A decent Tea room….. That’s what Leeds needs.

Leeds needs a decent Tea Room, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that. Not a Cafe or a Coffee shop that sells Tea as an after thought. But a good old fashioned place to enjoy a decent cup of (Leaf) Tea. With an endless, perhaps seasonal choice. And the mere mention of the word ‘Tea Bag’ is forbidden.

An independent Tea Room would be my personal favourite, where the staff share the same passion for leaf tea as the owner intended. With knowledge, recommendations and suggestions on which tea to try. Along with the very best customer service. It doesn’t have to be a high end luxury place, the Tea and service should speak for itself.

I’m not forgetting, of course, the cakes to accompany this wonderful tea. It should be the freshest possible and definitely homemade.

As we speak, I am drinking a very fine China Oolong Leaf Tea, which I’ve served at my Tea parties. I could drink this, along with some other Leaf teas all day long. It has an aromatic flavour, easy on the nose and the senses.

I confess to knowing very little about tea, yet I prefer to drink Leaf tea where possible. It quenches your thirst on both hot and cold days. I would love to know more about the different types, where it comes from, how it’s blended, if that’s the right word. I love to drink it.

I’m dreaming I know………….. but one day.

Taking the journey from the Tea Bushes in Ceylon to the liquid nectar in my cup would be quite something to see.

Are you a life long tea drinker? Fill my comments page with all your thoughts about Tea. Which is your favourite?

Perhaps we should create an alternative Tea Party purely for the promotion of Loose Leaf Tea.

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17 thoughts on “A decent Tea room….. That’s what Leeds needs.

  1. Leeds does need a good tea room.. but is it a viable thing? The indie coffee shops do sell pretty good tea, but I bet they sell a lot more coffee. Maybe people are more willing to pay for fresh coffee over tea.

    It would be nice to think that there are enough tea enthusiasts around to support a tea shoppe but i’m hesitant to believe it’s true.

    If anyone does have plans though, I’ll be there.

    My recent favourite tea has been loose lapsang souchong, thought day to day I do enjoy a Yorkshire bag.

  2. I agree. Leeds is sadly lacking in this respect. If you’re looking to broaden your tea knowledge, The Black Swan Tearooms at Helmsley has a Tea Club where you can learn more about tea and attend tastings. (No mention of it on the website, though, so maybe they don’t have it anymore.) They’re the current best tearoom in Britain and well worth a visit.

  3. There seems to be a lack of Tea Shops in most towns nowadays – trying to find a homemade cake to go with your tea is equally difficult in the sea of big brands with their mass produced muffins!

    My favourite ‘posh’ tea has to be Assam, a lovely light flavour and not too flowery. For everyday I agree with Stuart – it has to be Yorkshire Tea (I think there is a good proportion of Assam in their blend).

  4. I agree, it would be nice to have somewhere to try/buy loose teas. I’ve recently started trying a wider range of teas and I’m also keen to learn more about them.
    I’ve always been a tea drinker, though I’ll have coffee when I’m out because it’s nicer than the tea in most places. I started getting a bit more interested in ‘speciality’ teas when I was studying the social and economic history of the tea trade as part of my degree and then I got talking to a guy that blends tea on a farmers market that made me curious, since then I’ve gradually been trying more teas and moving away from my usual branded teabag (I’m drinking a cup of strawberry rooibos tea as I write this).
    I’ve never really drunk loose leaf tea, partly convenience and that it’s easier to try something new as a bag rather than buying it loose but mainly because I didn’t have a teapot! However after hinting I ended up with two different tea pots at Christmas, so I’ve been trying some loose leaf tea and I’ve got some flavoured rooibos teas on order from Tea Box that look great.
    Somewhere where tea was a main focus rather than an after thought on a coffee orientated menu would definitely be a destination for me in Leeds, there are places where you can get green tea, chai and different things but I don’t think there’s anywhere where with a selection of loose tea, maybe a ‘tea map’ of Leeds would be a start?
    My tea’s now gone cold because I wrote more than I was planning to, best go put the kettle on…

  5. Really like the idea of a tea map Ed – but why not for the whole country.

    I don’t drink coffee and don’t really like hot chocolate so my choice of hot drinks is basically limited to tea. At home I drink on average about 8 cups of tea (yes I love the stuff) but I never really enjoy it when we’re in a cafe. It’s normally very bland and there’s no care or attention given to it. Today for example, we went toVanilla Bean in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield, a lovely independent cafe that serves homemade cakes and great food. My husband had the best cappuccino he’s had for a long time whilst I had a pot of tea with one tea bag floating in it. I was not impressed but not surprised either.

    But on the bright side, in the centre of Huddersfield there is a tea room called Gerry’s at Neaversons that opened last summer that does the whole range of tea pigs teas all served in vintage teapots and cups and saucers. Someone has done a review here http://bit.ly/bNkpev (unfortunately he doesn’t have a website.) So maybe there is some hope for the tea drinkers!

  6. Yes yes yes, we need more proper tea rooms with loose leaf as a must. The black stuff is not for me, but many really good green & White teas. Want one of these tea rooms in Liskeard too.

  7. Being a non-tea drinker (I know, I’m sorry – I’m surprised I’m allowed a British passport!!) I’d like somewhere that places equal emphasis on both tea and coffee like Betty’s does. You’re hard pushed in Leeds city centre to get a decent hot drink of any description. We definitely need some indies – would gladly swap a couple of the big chains for something new and unique, and fresh baked cake would be amazing!

  8. Yes! I would LOVE a decent tea room- I always choose tea over coffee but when out I tend to buy coffee as tea is shoved to the side in most coffee shops and you get a substandard tea bag left to brew in water that often has a weird frothy foam on the top (yes Pret a Manger, I’m looking at you!)

    The tea at Betty’s is so delicious and refreshing and easy to drink- it’s a shame so many other establishments can’t match it. There is a great tea room in Nottingham called Lee Rosys http://www.leerosyshop.com/ (that’s a link to the shop- the website for the tea room is under construction at the moment) and it’s always full with people trying one of their hundred types of leaf tea. Definitely my favourite place for a hot drink in Nottingham- Leeds should get on it and set one up too!

    I always get such a disgusted look in the big coffee chains when I go in and ask for “just a cup of tea please”- like I’ve committed a crime for not ordering one of their super skinny frappamochacinnos with extra syrup and a big pile of extra cream with half a chocolate shop shoved on top.

  9. This post really made me smile: but I’m afraid a tea shoppe, while catering for those with leafy tastes, would have to do a bog standard, strong-as-heck Yorkshire tea for people like me. Tea is the only thing that keeps me going through thick and thin, morning and night, and although a delicate Earl of Wotsit Souchong might be nice sometimes, I would appreciate somewhere where tea is not extortionately expensive (less than £1 a cup) and isn’t flooded with poor quality milk so it’s essentially tea-flavoured, milky water. Yuck.

    How about a tea shoppe where regulars get to keep their own mug (or cup and saucer) behind the counter?

  10. I couldn’t agree more about the need for a Tea Shop (or anywhere independent in the city centre)

    I would also like to speak upfor my local independent coffee shop, Baraka in Garforth which offer a range of leaf teas in addition to the coffee.

  11. I think something that would work is a combination of book store, music store and tea shop, although I agree with L1nds that a dedication to good coffee would be nice too – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been served instant coffee in a cafe, just because I sometimes like decaf, grr!
    Maybe themed areas would also be useful, offering a combination of the delicate elegance of cups and saucers and matching furnishing to some and the more cosy sofa style with mugs for others. Teapots in both though, of course…

  12. I would love to have in Leeds nice Tea room with all different kinds of leaf tea … and with all sort of caffeine free,fruity and on the base of spices tea . for warm summery afternoon and for a cold winter time. Have to say thee is no much choice il Leeds cafè if your main drink is caffeine free … Would love to be a part of a nice tea club .. 🙂

  13. Great to hear that there are some tea interested people in Leeds and bad to hear that there are no real tea-rooms or at least some good tea-sellers on the same time. As I am from PRAGUE, which has (such as other Czech cities and towns) plenty of these places to offer. It might be a great experience for you to visit at least some of them to learn how to build-up a nice place like that etc. What are the roots of this quite recent (last two decades) fashion? Czechs are big travelers and lots of them like also backpacking to some more exotic countries like China for example. It’s exactly this bacpacker-outdoor-hiker-student etc. community, who has established the Czech tea-room concept. If you were interested, just email me, I’ll give you tips… ondrej(at)kavan.cz
    To keem your tradition: I am a big oolong tea fan:)

  14. Blame it on the Americans….i was in Bombay recently and the only decent place to catch with friend’s were coffee shops. Luckly on the menu , i saw “Masala Chai”….which for the uninititaed is a spicy thick tea quite a rage in India. Ordered it …and after about 10 minutes …came on a silver tray …..a pot of hot water …a small sachet of milk powder …sugar …and a Tea Bag of Masala Chai !!!!
    The conept is it’s supposed to be “boiled” with the loose tea + masala + milk …..and not me making it myslf and paying Service Tax for it…
    Blame it on the Americans and their coffee chains….
    Anyone staring a Tea Shop in Leeds…count me in for properly brewed Assam tea with dash of milk…….and a good book to snuggle upto……

  15. Dock Street Market have just introduced loose leaf tea, they have a good basic selection with a couple of blended, a couple of black, some fruit teas a white and a green… they are pretty passionate about it and plan to mix the range up by introducing guest seasonal teas and are even making cocktails in teapots using iced tea and tea syrups!

  16. And I see that The Marvellous Tea Dance Company have just opened a tearoom in the Bird’s Yard building on Kirkgate. Haven’t been yet, but hopefully a step in the right direction.

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