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The Rare Tea Company

The 18th century novelist Henry Fielding once said that love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. SEEN is a big drinker of this most British of beverages (also keen on love and scandal), so with the festive season fast upon us, was pleased to hear about the Rare Tea Company and their extensive range of speciality, fairtrade teas. They have an online store as well as being available in Selfridges, The British Museum and The Store in Hackney, so there’s no excuse if you’re stuck for present ideas.

Rare Tea Company is an independent company based in London. Henrietta Lovell (known as The Rare Tea Lady) founded the company in 2004 to source and supply the world’s best tea direct from farmers who use sustainable practices that benefit both the land and the people who live and work on their tea gardens.

Rare Tea Company is wholly committed to Direct Trade, working with farmers who hand-craft tea in small batches. Often the first choice of the world’s best chefs, restaurants and hotels, Rare Tea Company supplies Alain Ducasse, Hix, St John, Noma (Copenhagen), Mugaritz (San Sebastian), Momofuku (NY), Claridge’s, London Edition, Chiltern Firehouse, Tartine San Francisco and many more. A range of Rare Tea Company teas are also available at Waitrose.

Rare Tea Company has also founded Rare Charity, an independent charity funded by a direct percentage of all revenue from their tea sales. It was created to help build real, long-term, sustainable development on their partner farms, and in their wider communities, by supporting tertiary educational opportunities.

Their Rare Chai is a rare limited edition re-invention of the classic chai tea. It’s a small batch version using freshly ground traditional spices, blended with the finest black tea. Rich, aromatic and deliciously warming, this chai has elegant grace and exquisite flavour. With bespoke limited edition festive labelling, it sounds like the perfect winter drink.

The White Christmas Blend is a limited edition blend of the purest and most delicate white teas from Rare Tea Company’s farmers high in the Fujian Mountains of China, the foothills of the Himalayas in India, and a very rare White Peony from the Shire Highlands of Malawi. The tender, young leaves are naturally sweet and subtle with almost no bitter tannins, providing the perfect rescue remedy for festive season over-indulgence. With bespoke limited edition festive labelling.

Try Breakfast In Bed (for two); this set includes Rare Tea Company’s strong and rich Speedy Breakfast tea, accompanied with a 300ml beautifully hand-blown glass teapot for two, which has been designed with perfect balance to ensure you won’t spill a drop. It also contains a simple and elegant stainless steel strainer.

Rare Tea Company

A Personal Glass Teapot Set (for one) For the solo tea drinker, this set offers a hand-blown, yet robust, glass teapot designed to guarantee the ultimate infusion, perfect for home or the office. Accompanied by the ideal tea collection – Speedy Breakfast, Green Whole Leaf and Jasmine Silver Tip, as well as a simple and elegant stainless steel strainer. SEEN would like this one, please Father Christmas.

Rare Tea Company

The Sportea Set is definitely for the sports junkie, this set contains a Hario Iced Tea Brewer – the ultimate accessory for making a hydrating, healthy and cold infusion, post-workout. This handy and elegant bottle makes 750ml of iced tea, extracting all the flavour and goodness from the tea leaves through an in-built filter. The set also includes Earl Grey, Green Whole Leaf, Jasmine Silver Tip and No.1 Ladies Wild Red Bush, all of which create the most perfect iced teas.

Rare Tea Company

The Oolong Set includes a Gaiwan Set – traditional Chinese teaware, consisting of a lidded teapot used since the Ming dynasty, a jug, strainer and tasting cups. Ideal for making many infusions of the same tea, the pot is instrumental in revealing the hidden nuances of flavour locked inside. The set is accompanied with three different oolong teas, including: Sunset Oolong (Taitung, Taiwan), Oolong also known as the Iron Goddess of Mercy, and the top grade Very Rare Oolong (both from Anxi, China). The perfect set, in a handy travel case, for the tea explorer.

Rare Tea Company

A Matcha Made In Heaven is a collaboration between Rare Tea Company and Rosemary Wilkinson of the North Street Pottery in London, this gift set includes everything needed to create the most beautiful matcha at home.  Containing a beautiful, expertly designed and handmade bowl, it is the ideal size and shape to use with the accompanying 80-prong chasen (whisk) and chashaku (scoop). Both of which are handmade in Shizuoka, Japan, from a single piece of bamboo – to achieve a gloriously smooth and foamy matcha.  The premium, ceremonial-grade matcha is made from precious Gyokuro, which has been ground to a fine powder, resulting in a tea of great depth and intensity, yet smooth and mellow.

Rare Tea Company

The Luxury Tea Hamper (for four) is ideal for the tea lover who loves variety, this gift provides a wide range of infusion across eight outstanding teas including Single Estate English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Himalayan Hand Rolled, Dragon Well, Sunset Oolong, Jasmine Silver Tip, Malawi Spearmint and No.1 Ladies Wild Red Bush. The ultimate gift for the tea connoisseur, the set also contains an elegant and robust large fine bone china teapot with four cups (150ml) and saucers, made in collaboration with Freud and hand-cast in The Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent. The hamper (which is extra) also contains a simple and elegant stainless steel strainer.

Rare Tea Company

Prices start at £8.50, going up to £200 for the hamper, so there’s something for every taste and pocket. Let’s hope there’s enough love and scandal to sweeten the tea over Christmas.