      One song 

Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now". Years ago I had a really bad day at work (not Whittard!) and this came on the radio during my drive home. It cheered me right up and it's now my "feel good" anthem.

5)      One luxury item

A laptop with internet access. That way I could keep up to date with everyone on Facebook, read the news, watch all my favourite soaps and reality tv. I could even see if the supermarket did online shopping delivery to my desert island - that would be amazing! (Not sure online shopping is really in the spirit of being cast away!  Editor)

6)      Which desert island would you prefer to be cast away on?

Jamaica. My husband and I almost went there as an alternative option when our holiday to Mexico was cancelled in 2009 due to the Volcanic Ash cloud. I'd love to go there and see what it's like. I hear they do a rather nice coffee too!

Thank you Vicky.

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26th February 2013 by Whittard

Flowering Teas - not just for drinking

Adam, manager of our Covent Garden Store, shares a great dinner party tip and chooses some very distuished companions to share a coffee with in our Q&A.

Adam of Covent Garden Store

What is your favourite Whittard tea or coffee and why?

Monsoon Malabar Coffee: A fantastic rich coffee with fabulous story.

What best sums up Britishness to you?

Sunday Lunch/Roast Dinner; the stiff upper-lip; Afternoon Tea.

Everyone likes to make their favourite drink in their own particular way. Share a tea or coffee tip: 

When serving flowering teas at a dinner party, prepare the tea and then transfer the bloom into a vessel filled with ice cold water for the perfect table display.

Moony Bliss tea

If you could click your fingers and be sharing a tea or coffee with anyone, anywhere in the world where would you go and who would your companion be?

 Mohammad Ali in Zaihir, Africa.

David Attenborough in the Papua New Guinea Rainforest.

What's the best compliment a customer has paid you or a Whittard product?

Our customers often comment that our specialist teas are second to none.

Which Whittard product are you most like and why?

Chilli Hot Chocolate: Rich and smooth with a touch of spice... Hello ladies!

Thank you Adam!

 

 

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14th February 2013 by Whittard

Birds of Prey swoop into Whittard, Cheshire Oaks

Chris (top photo) and Mark from our store in Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Shopping Centre, had some unusual 'customers' this week.  Kevin Bunn, pictured in medieval attire, of The Coastal Hawks Project, is visiting the the centre with some birds of prey during half term week. So if you live locally and would like to see some of these magnificent birds up close and personal, do pop along. 

The Coastal Hawks Project is a community interest company, that was set up in 2009 in Rhyl North Wales,  as a seagull deterrent. The company only employs 18 - 25 year old long term unemployed. You can learn more at their Facebook page.

This customer doesn't seem so convinced about the hot chocolate!

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11th February 2013 by Whittard

Only a Cup and Saucer will do

Ellie, manages our Milton Keynes store, and has been with the company for a staggering twenty three years. She’s a keen collector of china and has whole cupboards full of teapots, cups and saucers and mugs. When she’s at home, she refuses to drink tea from anything but a cup and saucer and also will not use the same teapot more than once in a day – so her dishwasher has to work very hard!  Here is her Q&A:

What is your favourite Whittard tea or coffee and why?

My current favourite tea is Assam Harmutty – it has a good clean taste, and isn’t overpowering in its maltiness like Assam can be.

My favourite coffee is Pico Duarte, I love the unique taste it has representative of coffee grown in the Dominican Republic.

What best sums up Britishness to you?

Afternoon tea, proper tea made in a teapot, taking time over tea and chatting with friends on a rainy afternoon… and cake!

Everyone likes to make their favourite drink in their own particular way. Share a tea or coffee tip

If you freeze your coffee , make sure you only take out what you need as once coffee has been frozen, it deteriorates twice a quickly.

Whittard Coffee

If you could click your fingers and be sharing a tea or coffee with anyone, anywhere in the world where would you go and who would your companion be?

I would share a tea with Giles Hilton (who used to play a major role within Whittard, an expert in selecting and blending tea and coffee) who taught me so much, I love his stories and would go back to Brazil with him.

Which Whittard product are you most like and why?

Probably the 1886 blend as its been around forever like me!

 Thank you, Ellie.

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