Designer china, tea sommeliers… cuppa couture is here
IN HIS NOVEL The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James wrote, ‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.’ If you’re of the same mind, you might already know that Afternoon Tea Week starts on Monday – as good a reason as any to recreate the ambience of a refined tearoom at home.
Few of us have access to a dedicated tea sommelier, but Fortnum & Mason has just redesigned its tea floor, and is offering daily tastings to help customers choose between the First Flush Darjeeling and the Da Hong Pao Oolong. There’s also a dazzling array of teaware, from everyday sets to fabulously ornate oneoff pieces and vintage strainers.
Combining traditional motifs with a modern twist is artist Ali Miller, who started out by customising vintage china, and now produces her own range, with hand-applied designs inspired by British flora and fauna (from £16, alimiller.co.uk).
Jo Deakin, who has a background in interior design, now creates modern maximalist designs with zigzag, scallop and sunburst motifs in a punchy palette of pinks, blues, yellows and greens, handmade in Stoke-on-trent (from £14, jodeakin.co.uk).
For the fashion set, Preen recently launched curated sets of vintage china on matchesfashion.com, including all you would need for a very chic afternoon tea: plates, teacups, cutlery, napkins and glass serving bottles. They immediately sold out (despite a £575 price tag), but more are on the cards.
The ultimate in tea storage, though, comes from Lotusier, which makes beautifully crafted tea humidors in which to keep your most precious leaves. Its latest design, exclusively for Harrods, is coated in red sycamore marquetry featuring a dragon motif, and comes fitted with individual crystal tea containers: yours for £15,000.
Clockwise from above Ripple, Ebb and Burst collections by Jo Deakin; Preen’s vintage china tea sets; Ali Miller’s flora-and-faunainspired tea service
Tiào Lóng tea humidor, Lotusier (harrods.com)