Tea for you and me

Join me on my epic quest to find the best tea ever

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The Muffin Man Tea Shop

12 Wrights Lane, Kensington, London, W8 6TA

Tea, teacake and Queen Mother's cake at The Muffin Man Tea Shop.

Kensington can be an expensive place but A had been to a good tea shop that was affordable and thought we should try it. She couldn’t quite remember where it was but we did find it first time and so I was impressed (you have the luxury of the name and address, you lucky things).

The Muffin Man Tea Shop is a good solid tea rooms with proper food for not too much money. A had cauliflower soup (which she said was excellent) and I had ‘The Muffin Man’ which was a sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. We had a pot of tea for two that gave us a number of cups each and then finished the whole meal off with some cake. A had a toasted tea cake which she liked and I had the regal ‘Queen Mother’s cake’ – chocolate, dates and walnuts. Very rich and heavy, and probably not the most sensible choice after a big cookie and a large sandwich, but it was worth it.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Yes – The Muffin Man own blend – good and strong.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £5.60 for tea for two, sandwich was £3.70 and cake £2.80.
Cake? Yes and muffins and teacakes and sandwiches and soup and all sorts.
Go again? Yes – a little retreat from the hustle bustle of the main bit of Kensington.

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Ben’s Cookies

12 Kensington Arcade, Kensington High Street, London, W8 5SF

Dark chocolate and ginger cookie with tea at Ben's Cookies

I was 40 minutes early to meet A at the station so I needed somewhere nearby to have a cup of tea and I spotted a branch of Ben’s Cookies. I’ve seen these around but never had time to go in so I pounced on it, even though the only seating available was those high stool things that I always fall off. I ordered a regular tea and a dark chocolate and ginger cookie. The cookies are all different flavours, shapes and sizes and sold by weight which struck me as a very fair way of doing things.

The tea was fine – cardboard cup and teabag (nice to see a Fairtrade teabag) and proper milk rather than the evil mini plastic pots. The cookie was divine – huge chunks of chocolate and ginger and a gooey outside. Yum.

I also loved the Quentin Blake illustration of the boy – Ben? – eating a cookie. Another reason to go buy more cookies.

Teapot? No.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Big jug.
Price? £1.20 for the tea, £1.40 for the cookie (0.0098g at £14.25 per kg)
Cake? A myriad of cookies, sold by weight.
Go again? Would buy the cookies but probably not worth going again just for the tea. Maybe if they had chairs and I could be sure of not falling over.

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The Library Cafe

Ground Floor, Central Library, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ.

Coffee-tasting tea at The Library Cafe

Knitting is important. Tea is important. When knitting, it’s important to have tea, and when visiting KnitNation, then tea becomes part of the strategy to survive the intense shopping and yarn squishing* that needs to happen. It started well with us meeting at Reading Station and catching the train to London. On the train, SK pulled out the best spotty thermos that I have ever seen and promptly poured a good looking cup of tea. Knitters on their way to KnitNation don’t mess around. Tea is needed and tea was there – I had a feeling it was going to be a good day.

After an hour and a half of shopping and saying ‘Oooh’ at every stall we saw, we broke for an early lunch at The Library Cafe. (Have I told you my theory about libraries and finding tea? Remind me to blog about it sometime.) My tea was only £1.06 but tasted really really odd. SK had also had tea and said hers was fine. K expressed surprise that I was drinking tea, she thought it smelt like coffee. And I realised that’s what it was – my tea tasted a little like coffee. I’m not sure what happened but I do know that it was a one-off, as I had more tea there later and it was fine.

Teapot? No.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Yes, big one by the sugar.
Price? £1.06 for a cardboard cup of tea.
Cake? Yes, a mix of muffins, pastries, cake and slices.
Go again? Yes.

*We squished our yarn good. Here’s what the five of us managed to collect in the first 90 minutes:

Some excellent yarn purchasing.

And here’s what I got by the end of the day (including a book I won in the raffle):

Lots of lovely knitting things. A good day.