The shop is in an 18th-century building just off New Bond Street. Elegantly minimalist, the white walls and single wooden table provide the perfect backdrop for the caddies...
and pouches of tea,
as well as the Tea Mail,
by which you can send a pouch of tea anywhere in the world.
The Tea School is actually a series of four tastings led by the owner, Timothy d'Offay. Tim travels throughout Asia, working with and buying from the world's finest small-scale, family tea producers.
While the first session was a general introduction, the second focused on white and black teas. The most surprising was the Pu-erh tea: extremely earthy, with definite notes of hay, leather, and stable yard...not one I'll be ordering from the tea menu!
The third session covered green teas. I'd always thought all green teas were the same, so this was a revelation: six very different flavors from three different countries.
The next session (when Tim returns from Japan) will be on oolongs. I'm particularly excited about this one, as these were my favorites in the first tasting.
I was a bit nervous at the start, but I didn't need to be. While Tim is incredibly knowledgeable, he's also very friendly and down-to-earth. Definitely the most fun I've ever had in school!