Time For Tea: The East India Company | 喝茶時間:倫敦東印度公司精品茶店

Time For Tea: The East India Company | 喝茶時間:倫敦東印度公司精品茶店

The East India Company's tea selection comes in a variety of elegant tins. 東印度公司美輪美奐的茶葉包裝。© Eileen Hsieh

What is the best souvenir from London to give or receive? If you ask me, the answer is definitely t-e-a.

Everyone has his or her favorite tea shop in London. Iconic brands such as Harrods, Twinings and Fortnum & Mason are popular with tourists for their tantalizing offerings, gorgeous packaging and -- for the latter two stores -- the status-affirming royal warrants. (Harrods severed its royal connection in 2000. Find out why here.)

However, if you are looking for something a bit less mainstream, and a little more exclusive (and expensive), I would highly recommend a visit to The East India Company in Mayfair. 

倫敦最受歡迎的伴手禮是什麼?我的答案:茶。

每個人在倫敦都有自己最喜愛的茶店,而最受旅客青睞的店舖包括了擁有皇家認證的英國老牌 Fortnum & MasonTwinings,還有地標哈洛德百貨公司。迷人的茶包裝帶著濃濃的英倫風,讓人愛不釋手。哈洛德百貨其實也享有皇家認證,但因前老闆與愛丁堡公爵 (也就是英國親王)不和,決定2000年把店裡所有的皇室認證標誌全部移除。

回到正題,以上的品牌在倫敦處處可見,機場裡也都可以買到,算是主流產品。如果你正在尋找曝光率較低但又有獨特風味的高級茶葉,我建議你去一趟 The East india Company - 東印度公司

The sumptuous interiors of the East India Company store in London. 倫敦東印度公司店裡的裝潢有濃濃的東方色彩。© Eileen Hsieh

The East India Company's flagship store is located in the heart of London's shopping district, just moments from Bond Street and next door to the stylish Sketch restaurant and gallery.

Inside the sumptuously decorated shop you will find over 120 varieties of tea, coffee blends from around the world, chocolates, biscuits, jams and condiments, all beautifully presented and ready to gift. 

There is also an exquisite selection of colorful and delicate teapots and teacups, where one mug can set you back anywhere from £30 to £300.

東印度公司的旗艦店位於倫敦的西區中心,緊鄰 Bond Street 購物街與有名的 Sketch 藝術餐廳

店內的裝飾以番紅花色調為底,豪華典雅,襯托著令人眼花繚亂的產品:120多品種的茶葉,來自世界各地的咖啡,巧克力,餅乾,果醬和調味品,全都包裝成賞心悅目的藝術品,送人自用兩相宜。若有疑問,諳中英日文的店員會熱心地為你泡茶,再一一解說。

喝好茶當然想要用好茶杯,不過若想買東印度公司自產的茶壺與茶杯,最好存些錢再來,因為一只鮮艷精緻的骨瓷杯就要 30 - 300 英鎊不等。

These Benjarong mugs by the East India Company are gorgeous, fragile and expensive. 東印度公司高價位的Benjarong系列茶杯。© Eileen Hsieh

Upon first glance everything in the store seems expensive, but if you're only shopping for tea, the price point of The East India Company (EIC) products is really not that much higher than its competitors.

For example, the hugely popular Earl Grey tea bags are available from all four tea giants -- EIC, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Twinings -- for under £4.00 per box. I personally prefer the blends from the EIC and F&M, for they carry a stronger note of Bergamot, have a fuller body, and the aroma lingers in the air long after the tea is gone.

總體來說,東印度公司產品的價位不低,但如果你只想買些伴手禮,如茶葉,咖啡,巧克力或餅乾的話,與其他名牌相較之下,我個人認為這家店的食禮品不但美觀大方,還物超所值。

舉個例子吧,ㄧ盒20~25入的原味伯爵茶包,無論是東印度公司哈洛德Fortnum & Mason 還是 Twinings 品牌,標價都在四英鎊以下。

我偏愛東印度公司與 Fortnum & Mason 的版本,兩者都有濃郁的柑橘香,ㄧ沖泡就茶香滿庭。

Selling luxury foods and drinks under the banner of one of the most powerful corporate names in history is bound to have some pros and cons. It's certainly advantageous to have a 400-year-old brand that millions have already heard of, but not necessarily so when the brand is often associated with the ugliness of British colonialism.

So, when the historic name was acquired by an Indian entrepreneur and relaunched as a consumer brand focusing on luxury foods, the new enterprise was quick to highlight The East India Company's notable contributions.

打著「東印度公司」這個在世界歷史上赫赫有名的旗幟,今日的美食精品店其實與原公司沒有任何法律關係,但是許多人ㄧ聽到名字就會不自主的聯想到大英帝國殖民主義,或是鴉片戰爭。

因此,當這個有四百年歷史的招牌被ㄧ位印度企業家收購,轉型成為高檔食品公司後,「倫敦東印度公司」便開始積極地推廣原公司對世界文化所作出的貢獻。

The more "affordable" bone china mugs. 對荷包比較友善 (一點點) 的骨瓷杯。© Eileen Hsieh

Earl Grey is one of the best selling teas in London. 伯爵茶一直都是最暢銷的口味之一。© Eileen Hsieh

Individual tea bags. 倫敦東印度公司多樣的茶包。© Eileen Hsieh

Granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, The East India Company was founded to explore the mysteries of the East. As The Company grew, it mapped trade routes through unchartered territory and changed social customs, tastes and ways of thought to influence the very fabric of our lives today.
— The East India Company, London
於1600年由女王伊麗莎白一世授予皇家憲章,東印度公司的成立宗旨就是要探索東方的奧秘。隨著公司的成長,它的貿易路線遍歷了不計其數的全新領域,影響了許多社會習俗,改變人們的口味與思維方式。
— 倫敦東印度公司官網

Browsing through the store's eclectic selection of tasty treats from around the world, I'm happy that The East India Company has been given a new lease of life, which in turn gives a whole new generation the chance to experience delicacies inspired by our past. 

瀏覽著一列列來自世界各地的精緻點心,我很慶幸東印度公司被賦予了新生命,讓新生代也有機會體驗懷舊的美食。


Time for #tea. #beautiful #teapot @theeastindiacompany

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The East India Company | 倫敦東印度公司

7 Conduit Street, Mayfair

London W1S 2XF

MAP

OPENING HOURS:
Monday to Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm
Bank Holidays: 11am – 5pm

 

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