Tea Smith is a ‘tea bar’ in Spitalfields Market in London that also sells packets of tea, teapots, etc. I admit that I’d been to Tea Smith before and not liked it, so my hopes weren’t very high. I’m happy to say that I have changed my mind completely.
Previously, I’d gone on a Sunday afternoon (the market’s busiest day) and it was crowded and didn’t feel very special. I also chose an aged black tea as it sounded interesting, but really disliked the taste. This is my own fault, as I don’t particularly like strong tea. This time round we went late on Saturday and asked the staff for recommendations – they asked what we normally drank and what we liked and then pointed us in the direction of something a little bit more unusual, but that they thought we’d appreciate. The tea is taken very seriously here, with thermometers for the water temperature and timers for the infusions, along with different styles of tea pots for each different type of tea and delicate cups (Japanese style – no handles). The tea we drank was called ‘Lily Flower’ (I think) and ‘Mandarin Orchid’. My friend chose the first and I chose the second on the basis that it was also named after a flower. The first was floral and buttery and the second light and sweet and gorgeous. I bought a bag of the second to take away with me, and yes, it does taste that good even when not in the careful surroundings of the tea bar. I also enjoyed the music they were playing and the photography exhibit downstairs. All in all a very good tea place.
Teapot? Yes, and they even poured it for you.
Leaf tea? They’d be offended you even asked.
Milk jug? No milk here, this is naked tea.
Price? £3.50 to £8 for a small pot. Think of it like tasting wine rather than quenching thirst.
Cake? Yes, and chocolate. Small but carefully chosen to compliment the tea. We didn’t have any but it looked good.
Go again? Yes, but I’d avoid Sundays.