Just a step off the grind of Old Street roundabout, tucked into the rather suited-and-booted-looking Bower development, a tranquil revolution is bubbling away at Good & Proper Tea. Having started out selling brews from a cute Citroën-H van and raising cash through crowdfunding campaigns, founder Emilie Holmes has now swapped the wheels for a more permanent spot to bring her perfectly brewed range of teas to the capital.
The neat-as-a-pin sliver of a shop, all blonde wood and wide windows, artfully displays a long counter-full of tea varieties, as well as a carefully chosen selection of teaware for sale. Staff are brimming with enthusiasm and knowledge – veritable tea-chers, if you will – and Eat Hackney and I happily settled in for a lesson.
After carefully explaining the difference between black, oolong, green and white tea, as well as herbal infusions and matcha, tearista Freddie whipped us up an expertly prepared pot of Kenya Op, presented beautifully on its own wooden tray with diminutive milk bottle.
The secret to their spot-on serves is a combination of high-quality, single origin tea and their Alpha Dominche steampunk brewers. Originally developed to increase consistency in filter coffee, these ensure each tea is brewed at a temperature and with a level of agitation, precisely adjusted to bring out the unique flavour and taste of each variety. At speed.
Creatures of habit, this nation of tea-drinkers is apparently approaching these developments with slight timidity; customers come in and try a more standard Assam or Ceylon but return with a curiosity for more unusual varieties. Throw in one of Good & Proper Tea’s piping hot, homemade crumpets, as well as looseleaf tea to takeaway, and it’s not hard to see why this little haven has got thirsty punters coming back for more.
by Sally Schafer