The SG Brand Turns 10
What does TWG Tea do? Show the English how we do tea with its first salons and boutiques in Knightsbridge and Leicester Square.
Taha Bouqdib, 48, French, and Maranda Barnes, 42, American, the husband-andwife duo behind TWG Tea, first met – appropriately enough – in a teashop in Paris. And the brand they started together has grown into a luxury tea company with 70 locations worldwide. Their latest milestone: two standalone spaces in London.
The flagship (pictured above), in the 1920s-era Communications House in Leicester Square, has been transformed into a part retail boutique, part patisserie, part 120-seat tea salon.
Barnes describes the aesthetic as a combination of “modern refinement and timeless appeal” with Asian touches in the one-of-a-kind handpainted silk wallpaper and antique Chinese screens with chinoiserie motifs that embellish the stairway balustrade.
It’s also the home of TWG Tea’s first tea museum, which features rare vintage artefacts and antique teaware. Among them are more than 50 Imperial Russian samovars, hundreds of enamel teapots, tea caddies, silver tea accoutrements, and porcelain teaware and accessories.
The second location is in a threestorey, 18th-century terraced house in Knightsbridge. Nestled on the ground floor and first floor are an intimate tea salon and tea bar bathed in natural lighting from a skylight.
Both places showcase the company’s vast selection of more than 800 teas – heavily influenced by Asia and packaged in vibrant colours inspired by Singapore.
“Our longstanding and exclusive relationships with tea planters allow us to introduce some of the most rare and exquisite teas, such as Sencha Nouveau from Japan and First Flush Darjeeling harvests from India,” says Barnes.
Now, let’s see if TWG Tea can tempt the Queen away from her Twinings English Breakfast Tea in the morning.
TWG Tea’s single-estate, fine-harvest teas and exclusive blends also come from more unexpected places like Argentina, New Zealand, Hawaii and Malawi. And instead of paper teabags, its loose teas are in hand-sewn, 100 per cent cotton filters which do not absorb the flavour of the tea, so you get the full fragrance in every cuppa.