04 June, 2009

2003 TeaSmith Yiwu

I don't get into the capital very much, but it's just an hour away. Yesterday, I visited UCL (University College, London), a place to which I haven't been since applying to universities for my undergraduate degree. The grandeur and beauty of the architecture are astounding - we don't get anything on this grand metropolitan scale in Oxford. The main building, pictured below, reminds me of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, or Capitol Hill in the USA.


After three hours spent talking about engineering with the locals, I found myself in the centre of London with an hour in hand - therefore, time to head to TeaSmith. If there are any other decent tea venues in London, I haven't heard of them!

Nada's qiaomu [tall tree] Yiwu xiaobing had arrived, complete with a pretty wrapper carrying the TeaSmith logo and Nada's stamp. Familiar with that tea, I headed into the 2003 Yiwu that TeaSmith have carried for some time. Wet-stored in Hong Kong, as far as I can tell, but very woody and smooth, the girls behind the bar were kind enough to infuse its leaves throughout the duration of my visit. They also allowed me some tasters of a 2009 Shanlinshi wulong that I understand comes from Tea Masters, which was delicious. It was vivid, packed with energy, and with an aroma that lasted forever - just what I look for in a qingxiang wulong.

White Flowers
Floral notes in the wulong reminded me of home

Happiest of all, there were customers in TeaSmith that seemed to know quite a lot about tea. Usually, as you'd expect given that proper Chinese tea is generally unknown, the clientele don't know too much and need plenty of tuition and explanation from the TeaSmith staff. This time, I listened with joy as an undergraduate with spiky black hair told his friend (a girl with bright pink hair) the finer points of brewing tea. Impressive!

I should be spending my free London time in the galleries, I suppose, but the chance of drinking tea with like-minded souls always seem to win me over, and I find myself heading out to Spitalfields. Thanks again to the staff for another memorable visit.


Anonymous said...

That was me! I'm the girl with the pink hair :D

Hobbes said...

Prove it! :)

Jack Mockford said...


I can confirm that the comment above is indeed written by my pink haired friend, for I am the spiky haired undergraduate (actually a post-graduate! :P )

If I recall correctly, you were drinking a pu erh that was not actually on the tea list (which you were very kind in letting me & my friend sample) while at the same time rather unsuccessfully trying to convince the staff to let you buy one of their pre-seasoned Yixings!

I on the other hand spent most of the time debating with the same lady about the correct steeping temperature of shincha! (Still not convinced she is right!)

Was nice to meet you, and will probably see you in there again sometime!

All the Best


Hobbes said...

Dear Jack,

What a small world it is. :)

See you in TeaSmith again, I trust!

Best wishes,