Postcard Teas nests in an ultra premium location in central London, but still the rejuvenating calmness of this naturally lit tea boutique is shielded from the wild herds of shoppers cruising the Bond and Regent Streets.
As your smartphone directs you through dwindling, almost passers-by-free streets towards the workshop-squared glass face pinched on Dering street, you will be ushered into a calm oasis of honest business. Providing its customers with only the best quality leafs from precisely focused small tea plantations (less than 15 acres), has attracted the most savvy tea connoisseurs into its parquet little world. Currently, teas from China, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam are in store, always the newest release of the particular year, with the exception of pu-erh that tends to be better older.
Recently, also limited quantities of organic herbal infusions were added into their portfolio. These are pleasant caffeine-free brews perfect warm or iced, made as you momental mood desires.
This calm and secluded space is an ideal spot for a tea shop, so you can remain focused on the moment of selecting or sipping tea. Even if I intend just to pop in briefly when in the area to get a specific refill of my favourite tea or check out the new arrivals, I end up chatting with whomever is behind the till, effortlessly slow down and get out positively tuned.
Postcard Teas shop in London
There are dozens of brought-back-to-life (The East India Company) or centuries-old tea shops in London, but most of them are staunch devotees of an English style of tea. Increasingly more spurs of pure teas reaching beyond India are appearing on the London tea scene though. The shop offers some classic London blends based on black teas and also many ‘English’ items such as teapot covers that keep warmth inside the pot for longer, but it also features rare handmade Japanese ceramics and tea accessories made by contemporary artists in Japan. The very English teapot covers sold at Postcard Teas in London are all unique and handmade, all in tune with the company’s traditions, handcrafts, fairness and honesty promoting ethos.
Japanese tea ceramics
Two concepts of tea define its precise selections – working solely with small plantations and maintaining direct relationships with tea growers. In this way, the quality and also fair wages for everyone involved with the tea growing and making process can be assured. Particularly, in China and India it is challenging to find a consistent supply of comparable quality, thus sourcing this way not just supports the small growers and cooperatives, but motivates them to stick to their fair practices.
The Postcard Teas was founded by Timothy D’Offay over 20 years ago. While living in Kyoto, the Japanese centre of tea culture, he was enamoured with great tea and began to explore other tea growing regions in Asia. First he imported tea directly from people he met during his tea travels, later he co-founded his first tea shop called ‘East Teas’ in London, and then grouped together with a passionated and varied bunch of tea lovers, a Japanese tea family descendant and a Chinese ceramicist, who is also the creative director at Postcard Teas, he pioneered working with exclusively small tea growers and thus inspired a new generation of global tea business based on direct ethical trade.
Artistic labels for tea
It may seem disparate then placing his store in the Mayfair high-heeled society-environment, but it is a welcome and easy to reach escape for anyone who travels to the metropolis and stays at one of the central hotels as I do. If they were too far North, in the trendy East or Notting Hill, they would probably keep local customers, but could not spread the word beyond the British world.
The choice from about 60 teas and blends, all sold artistically labelled with colourful cartoonish images reminding of the old colourful Japanese placards you can find around Kyoto, makes it hard to narrow down, but trying some of their teas during on of the thematic weekly tastings will swoon over their qualities.
My first picks were a green Korean Nokcha reminding me with its light roasted aroma of slightly oxidised oolong, and and exquisite shaded Japanese steamed green Gyokuro by Master Yoshida.
Look at the descriptive Gyokuro tea tin bellow, that is characteristic for each tea with its precise details. Since 2008 as “the first tea company in the world to put the maker’s name and location” on the package, the Postcard Teas forged transparency. Made by Master Yoshida, a 16th generation tea master and head of the Japanese Hand Rolling Association, the for 20 days shaded rare Gyokuro comes from the Yoshida family fields in Ogura, where gyokuro was first grown and shaded with traditional honzu reed and mochi rice straw covers. Using the kyusu (hobin) ceramic teapot with a small spout, that can be bought at the store, you steep this tea for a very short period in slightly warm water (50-55degreees ideally), then let the umami and the endless aftertaste take you for a long journey.
Descriptive Gyokuro Tea tin at Postcard teas
I also like the flavoured Chinese green tea Huangshan Mao Feng with Morrocan rose buds reminding with its delicate bouquet of a white tea. The La Vie en Rose is delicate, fresh and not too overshadowed by the fragrant roses. Since, there is not any white tea in their repertoire yet, this is an interesting alternative for a lighter brew.
From the pu-erh I enjoyed the typically earthy yet balanced with sweet licorice cooked 2006 vintage LIU FAMILY NANNUO SHAN. Although broken to pieces, it is sealed in the container so still retains its quality. About the raw pu-erh you need to inquire with the staff about availability.
The artistic labels for the airtight tea tins at Postcard Teas can be also used as greeting cards to be send on your behalf to anyone, anywhere in the world. Either at their location in London or online, choose the Tea Postcard™ you’d like to send, write the message in any language and address with a country name in English, and surprise a friend, family or a lover with the old-fashioned, yet today even more appreciated, reminder that there is someone in some other destination who thinks about you and wants to share the very personal experience of enjoying a great tea.
Once you buy a tea in a tin, you can purchase a cheeper refill of the same tea. A sustainable and more economical path to enjoy your favourite teas again and again.
English teapot covers
The Postcard Teas reputation has won over many of the leading London and Manchester cafés and restaurants, serving their loose teas with their quality-focused food. To name a few: Fera at Claridges, Balthazar, Quo Vadis, River Café, Umu, … From Michelin dining, health cafés by yoga studios, cake shops and even cycle clubs, they all share the love and support of small tea growers and pickers.
Wooden gift box for Japanese ceramics at Postcard Teas
If you purchase any of the artisan Japanese ceramics, you will get it like in Japan beautifully wrapped inside a wooden gift box. I bought kyusu (hobin) ceramic teapot that is ideal for preparing Japanese green teas, made by the ASAHIYAKI KILN (BREWERS) in Uji, the Japan’s tea capital town. It has been serving me well for over two years now.
The Tea school is organised regularly each Saturday morning, lasting for about one hour starting at 10am. The tasting and talking opens your mind about each group of tea and aids with finding the perfect tea style for you. Try before you buy is popular in Asia, in particular in China and Hong Kong, but in Europe, unfortunately, tea tastings are generally paid and organised affairs. At Postcard Teas though their limited supply justifies the cost.
The new arrivals come with changing seasons. In spring you can get a freshly picked Long Jing from China, in the summer an Indian Daarjeling and a Japanese sencha are shipped, gyokuro comes later as do the best fall harvests from India.

 9 Dering St, London W1S 1AG, United Kingdom
Tea school booking costs £20 per person.

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