My favourite place!
I love Whittards in Covent Garden! It’s always so lovely and the employees seem like they know what they’re talking about and always so pleasant.
The upstairs is a small shop with a representative selection of their teas. Then you walk down the stairs to the rest of the shop, which is many times the size and has a lovely little tea room and tasting area.
I’ve visited three times and it’s always a lovely experience.
Whittards is a chain of British tea ware and tea shops. They have a fair selection of loose leaf and bagged tea, iced “tea”, fruit and herbal infusions, coffee, hot chocolate, tea ware, and paraphernalia.
The good: tea ware – their teapots, infusers, cups, mugs, etc are superb, and fairly priced. You can’t really go wrong here. Their selection only includes Western (aka British) tea paraphernalia (so no Gaiwans etc), but what they have is beautiful, and well made.
Their herbal and fruit infusions are interesting and generally good. Stay away from the powdered instant iced “tea”. The really good tea is not to be had in the bags and tins that they sell, but rather by weight. They have become annoying in recent years (you can only buy tea by weight in 100g increments, or 125g – if I remember correctly), and the prices have taken a hike up in recent years, but they are everywhere, and it is worth popping in if you have a moment and few pounds. Their Assam Hazelbank is really good – if they have it in stock, I highly recommend it.
The not so good: prices have gone up, which means that from an average priced shop, it is now closer to the expensive realm. If you are a tea bag person – this shop caters for Brits, which means tea bags for pots (aka without strings). The regular selection tends to be just average – decent tea, but not blow your socks off tea. Their better tea is had only by weight, and their weight limit, which doesn’t allow for 50g purchases, or heaven forbid, samples, is problematic. Tastings tend to be of the instant iced tea variety, and you can’t really taste their speciality tea. The staff is not clueless, but is far from being an expert. It’s best to go in knowing what you want. On the other hand, they never push anything – a plus.
P.S. they have pretty good hot chocolate. Worth trying.