You’ve got to love the attitude of the owner, Stas Leonidou, and the whole ethos of To A Tea. Anyone who is prepared to have three different hot water boilers, each set to a different temperature, so that he can brew the perfect cuppa depending on the type of tea, has to be admired. And I don’t even drink the stuff.
To A Tea is my kind of place. Forget that he’s got the emphasis wrong (tea, not coffee), forget the cakes (they’re excellent by the way), forget the friendly atmosphere, the comfortable chairs, the superb staff. Anyone who takes this much care and shows this much passion about what he does deserves to succeed.
Well, actually that’s not entirely true. If you showed this much passion and then made lousy tea, you’d deserve to fail, but To A Tea does everything right, including the coffee. Go there, drink the tea and coffee, eat the cake, make the business thrive. Oh, and tell Stas that he needs to open a branch in Guildford!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
You’ve got to love a place where the menu says “Take Time For Tea”, even if you’re taking time for coffee. With that kind of attitude, you can’t go too far wrong.
You’ve also got to love a place where the owner comes over and talks to you for five minutes about his passion for tea (my own fault, probably, for waving my camera around). Stas Leonidou, the owner of To A Tea, told me his motivation for setting up To A Tea, which was driven by a frustration with the modern coffee chains who think that to serve tea you give customers a cup of not-quite-hot-enough water and a tea bag and leave them to it. Even I, who don’t drink the stuff, know that’s wrong. If my coffee was served with such lack of care, I might be driven to set up my own coffee shop, so I sympathise entirely with Stas.
So, To A Tea was born, a place where there are nine black teas, five green teas, two Oolong and two white teas on offer. Add to that the 15 herbal teas and a coffee menu that’s none too shabby either and you’ve got quite a place. And that’s without mentioning the cakes. Ooo, the cakes… I’m getting a bit giddy just thinking about them.
Nine pastries, scones, flapjacks and brownies; five types of cake, four types of cupcake, four types of cookie, three types of fruit loaf and three types of tarts. Give me strength, that’s 28 different options. That’s more than half a year at a sample rate of one a week! And, of course, they all have to be sampled. I owe it to you, dear reader.
Normally I’d focus on the coffee (which is very good by the way), but the cakes! Did I mention they do cake? I had the velvet cake: a richer, smoother, creamier concoction is hard to imagine. This was divine. A cake to die for. A cake, perhaps, to kill you. Under normal circumstances, I polish off my cake in the blink of an eye and wonder what’s for seconds, but this was a cake to be savoured, a cake to take your time over, a cake from which you need to recover between mouthfuls. Frankly, this cake very nearly polished me off.
They even serve lunches, which seems an unnecessary prelude to the cake if you ask me, but some people are strange. Like tea drinkers, I suppose. Anyway, if you’re in the City of London, go to To A Tea. If you’re in London, but not in the City, go to the City and go to To A Tea. If you’re not in London, well, you get the picture…
|14 FARRINGDON STREET • FIVE FLEET PLACE • LONDON • EC4A 4AB|
|http://www.toatea.com/||+44 (0)20 7248 3498|
|Monday||09:00 – 17:00||Seating||Comfy Chairs, Tables, Bar|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 17:00||Food||Cakes, Lunch|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 17:00||Service||Table Service|
|Thursday||09:00 – 17:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard, Amex|
|Friday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||26th August 2012|
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Ohh. Real teas. Mmmmm.
“Frankly, this cake very nearly polished me off.” – nice! What’s in a velvet cake?
Velvet? Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s a rich sponge, with incredibly rich cream icing and cream sandwiched between layers of cake. It’s red in colour. I think it has cocoa in it, but it’s not really a chocolate cake. I’m almost certain the red comes from food colouring though!
Google and Wikipedia will help. There seem to be a wide range of theories as to the origin, and a wide range of recipes. The interesting part (I thought) was the idea that the red colour may have originated in a reaction between acidic ingredients and anthocyanin in the cocoa.
I’m going to London today. hmm….
Very gracious of you to cater for the Tea Party. Excellent review.
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I was looking for a place near Smithfield Markets for a meeting on Friday, this looks perfect! Thanks!
Glad you found the Coffee Spot useful 🙂 To a Tea is a lovely spot 🙂
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