An afternoon tea appreciation class in London, how fitting!
I awoke early to head to my tea appreciation class with Pei from Teanamu. I had breakfast, checked my email, showered and rushed to the underground tube station. I arrived at Notting Hill Gate Station half an hour early and then successfully got lost for an hour! I hate being late for anything, I am usually VERY punctual, so at 10:50am, almost 30 minutes late for class and still lost, I almost decided to give up and turn back. Determined to make one last attempt I received misleading directions from a London cab driver but managed to arrive incredibly embarrassed and 30 minutes late at Pei’s charming residence.
Pei allowed me in and seamlessly continued his class, including me as if I had been there since the start. I quickly took in my surroundings and fellow tea companions. Soothing music played in the background, soft natural light enhanced the intimate feel of the quaint tearoom and the welcoming smiles in response to my apologetic one, made me feel quite happy I decided to see my trek to class all the way through. I quickly retrieved my notebook and camera and proceeded to document as much information as possible. Pei lead us on a journey through different regions of China, painting pictures with his decorative language and playful stories. My palate discovered new flavor profiles and my mind was teased into understanding different layers of the essence of tea.
Among the many highlights of the afternoon, apart from the incredibly interesting and unique teas Pei introduced us to, I very much appreciated the effort he put into the little pastries served on tiny little dishes: rose and white tea cakes, green tea butter cookies and my personal favorite: oolong tea and adzuki bean macaroons. Time flew by, the class came to a partial close and then smoothly transitioned into a meeting among friends, sharing stories and laughter. We discussed cultures and worldly experiences; the angle of sunlight shifted and the warmth of the air diminished a few degrees…
Pei proved to be not only a delightful host and inspiring teacher, but hopefully by the afternoon he felt as delighted with our new found friendship as I did. The tea appreciation class was incredibly interesting, not a dull moment the entire afternoon and surely an experience to repeat. I invite anyone with the mildest fondness or knowledge of tea, to delight in an afternoon with Pei and his teas. I guarantee it will be an expxerience you will not forget.