There may be no better place to shelter from the autumn rains or the crowds of Oxford Street (or both) than Postcard Teas just behind Bond Street Station.
Founder, Timothy D'Offay and his team have created a haven for tea enthusiasts that I encourage everyone to visit. This is how tea shops should be.
Try before you buy (or not)
If it can be helped, never buy a tea without first tasting it. Reputation, name, supplier - all count for nothing if the tea tastes bad.
Recognising this at Postcard Teas you can sample any tea (for which you pay about £3-£6) and if you decide to buy the tea it is discounted from the cost of your purchase. Win-Win! You get to discover a tea you love and in discovering it you save money when you take it home.
The Puffy Professor
Tea shops always throw up chance encounters with a cast of characters and this visit was no exception. I was joined at the tea bar by Marie the charming, multi-lingual tea maker and an Argentinian professor of literature who mildly rebuked me for asking to inspect the tea.
"It is sometimes best not to ask but instead to enjoy being surprised. I asked her to give me something for my soul" he said, a little puffy despite his damp corduroy jacket.
Thankfully the fresh tea soon warmed both of our souls and we then stood trading praise for our new friend - Mr Hsieh - farmer of the divine Yumi Oolong from Nantou County, Taiwan.
'One Acre' Yumi Oolong 2014
Who wouldn't love this? A fresh, floral and headily aromatic Oolong produced on a single acre plot on Mr. Hsieh's farm, which he combination plants with ginger to be harvested and sold at the local organic market. 2014 has been a fantastic year for Taiwanese Oolongs and this is a perfect tea for anyone who enjoys floral perfumed oolongs with a little astringent edge in the finish.
Highly recommended. Head to Postcard Teas to pick some up if your passing.