We would like to thank Ashini Shah from The East India Company for, very kindly, answering a few questions for our blog!
Granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, The East India Company was originally founded to explore the mysteries of the East. In the process, it mapped trade routes, discovered exotic goods, and established trading ports which would grow into the cities of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. It introduced tea to Britain and India, chintz to America, spices to the West Indies, and porcelain to Russia.
M&T. The East India Company was created in 1600. How do you balance your blend between Tradition and Innovation?
I think it this blend is precisely what makes our brand so authentic and creates a sense of differentiation. Every product we create has a reason, a story to support its being. From our George Staunton Earl Grey, which uses the original Chinese recipe discovered by George Staunton (a botanist from The East India Company) – that contains both Bergamot and Neroli oils to our Mrs. Clements English Mustard – which follows the technique that Mrs Clements developed in making the first ever smooth mustard (that was supplied to King George I), we really aim to innovate within our heritage.
M&T. Why should people buy your Teas?
I think people should try our teas because before any tea is selected, it must pass through our tea master’s various rounds of approval and even blind taste tests! From Sri Lanka, our tea master Lalith has spent many years mastering the art of tea, from plucking leaves to managing the estate, and now is our official taster, blender, and in-house expert on all things tea. As a side note – When I came to work here, I was a complete and total coffee drinker, absolutely ignorant to the world of teas. But I was fortunate to be seated in the office next to Lalith. And with many tea samples that Lalith receives, we do a tasting, and talk through the various flavours and complexities. It is such an interesting experience to taste something so thoroughly and explore it in such an intricate manner.
The store has been designed as an East India Company officer’s Georgian townhouse, filled with various treasures brought back from his travels and adventures to the exotic East. We want people to feel transported to a place that merges cultures and eras and offers a taste of intrigue and surprise.
M&T. Can you describe how Tea makes you feel in one word?
M&T. Do you have a Favourite Tea?
Hard to choose, but Green Tea with Jasmine is one of my favourites.
Our upcoming August evening tea tasting events are on the 17th and 24th. They start at 7pm and consist of a guided tasting and sampling.
Also, we’re planning to launch morning tea explorations in August – every Tuesday at 10am.
All events will take place at our flagship store – 7-8 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XF and RSVPs should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Tea Break!