Move oolong coffee, tea is back on the menu and this time it's not just over-steeped milky cuppas or bitter green brews. Speciality tea is in vogue and at these chic London spots you can take your pick of everything from organic, single-origin jasmine tea to a seriously suave aged-lemon pu'er tea, calvados and lemon cocktail.
These days, the possibilities for tea drinking in the capital are endless. Take anything from a masterclass in all things brewed at the Twinings flagship store, sit down and chow down on a crumpet and fresh pot at sustainable steepers Good & Proper or head on over to XU for a (if not slightly boozy) alternative afternoon of traditional tea sipping and Taiwanese dumpling munching.
Whether you're looking to restock your caddy or dreaming of a steaming cup of first-rate Darjeeling, there's something for every tea-lover in this guide to London's finest teahouses, tea bars and one-stop shops.
Teatulia Tea Bar
36 Neal Street, WC2H 9PS
An art deco, literary cafe by day (its bookshelf is curated by none other than Tilda Swinton) and a stylish cocktail bar by night, this Covent Garden spot specialises in single-origin tea, handpicked from its organic tea gardens in northern Bangladesh. Time to leave your milky builder's brew at the door, Teatulia is here to change the game.
38 King Street, WC2E 8JS
Mariage Frères has been keeping Parisian thé-lovers well topped up since 1854 and now it's brought its speciality wares to a listed Georgian townhouse on Covent Garden's King Street. This seductive spot is the epitome of luxury, but a visit to the home of the world's longest tea wall for a cup of the good stuff is worth the splash at least once, right?
Good & Proper
96a Leather Lane, EC1N 7TX
Something truly delicious is brewing on Leather Lane. No, we're not talking about Good & Proper's crumpets – although once you've had one of those sourdough beauties, you'll never look at Mr W's the same way again. We're talking about the fresh pot of sustainably sourced loose-leaf tea that's on the bar with your name on it.
XU Teahouse & Restaurant
30 Rupert Street, W1D 6DL
Taiwan's history is steeped in tea, but you don't have to head east to get a taste for it, because XU feels just like a Taiwanese teahouse lifted straight out of 1930s Taipei. Get involved with a traditional tea ceremony, toast the day with a tea-infused cocktail or savour a cup of the rare stuff, shipped to Soho straight from the famous tea gardens of Taiwan.
216 Strand, WC2R 1AP
Having stood for 300 years as the Twinings flagship store, 216 Strand is the oldest tea shop in London. It's not somewhere to head for a relaxing cuppa with your favourite book, but if you want to browse some of the iconic British brand's best teas and take your tea-obsession one step further, then this tea emporium might just be the one for you.
All this and still more? Discover the story behind Sri Lanka's ceylon tea industry