Imperial Tea

March 28, 2011

I was in our neighbouring county of Lincolnshire on Friday. Standing outside the glorious cathedral I had 20 minutes before my train and a ten minute walk to the station.  Going inside seemed pointless so I made a lightning raid on my second favourite place in Lincoln – a shop like no other, Imperial Teas on Steep Hill.  The building is getting on for 900 years old I believe and it houses a jaw-dropping range of the world’s finest and rarest teas from many areas and representing many tea-drinking cultures. Large drums line the room with evocative names that can leave you in reverie – First Flush Darjeeling Phoobering Supreme, Lovers’ Leap Broken Orange Pekoe, or Japanese Sencha tea flavoured with wild cherry and rose petals.  You can also find legendary Jun Shan Golden Needles, grown on a mist covered lake isle high up in the mountains of Hunan. Less than 100lbs is picked each year and on just one morning. It comes in at what might be called a reassuringly expensive £217 for 100g.

Marangi Garden Assam

I settled for a more humble Managi Garden Assam, a refined but straightforward tea delivering  the golden colour and malty overtones you look for in an Assam.  There’s a tea shop where you can drink below the shop but if you do find yourself in Lincoln I do recommend you also go in to the retail shop and just indulge in the exotic loveliness of it all.

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