Friday, December 3, 2010

Tea Tree Tea (Edinburgh, UK): A Solace for Tea Lovers

I thought being in the UK, I would find quality teas around, but going around Edinburgh, I was disappointed to mostly serve Twinings tea bags. Granted I was in Scotland and not England … but really? Just Twinings everywhere?

I was therefore extremely excited when I found Tea Tree Tea, a shop specializing in loose leaf teas, just two blocks away from the conference center (and around the corner from Starbucks). I accidentally discovered it on my walk to the Edinburgh Castle and made a mental note to stop on the way back.

Tea Tree Tea is a charming little shop with friendly people. It's usually pretty quiet and they have free wi-fi to boot!
On my first visit I had a chai latte to warm me up after a long walk around the city and the castle.This lighter version is a nice change from all the sugary, powdery ones you find at chain coffeehouses.

I also like their attitude:

Tea Tree Tea also serves pastries and sandwiches. I was on a mission to try as much Scottish food as I could, so I tried the Cranachan cake with their namesake tea, the Tea Tree tea, which they said was similar to the English Breakfast but stronger.

According to Wikipedia, Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert usually made with raspberries, whisky, cream, and topped with oatmeal. As far as the cake goes, it's pretty much a raspberry and cream white cake. Nothing wrong with that though, it made for an excellent sweet breakfast.
Cranachan Cake
Cranachan Cake
The Tea Tree tea is a strong yet smooth black tea. The staff had brewed the tea properly so that it's strong without being bitter, but served it with the tea-filled filter on the side anyway. Just in case it's not strong enough for me, I guess?
Tea Tree Tea
Tea Tree Tea

Among the Twinings tea bags and Starbucks, Tea Tree Tea House was a gem. They don't have a massive tea list but the varied selection is more than adequate. They have a variety of black, green, red, white, oolong, and herbal teas and they also have a blended fruit tea drink that people apparently rave about (I didn't try it, being so cold and all). It also isn't particularly cheap (but I'm finding loose leaf teas just aren't in the western world ...), but it sure is no more than Starbucks. I, for one, couldn't have survived a week without it.

Tea Tree Tea
13 Bread Street
Edinburgh, EH3 9
(0131) 228 3100
Tea Tree Tea House on Urbanspoon


Wandering Chopsticks

But Twinings is English so they have to promote it. :P

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