So I was invited by the wonderful people of Good & Proper Tea to attend a tea tasting in their quaint tea bar in Leather Lane. First off, loving the interior! The owner of the tea bar, who was also hosting the event, mentioned that she opened this up as a way to introduce a new hot spot for tea lovers and wanted it to have similar cafe vibes as all the hip coffee places in London, and I think they did a good job.
Moving on, a little bit of background about Good & Proper Tea. Emilie, the founder of the business, opened it up in 2012 by running a Kickstarter campaign, which then led to the business launching via a Tea Bar Van! This van would travel around to festivals, events, etc. and this was how the business gained its momentum and overall following.
Fast forward to 2015, the Good & Proper Tea bar and cafe finally opened its very own outlet in Leather Lane and is now an awesome space and destination for tea fanatics and curious folk who just want to expand their knowledge on the world of tea.
Photo by Samad | View of the tea bar counter.
Photo by Samad | The seating area in Good & Proper Tea is so quaint and stylish.
Photo by Samad | Sencha leaves which are 100% Green tea!
Now, I enjoy trying and sipping on tea and understand that there are probably hundreds of different types of teas from around the world! I mean even Malaysia grows its own tea right? However, my knowledge on the subject ends there and I know nothing else except for the different flavours you can get from your typical tea supplier so it was wonderful to join this tea tasting with no prior knowledge about the subject and a thirst to learn.
Emilie explained that all teas are from only one species of tea plant and that the processing that goes into creating the different types of teas is what results in the categories of Black, Oolong, Green and White teas. Mind BLOWN!
She explained how the differences of time for oxidation, methods of harvesting and growing the plant, location and basically the professional controlled craftsmanship affects the outcomes of the leaves we enjoy today.
Photo by Samad | Ceylon leaves
She also explained to us about caffeine in tea and how differently it affects individuals compared with consuming a cup of coffee. Apparently since teas have natural amino acids that promotes a more slowed down and calm affect when our bodies are absorbing and reacting to the caffeine. So, instead of having an instant rush of energy and then a slump after a couple of hours, tea actually provides a gradual rise in energy, which is slower but avoids the crash that you can experience after having too much coffee.
Photo by Samad | A taste of Darjeeling tea which apparently is the "champagne" of all teas!
Did you know that Darjeeling tea is considered as the champagne of all teas? This is because Darjeeling tea itself cannot be grown anywhere else in the world except for the Himalayas. This full-bodied floral cup you see in the photo is from a 2nd flush of harvested leaves, which basically means that harvesters have to meticulously look for and pluck only 2 matures leaves that grow out of one bud from all the plant; this type of mature leaves can only be harvested at a specific time of the year, usually between May/June.
And it's difficult to harvest not only because of the meticulousness of the plucking process, but also because of the lack of growth due to factors like the environment, climate and temperature. This means that Darjeeling tea products can fluctuate every year in terms of prices and also flavour profiles.
The Darjeeling tea is considered a Black tea, with very deep, floral and kind of like muscatel flavour profiles. And if you want, it can go with some milk but it is highly recommended to have WITHOUT milk.
Photo by Samad | Chamomile flowers for Chamomile tea!
The tea tasting ended with some herbal teas which were obviously not made from tea leaves! Shown in the picture above are chamomile flowers sourced to make everyone's favourite calming tea to drink before bedtime.
Photo by Samad | Rooibos tea
Photo by Samad | Lemongrass
Photo by Samad | The tea bar counter with all the different types of tea leaves being displayed and their really interesting tea brewing machine which was designed actually for making coffee, but was tweaked and customised specifically for tea!
Photo by Samad | All the teas you can buy and take home!
I really enjoyed this tea-tasting and learned so much from Emilie! Honestly, I now realised how ignorant I was towards tea and I now feel enlightened by these lessons. It was so fun to understand how something we drink so often is grown, sourced, processed and eventually made.
If you're ever in London, I'd highly recommend you head over to Good & Proper Tea for their tea tasting. I thought it was very educational and just a fun night out. You can check for their tea tasting events (and other events too) on Eventbrite here. This event was only £11.37, which I thought was very affordable and worth it! They often have other interesting events too like Kombucha workshops and meditation sessions!
Anyway, thanks Good & Proper Tea for inviting me and when I was town. I've already got my eyes set on a nice cuppa Rooibos Latte the next time when I'm down!