Orange Pekoe’s Top Tea Tips for 2017

TOAST talks tea tips with experts Orange Pekoe

Tea. The most quintessentially English drink and part of most Brits' every day lives is growing quicker than ever in popularity across Britain. But we're not just talking about a mug of builder's, oh no. The rise of tea varieties available today has largely been driven by a growing awareness of its health benefits, but with such a vast choice, how do you go about selecting the right one for you?

Marianna Hadjigeorgiou, owner of London's best tearoom Orange Pekoe, is passionate about tea and travels far and wide to find the finest handpicked leaves in the world to create the perfect cup. Here, she shares her expert knowledge with TOAST, and her top tips on tasting tea.

After two years spent learning tea grading and the history of tea, Marianna opened Orange Pekoe (‘pee-ko’) in 2006; a stylish but cosy tearoom nestled in the leafy village of Barnes, South West London. At any given time this pretty café offers between a staggering 70-80 different teas, as well as a somewhat legendary full afternoon tea experience fit for a King, or Queen.

In 2008 Orange Pekoe gained international recognition as “London’s Best Tearoom” by Time Out London, and in May last year Tatler hailed them as one of “The Best Afternoon Teas in London”. This year Marianna is also going to be teaching at The UK Tea Academy starting with a 2-day tea course in May, so who better to give us some expert tea advice. Here, Marianna shares her top tea tips for tea taste tasting, and finding your personal favourite. 

Marianna Hadjigorgiou of Orange Pekoe's Top Tea Tips

Why do you think tea is so timelessly popular?

At Orange Pekoe we very much believe in the philosophy of tea; tea is relaxing, tea is calming, tea is to be enjoyed alone, tea is to be enjoyed as a group, tea is our nation’s drink!

What do you think will be the big tea trends for 2017?

As health food trends continue, these will be the same with tea and coffee. You will see more and more herbal and caffeine free options with tea, and more emphasis on the health benefits of tea. We’re always adding teas depending on the season and also on trends; lately it has been about turmeric and so we recently launched a Turmeric and Coconut Tea Blend that is doing really well, as a tea and also as a latte.

Loose Leaf Tea

Tea is said to be very good for us. What are your thoughts on this?

Yes, tea is very healthy and we all know that tea is full of antioxidants, especially white and green tea. The process of brewing and enjoying tea is also relaxing and calming, and it has far less caffeine than coffee. Herbal teas are amazing and there are so many health benefits associated with different herbs. Again - look at all the recent publicity on turmeric! You can read our recent turmeric blog here. 

Which is your most popular tea?

The classics are still the best sellers – English Breakfast, Earl Grey and some of the single estate Assams and Ceylons.

Which is the most unique or special tea that you sell and why?

We have so many stunning teas, like wine we really do offer a selection to suit different budgets and tastes and knowledge! Some people come in and are prepared to spend £100’s on teas and some just want to pick up a pouch for a few pounds. We have both tea novices and tea connoisseurs that we need to please! Our Flowering Jasmine Tea Balls are very special and visually spectacular - it is a premium green jasmine tea hand crafted by artisans in China and needs to be enjoyed in our glass teapot really, because as the tea ball is immersed in water you can watch it unfurl into a beautiful flower!

Orange Pekoe Loose Leaf Tea

What is your favourite tea?

It depends on the time of day and my mood. First thing in the morning I start the day with our single estate Assam Nahorabi (our best selling Assam Tea) - it is malty and sweet and strong and a great way to start the day. In the afternoon I move over to a single estate Ceylon Tea (Ceylon Kenilworth) which is lighter/flowery and more delicate, and by the evening when I am at my desk I move over to our herbal infusions and enjoy our Lemon Verbena. At bedtime I swear by our Sleep Time Blend – it’s a combination of lemon balm, heather herb, peppermint, chamomile, orange blossoms and blackcurrant leaves and always leaves me feeling calm and relaxed!

You sell your tea in leaf form but once we get it home how do we go about creating café-quality tea?

All of our teas are available to purchase loose and have brewing instructions on the packaging as different teas require different brewing conditions – e.g. boiling water or not, the length of brewing time, etc. We also encourage tea novice to purchase bio degradable tea socks which are used to put the tea leaves in - you then dispose of these after you have brewed your tea. We do not believe in leaving the tea in the pot as this can causing over steeping and bitterness in the tea!

Let’s say I am a tea novice but I really want to expand my tea knowledge – where would be a good place for me start?

We always have set questions we ask a tea novice: how they drink their tea – black or with milk? This is the main starting point - if they want something with milk we suggest that they try a single estate tea rather than a classic blend. If they are willing to try something without milk then we discuss or Green tea and Oolong tea. We always encourage our customers to smell the teas and look in the large caddies - it really helps a lot to actually see and smell the tea!

Where can we try your amazing teas?

In our tearoom in Barnes or you can purchase our tea over the phone and we can send out anywhere in the world. We sell all our teas by weight starting at 100g and we offer mini sample caddies or our handsome retail caddies. We also sell refill pouches for our tins, and vouchers for our afternoon teas!

For more information about Orange Pekoe you can see our recent Spotlight interview with Marianna over on TheEdit now, and some top tips on creating the perfect, luxurious Mothers Day afternoon tea. You can also get in touch with them via their profile page in TOAST’s Little Black Book.


Posted in Inspire Me

by Inspire Me
on on 16 March 2017

  loose leaf tea, tea, tea tips, tea trends

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