Tea for you and me

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


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Glutton and Glee

6 Tunsgate, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3QT   (View on map)

Hot cross buns and cushions with stars on at Glutton and Glee

It’s almost Easter. I like hot cross buns and A likes hot cross buns. We wanted somewhere in Guildford that we could drink tea and eat hot cross buns. We asked in four likely cafes and found no hot cross buns, so we gave up on the hot cross bun quest and headed to the castle instead. On the way to the castle we spotted Glutton and Glee, it looked so cheerful inside that we decided to go there afterwards. Lo and behold, when we turned up an hour or so later we found that they had loose leaf tea and hot cross buns.

They had tasty looking salads and cakes, as well as a good range of tea. Upstairs was a bench with bright cushions that reminded me of Chococo and the seaside. A had an apple, pear and ginger juice that was light and tasted of summer. I had some smooth Cornish Earl Grey tea. We both had a hot cross bun. An excellent chance find of a cafe that we’ve already planned to go to again.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Yes, from the Rare Tea Company.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £2.25 for the tea, £2.95 for the juice, £1.95 for the hot cross bun.
Cake? Yes and cupcakes, pastries, hot cross buns (hurrah!), salads, tart, jacket potatoes, sandwiches. They also sell tea, jams, biscuits, oils and cookie mix.
Go again? Yes, next time I’d like to try the salads as well.


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The Tea Box

7 Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey, London, TW9 1RX.   (View on map)

A green throne and grand furnishings at The Tea Box.

Before I go anywhere new I tend to do a quick search online to see if there are any particular cafes or tea rooms that seem like the kind of place I should investigate further. When I was doing my preliminary searching for Richmond only one place stood out and that was The Tea Box. Their website doesn’t give much away (apart from their strap line, ‘About to cause a stir…’) but it wasn’t too far from where I was meant to be going so I thought I’d give it a try.

It looked good from the outside and inside I was happily surprised by the furniture – all old style wood chairs and dark tables, an opulent tea drinking palace. I plumped for a gold table with green thrones, which was very comfortable. The people at the table next to me had a candelabra! Anyway, the tea menu (not pictured here, that’s the tea-you-can-buy-loose-and-take-away menu) had the largest selection of tea I’ve seen outside of Tea Smith.There was also an events listing on the table – adult storytelling, jazz evenings, knit nights…

I went for ‘Indian Tea’ as I wanted something to wake me up. There was also a wide ranging selection of cake, including half a dozen flavoured scones, and I went for the dark ginger cake.

Tea, cake and hourglasses at The Tea Box.

The tea came with three hourglasses so that I could time the strength of my tea perfectly, and advice on which one hourglass I should be watching. The tea strainer lifted out completely and had it’s own saucer so that the brew didn’t get any stronger. The cake was very rich and the tea very strong – just what I needed at this point in the day.

My only niggle was the note in the menu saying they that don’t do refills so please don’t ask – and the waiter underlined this by taking away my pot once it was empty, but before I’d finished my last cup. Considering that the tea here was done so well and there was such an emphasis on loose leaf, it seems odd that they wouldn’t honour the tradition of asking for some more hot water for the pot. Unless it’s not so common now? Is this something that people still do? Obviously, having fresh tea leaves in your pot means you should pay for a fresh pot, but just adding hot water on your old leaves tends to be free. Answers on a postcard, please.

Anyway, overall a very enjoyable trip and one that I will be making again sometime soon if I can.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Yes, there’s only loose leaf in here!
Milk jug? Of course.
Price? About £3 for the tea and around £2.50 for the cake.
Cake? Cakes, flavoured scones, meals, sandwiches, hot tea, cold tea, hot fruit punch, lots and lots of choice. Also teapots, tea cups, tea strainers and tea ducks (such an astounding tea related item that I bought one for R for Christmas, it deserves a whole post).
Go again? Yes, yes and yes.


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The Chocolate Teapot

4 Station Road, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8DY   (View on map)   020 8398 8866

The view from our table at The Chocolate Teapot (the window tables were taken when we arrived or we would naturally have nabbed one of those).

The Chocolate Teapot was recommended by a reader of the blog in September and it’s taken me a while to go visit but I have managed it.

The cafe is tucked away next to Esher train station and if you’re driving there you’ll need to park in one of the roads coming off Station Road. We headed over there on a Sunday for an early lunch and when we got there they were still serving breakfast (lunch doesn’t start until 1pm) which suited us fine.

The tables and chairs are nice and solid, with pretty tablecloths and flowers in vases. The china is patterned and a mix of different styles and colours and we all enjoyed seeing which teapot we got given. There were shelves high up on the wall with many different teapots on and while we were eating a couple brought in an unusual teapot for the owners to add to the collection on display in the tearoom.

A feast of tea and breakfast at The Chocolate Teapot.

There were a range of different teas available and a range of different breakfasts. Dad and S went for the full English and Mum and I went for the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. I haven’t made a note of which tea we chose but I seem to remember S and I had Lady Grey with Mum going for Darjeeling and Dad for English Breakfast. Apologies if I’m wrong.

The food was good and the tea was hot and kept on coming. We polished off all the breakfasts and then considered the cake. The Chocolate Teapot has one of my favourite things to see in any cafe or tearooms: a cake filled sideboard. It’s always a good sign as it gives you a range of cake and implies they are busy enough to get through all the cake on display without any trouble. There was a huge selection but we went for bakewell tart, chocolate fudge cake and apple cake (I think, obviously I was too excited by the eating and drinking at this cafe as I haven’t got my normal level of notes to refer to). All the cake was excellent, we were very happy.

Cake and tea at The Chocolate Teapot.

Teapot? Yes, lots of different pretty patterned ones.
Leaf tea? No, but good quality teabags.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £1.40 for speciality tea, £4.50 for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, £5.95 for full English.
Cake? Yes, on the magical cake sideboard.
Go again? Yes, especially as they offer a basic afternoon tea for £5.95 and a larger version for £7.50.


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A recommendation!

I often ask for recommendations but in the two years of doing this blog I have only had one. Today I got my second, which is very exciting. The place in question is ‘The Chocolate Teapot Tearoom’ in Esher, Surrey. I have an address and not much else as I can’t find any internet mention of them, but hopefully I can check that one out soon.

If you have any other recommendations for me, let me know! You can leave me the details on the form here.


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Moka

Unit 9, 60 Ashley Centre, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5DB

Scone, tea and mocha at Moka

It was full when we arrived mid morning on Sunday, which is always a good sign and once again someone left just as we turned up and we managed to grab a table. I was hungry and wanted something solid to eat, so I decided to have a scone with butter and jam. R and I ordered tea and S ordered a mocha.

The scone was solid and crumbly with a mini pot of proper jam and some butter. The tea had been left to sit on the counter for a while before we got it – we could see it from where we were – and so was quite stewed for Earl Grey but was still welcome. Annoying metal tea pots that poured tea all over the table though. Anyway, a good place to go for tea in Epsom.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No, but Fairtrade tea bags.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £1.95 for Earl Grey, £2.45 for the mocha, £1.90 for scone with jam and butter.
Cake? Yes and tarts, breakfast, lunch.
Go again? Yes.


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Mada Deli

The Old Bank, 11-13 Bridge Road, Hampton Court, Surrey, KT8 9EU.

Tea at Mada Deli (with a tomato plant in the background)

Tea at Mada Deli (with a tomato plant in the background)

This road is a typical posh pretend village road, with lots of little shops but nowhere actually to do a food shop. This deli tries but it’s so expensive (£3.95 for a packet of 8 biscuits) that I don’t know how anyone could afford to shop there. Mind you, if people can afford to live here then I guess they can afford to shop here. Anywhere, to get back to my point, this deli looked like the most likely place to do interesting tea.

There were nice big solid tables and tomato plants growing up the walls. The tea they had on offer wasn’t that interesting, there was a selection of boxes but some of them were duplicates (e.g. two different brands of Earl Grey) but I picked one anyway (Earl Grey). It came in a nice pot and tasted good.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Teabag.
Milk jug? Yes, teeny one.
Price? £1.50.
Cake? Yes, good looking cake but I was being economical so didn’t get any.
Go again? Yes.


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Woodlands Park Hotel

Woodlands Lane, Stoke D’Abernon, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 3QB

Cakes, scones, tea and Pimms sorbet galore at the Woodlands Park Hotel

Cakes, scones, tea and Pimms sorbet galore at the Woodlands Park Hotel

For my Mum’s birthday (no, I’m not telling you which one) we all went to the Woodlands Park Hotel for afternoon tea. Drinking tea and eating cake is part of the family tradition, it’s no wonder that I blog about it too.

You have to give the hotel 24 hours notice if you want afternoon tea and we found out why. All the food was excellent and fresh. Sandwiches, amazing scones, fruit cake, cherry cake, chocolate and coffee eclairs, mini pavlovas, strawberry tarts and Pimms sorbet. Yum!

The tea wasn’t so good, I’m afraid. We each had a pot to ourselves but we had to ask for hot water and I lost count of the amount of times we ran out of milk. Two medium sized milk jugs for 9 people, who are all taking their tea with milk, is not enough. Tea bags too.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £18 per person.
Cake? Yes.
Go again? Yes.