These distinctive North London tea houses offer colourful interiors and carefully sourced seasonal teas for those looking to skip the bar and experience traditional, exotic and experimental teas
Words: Rachel Mantock
1 Milk and Pearl Tea
Your go to place for authentic, Taiwanese bubble tea, a craze that took London by storm a few years back. Made with tapioca pearls and glittered with fruit toppings, this shop puts a fun spark into tea drinking. Located inside Shoreditch’s cool Boxpark, the brightly coloured Milk & Pearl Tea draws you in with balloons and off the wall flavours. Think Black Dragon Pouchong, Honeydew and Taro. They call it a global pearl-nomenon.
Unit 58, Boxpark, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY; 020 3002 0234; milkteapearl.co.uk
2 Drink, Shop & Do
It’s all mismatched wooden chairs with chipped paint, bright colours everywhere and faux reindeer heads on the walls at this tea house. The kitschy aspects take you back a few decades, paired with playful makeshift clouds that float inside the shop above the tables. Creatively named teas dominate the menu like Alice in Wonderland, Honeybush, James and the Giant, Wilderness and The Orangery, giving the whole ordeal a fairytale edge.
9 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX; 020 7278 4335; drinkshopdo.com
3 Chinalife Tea Bar
Earthy and clay coloured teapots perch on the deep coloured, Chinese embroidered tablecloths of this tranquil tea bar with a healthy quirk where large prints of Chinese women clad in feathers dominate the walls. Their pure, sugar free blends cost less than £3, with one for anti-ageing, one for calming and one for energising. It’s a therapy session, and a tea shop all in one!
99 Camden High Street NW1 7JN; 020 7388 6704; chinalifeweb.com
As loose leaf tea extraordinaires, Yumchaa tea house runs its own tea school, teaching mere mortals the basics of brewing, flavours, cultivation and processing along with debating the best ways to experience tea. They stock a wide range of tisanes, green, black and white teas, as well as pretty porcelain accessories to complement the whole affair.
King’s Cross, Granary Square, 4 Stable Street N1C; 020 7209 9641; yumchaa.com
This artisan tea house is home to loose leaf flavours from all over the world. Their most popular teas have fabulously exotic names such as Ginger Chilli, Moroccan Mint and Rooibos Rhubarb Fudge, along with the more classic Earl Grey Vanilla, all served inside their contemporary shop with exposed brickwork and bright red seating. They even deliver taster packs to your door for lazy days spent snuggled in bed.
280 Upper Street N1 2TZ; 020 7354 8365; piacha.co.uk