Teatime treats

Designer china, tea som­me­liers… cuppa couture is here

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Content - Jes­sica Doyle

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)

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