Like many of the places I end up loving in London, I managed to chance upon Yumchaa one afternoon while wandering in search of shelter from the rain on a wet Sunday in Soho. Looking for a warm coffee to perk me up, it turned out that tea was in fact the choice for me that day. Perched amongst the many fabric shops of Berwick Street, Yumchaa looked peaceful and quaint, and is nowadays one of my favourite hideaways and tea havens.
Do you find yourself saying no to tea bagging in favour of the richer, more rewarding flavours of loose tea leaves? Then you've met your match in Yumchaa.
The places themselves are lovely in the way that everyone would find irresistible; from your grandma to the ambitious young professional on their afternoon tea break. Settle down with your laptop, a good book or a group of friends and watch the world bustle around while you sip a staggeringly tasty tea.
Yumchaa blend and serve only the highest quality and soothing loose leaf teas that don't sit on the shelf for months and mix old world tea romance with new world flavours. You can try Earl Grey Blue Star, Lemon Sherbet, Gentle Giant or Blueberry Hill among others, and have the friendly tea-lovers behind the counter let you know what they're best for (health, pick-me-ups, making decisions, warming you up or even the perfect tea for dancing with parrots) and what exactly is in them. Notting Hill is their most popular black tea while Regents Park also makes for a delicious iced tea in the summer time.
The choices are endless so you may take some time smelling the teas in their dainty china jugs on the front counter before deciding which one to choose. And I guarantee you'll be back to try another again and again. It's the kind of place where you can't help becoming a regular.
Also on offer are a range of sandwiches and cakes. I would particularly suggest the yummy vegetable bagel or a cheeky chocolate brownie to keep you going.
You can purchase tea leaves in the shops and on their website, as well as a range of tea making equipment, so you can enjoy their range even from the comfort of your own home.
Tip of the moment; every Saturday and Sunday until February 2012, students can enjoy a pot of tea and a cake for only £3.00 at the Tottenham Street shop. Just print off a voucher here and bring along proof that you're a student. Studying has never been easier with this bargain, plus loads of comfy study areas and free wifi.