Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Too modern tea shop?

Walked by a tea shop today, and wonder if any of you have experienced the same thing.

I should start out by admitting that I love tea shops that feel like they're out of the late nineteenth century. Like the one in Vienna that I wrote about several weeks ago. Not dirty. That's not the point at all. But old-fashioned tea canisters are key. I completely understand that shops want to sell teapots and cups and saucers (it's a tea shop after all), but for me the focus needs to be the tea.

So back to today. Walked by a shop I'd never seen, but it might've been there a long time. Just never noticed it.

But it was almost as if the tea itself was an afterthought. The tea gear was beautifully displayed and the space was well-lit, but there was something about it I didn't like. The tins displaying the tea were just too new. Floral print and so spiffy and shiny. But something about it just didn't seem right.

These days when so many of us buy tea on the internet. Here I am complaining about a shop being too clean? Too new?

Well yes, actually I am. It didn't feel like a tea shop. I'm sure many of you would see the place and think it was fine. Modern. Redefining the way a tea shop can/should look. Not me. Give me dark old shops with mousy tea sellers who have one or two holes in their cardigans.

I should really stop while I'm ahead, shouldn't I?


  1. This is my kind of tea shop:

    Last picture in this blog.
    Very simple, not much decor, and specifically centered around the tea!

  2. I do agree with you, modern tea shops are not really appealing to me.
    I need to have "old" and old fashioned tins for tea.

    And Sir William of the Leaf, thanks for the picture.
    I will have to look at it next time I go to Brussels.

  3. Sometimes things just don't feel right. If you got a vibe that the tea itself was an afterthought, it might have been a true intuition, a gut feeling that reflected that truth. But it could be that your intuition is wrong.

    I've had that feeling in some shops...and in most cases those intuitions have been right, and the tea has been mediocre (and often overpriced).

    I do think that there is a wide range of aesthetics that a legitimate tea shop can have, ranging from the old, dark ones that you describe, to sleek, modern ones. But I think that the best tea shops will probably draw attention to the tea, as opposed to the decor. I think that both the old, dark look, and the new, sleek modern look, can both draw attention to the tea, if done properly.