It's just part of the day to have a cuppa (or three), and
While you can easily buy good tea from the grocery store, it's fun to find places that supply interesting, quality blends. It's easy enough to find tea in the grocery store, but also fun to find unique blends. If yWhile you can easily buy good tea from the grocery store, it's fun to find places that supply interesting, quality blends. ou're interested in perusing for your own home brewing, here are a few good tea suppliers to check out in London:
Whittard: A large, upscale chain; has a number of locations. There are welcoming storefronts with a nice assortment of teas and teaware. Although you are paying for the quality packaging and design, it's worth it (especially for a gift). They also offer free samples of different brews, so you can explore what you like. Best for: gifts.
Tea Palace: Offers samples as well. I find the Tea Palace a bit more touristy and less user-friendly than Whittard, while still operating in the same price range. However, it was the first tea shop I went to in London a few years ago and I came away with a few good loose-leaf teas, so I can't completely write it off.
Best for: tourism.
Drury Tea and Coffee Co.: Really great quality for both coffee and tea. It's located on the hipsterish New Row, a stretch of tiny, mostly non-chain shopfronts (hooray!). They're helpful, no-fuss, and have a fantastic selection. Especially good if you already know what you like.
Best for: the true tea-ist.
Twinings: has a little shop on the Strand if you're in search of Tradition. (There's a neat historical display at the back which showcases their company's history.) They feature their more upscale products in the limited retail space; you can always get regular Twinings at the grocery store.
Best for: tourism.
Postcard Teas: This shop just off Bond Street is knowledgeable, welcoming, and fairly posh. They offer tastings and classes in their serene interior, and the quality and packaging design are both excellent. I'd recommend it for those truly interested in tea, where it comes from, and its history (they carry a few good books on the subject as well). It's also great if you're looking for a better-than-usual postcard or a gift you don't have to carry home yourself - you can send a postcard-package from the store that includes some of their tea. Not the cheapest option, but not outrageous either - and pretty fun to receive in the mail!
Best for: someone serious about tea, or who'd like to learn; small gifts for a faraway friend.