[London] With all the interesting and exciting things happening in the coffee scene these days, it is refreshing to come across a place that simply revels in tea.
Yumchaa, innovative tea specialists that have begun to spread throughout London, are conducting a re-education, slowly becoming a fixture for great cups of tea with roots in Chinese tea culture.
You would think that in London’s capital, with most people having anywhere between two to ten cups of tea a day, you would find more places to have a decent brew.
Sadly, this is not the case, and you would be even harder pressed to find a place that does well executed loose leaf tea anywhere in the city.
There are no tea bags to be found here.
Loose leaf is the name of the game, allowing for exciting versatility of flavour. Natural ingredients from conventional herbs and spices to those more intricate, rare and unusual, find themselves in vibrant concoctions that brighten the palate and the soul.
Custom blends are made with slightly larger leafs to provide for the taste of essential oils and the teas are constantly circulated so that they do not sit on shelves for too long. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the kind of care that Yumchaa takes with regards to their product.
Yumchaa has outlets at Brick Lane, Camden Market, King’s Cross, Soho and Putney.
Their branch in Soho, well-lit with large windows, is absolutely filled not only with avid tea drinkers and café lovers but jars and boxes of tea.
At the counter, you are forced into awed silence by the sheer number of options at your disposal.
Do not worry. Yumchaa do not expect everyone to know their ginsengs from their oolongs, or rooibos from jasmine.
All you need to do is describe the kind of flavour profile you are looking for and the staff members are happy to recommend a brew that will suit your taste.
On the other hand, there are also provisions made for individuals who know exactly what they want. At Yumchaa you can decide your own blend and they are happy to oblige.
If you have a sweet tooth, Yumchaa do not leave you hanging. An assortment of inviting confections is also up for grabs, for what respectable tea room is without cake?
I had a pot of wanderlust, a tea that tasted evocatively of apples, spiced with cinnamon, with leaves that were so aromatic and perfumed that I could not help but close my eyes in appreciation.
My cake of choice at Yumchaa was a coconut cake slice that was both zingingly citrusy and welcomingly sweet.
It was a faultless portion, not too heavy or too light, just enough to marry a pot of tea that was simply exquisite.
I implore all who fancy a good cup of green tea to find one of Yumchaa’s branches and visit as soon as possible.
It was a revelatory experience, one that should find you utterly besotted with the excitement of tea sipping and cake eating.
Other Yumchaa Outlets
Brick Lane – 137 Brick Lane, London, United Kingdom
Camden Market – 91/92 Camden Lock Place Upper Walkway West Yard London, NW1 8AF
King’s Cross – 1 Granary Square, London, United Kingdom
Putney – 116 Putney High St, London SW15, United Kingdom
* Written by DFD’s London Food Correspondent Leander Dias SaltyCritic. Leander Dias was born and raised in Dubai, a burgeoning city with diverse food culture. Since moving to London to read for his English MA at UCL, he has utterly immersed himself in the local food scene, writing extensively about everything he eats everywhere he goes. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.