Thomas Twining in 1706 at the age of 31, acquired Tom’s Coffee House in Devereux Court, just off the Strand in London. Each coffee house had its own attraction to draw in customers, and at “Tom’s Coffee House” the attraction was tea. In 1717, Thomas acquired the next door premises and chose the sign of the Golden Lion to identify his shop. The sign can still be seen over Twinings’ shop at 216 The Strand in London today. Thomas Twining’s philosophy was only to sell tea and coffee of the highest quality – a philosophy that Twinings still use today. Although their premises in Devereux Court were damaged by bombs during the second World War, half the shop remained and carried out business throughout the war. So it can be said that Twinings, 216 The Strand, has never closed! Today Twinings pack their teas in their new premises in Andover, Hampshire, as well as in thriving plants in other centres, from where they export to over 90 countries around the world.
We catch up with Chris Lewis-Enright from Twinings, and ask all the need-to-know questions about tea.
With so many options to choose from, how should one go about choosing the right tea?
It all starts with serving a brand that blends only the highest quality teas from around the World. Twinings have been blending the World’s finest teas for over 300 years so they know all about what goes into making the perfect cup of tea. Choosing the right tea of course depends on personal taste. If one prefers a traditional black tea with milk, English Breakfast is the perfect all-rounder, and the ever popular Earl Grey, flavoured with oil of Bergamot will satisfy those who like a hint of citrus. Jasmine, the classic Green tea, as well as Green tea & Lemon, or Green tea & Mint, are popular because of their reputed health benefits, and should always be consumed without milk. For those who prefer not to have any caffeine, Twinings Herbal Infusions are all “Naturally” caffeine free.
How many flavours of tea should a host cater for?
The most popular varieties that Twinings always suggest are, two black teas, e.g. Earl Grey and English Breakfast, one Green tea e.g. Jasmine or Green tea & Mint, one Herbal Infusion e.g. Pure Camomile or Pure Peppermint, and one Fruit tea e.g. Vanilla, or Four Red Fruits.
What is the secret to the perfect cup of tea?
Here are the 10 golden rules to make perfect cup of tea:
What are your top tips for hosting a tea party?
Prepare well ahead of time so as to be relaxed when guests arrive. Since the Duchess of Bedford (1788 – 1861) first introduced the idea of afternoon tea 200 years ago, little has changed, and today a table with a pretty cloth and napkins, tea spoons and forks, side plates, cups & saucers and a vase of flowers, would complete the list for a formal afternoon tea. Arrange chairs and side tables so that everything is in place before guests arrive. Soft background music always adds atmosphere to the occasion.
What is your ultimate treat to serve with a cup of tea?
The food served should be attractively presented and could include dainty sandwiches, hot crumpets or muffins and small cakes. Steven Twining, tenth generation in the business maintains that the ultimate treat is thinly sliced bread, crust off, filled with cream cheese and thinly sliced cucumber!
Purchase any Le Creuset Tea product and receive a complimentary box of Twinings Tea ‘Fruit & Herb Collection’.
Valid 15 September – 31 October 2014 in all Le Creuset Boutique Stores and online at www.lecreuset.co.za.
To view the complete range of Twinings, please visit their website: http://www.twinings.com/