Seeing as I’m such a sensitive and gentle soul, if I drink too much caffeine I go a bit nuts. So when I’m out and about in London, I rely on tea rooms and coffee shops to serve me a good cup of caffeine-free rooibos tea (also known as red bush).
Unlike decaffeinated tea, rooibos is naturally caffeine-free. I also have it on good authority that you can’t over-brew it, so there’s no chance of that horrible bitter taste of leaves that have been left in the pot too long. Whatsmore, it’s naturally sweet (so requires less artery-clogging sugar if you have a sweet tooth like me) and it’s versatile: it comes in lots of different flavours so you’re sure to find your own perfect blend wherever you are.
Unfortunately, though, a cup of rooibos tea in London sometimes seems as rare as a yeti on the Tube. So I scoured the coffee shops and tea houses of London to find a few great places to get your redbush fix…
1. Piacha, Islington
This little tea room in Upper Street, Islington, was created by owner Pia out of her own search for a decent takeaway cup of tea. They serve three flavours of rooibos; my favourites is the Rhubarb Fudge flavour. They also do tea smoothies! Take a look at their full menu here.
Opening times: Monday – Friday 9am-9pm; Saturday – Sunday 10am-9pm
Nearest Tube: Highbury & Islington / Angel
2. Yumchaa, Soho
With their range of flavours of rooibos teas, divine caramel shortbread, late opening hours, free wifi, and a branch smack-bang in the middle of Soho, it’s a wonder I’m not in Yumchaa every day. Add to that their lovely downstairs seating area that has a hint of someone’s front room about it, and it’s enough to make me disappointed that I don’t work in Oxford Circus. Such is life.
Opening times: Monday – Friday 8am-8pm; Saturday 10:30am-8pm; Sunday 11am-8pm
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road (Soho branch)
3. Urban Tea Rooms, Soho
Thanks to its delicious lunches, this tea room in Kingly Street can get a bit busy upstairs, but head down to their basement for a good cuppa, decent wifi, and a massive slice of cake. I’m told their salads are pretty good, too.
Opening hours: Monday 7.30am-5.30pm; Tuesday 7.30 am-10.30pm; Wednesday and Thursday 7.30am-11.30pm; Friday: 7.30am-12pm; Saturday: 10am-12pm; Sunday: 12pm-7pm
Nearest Tube: Soho
More information: Urban Tea Rooms website
4. Coffee Geek and Friends, Victoria
Free (and fast) wifi, great food (I recommend the halloumi and pesto wrap) and one of the most interesting “as standard” rooibos teas on our list: their Spicy Rooibos comes with brazilian red pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and a hint of orange.
Plus they do great coffee, if you want to live dangerously and treat yourself to some caffeine.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7am-5pm; Saturday: 9am-5pm; Sunday 9am-3pm
Nearest Tube: Victoria
More information: coffeegeekandfriends.co.uk
5. Amanzi Tea, Marylebone
Oh my goodness, this place is a dream… four different types of rooibos teas, big slices of healthy snacks, free wifi, and a great location just off the main streets of Marylebone. The teas are all loose-leaf and brewed to perfection before they’re served, and I love the atmosphere of this cool, relaxed, and stylish tea house; the upstairs is clean and sleek, whereas the downstairs area is homeley and productive.
Opening times: Monday–Friday 7.30am-7pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-6pm
Nearest Tube: Bond Street
More information: amanzitea.com
6. Bloomsbury Coffee House
Regular readers will know I adore Bloomsbury Coffee House. Their rooibos tea is called Winter Spice and it’s lovely with their honey granola, plus they have free wifi and they’re just round the corner from what is possibly the quietest bookshop in central London and a free museum about ancient Egyptians.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 8am-6pm; Saturday – Sunday and Bank Holidays 8am-1.30pm
Nearest Tube: Russell Square
More information: bloomsburycoffeehouse.co.uk
7. Good & Proper Tea, Old Street
I first found Good & Proper Tea at Brockley Market, and it was only a couple of days later that I travelled all the way to their tea bar in Old Street to experience their lovely tea and delicious salty crumpets. It’s all brewed properly, too, and the service is top-notch. One to watch…
Opening times: Monday – Friday 8am-6pm; Saturday 10am-4pm
Nearest Tube: Old Street
More information: goodandpropertea.com
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