Isn’ttea just proper good! That’s what we think so who better to ask all about tea than the founder of Good and Proper Tea herself. We brewed up a conversation and got right inside the mind of a tea junkie. Meet this weeks LDNER, Emilie Holmes…
Where do you live in London and what do you love about that area?
I live in Brockley, so South East. Having taken our van to the award-winning market there for a few years, I eventually decided I loved it so much that I would move there. And now our Head Office is there too! There’s something very special about it – it has a strong sense of community, green spaces, hills with incredible views over the whole of London & when you get off the train at Brockley station at the end of the day there is a real feeling of coming home. We’ve got great food & drink spots too but it’s a feeling more than anything else.
Where does your passion for tea come from?
Originally I was simply a frustrated tea-drinker – I didn’t necessarily know much about it, I just didn’t drink coffee & couldn’t understand why the tea when out and about was always so miserable. I therefore set out to understand what made a ‘good’ cup of tea and discovered the world of tea in all its forms – it was much more exciting than I anticipated & just like with wine, you never stop learning. I also lived in India when I was young so had visited tea estates – that may have played a role.
Good and Proper Tea exists partly thanks to Kickstarter and Crowdcube, how has the journey been?
Like any start-up’s journey it has been a rollercoaster of a ride! But I was very lucky to have had success with both Kickstarter & Crowdcube. The platforms are very different but both came at the right moment & provided a welcome infrastructure to take what could have otherwise been very scary steps into the unknown. As a sole founder it is a lovely thing to know that there is a crowd of people behind you who believe in what you are doing.
How does living in London inspire your work?
Having spent much of my life living abroad & every break from university on foreign soil, I have now fallen unexpectedly head over heels for London. I never anticipated ending up here, but it is surely one of the most exciting cities in the world. One of the things I love most about what I do is that I meet people everyday who do weird & wonderful things and London somehow breeds that creativity.
Tell us something about tea flavours, how do you pick them?
All of our teas are single origin, so we are always looking for something that will stand up on its own, without the need for blending or flavouring. That means you, controversially, won’t find an Earl Grey (flavoured with Bergamot Oil) or an English Breakfast (a blend of Ceylon, Assam & others) in our line-up yet. Instead we try to find the best of each type that is delicious in its own right – so the richest, maltiest Assam, the brightest, most aromatic Ceylon etc. The idea is to strip it all back & simplify in order to re-engage us Brits with tea. We have 26 teas currently made of blacks, oolongs, greens, whites & herbs – all numbered according to the order in which I found them. When we get a sample of something we love, and that we think our customer will love, then we will add it to the list. It should be exciting, without being overwhelming.
What would your perfect day in London be?
Cycling to Stoke Newington for a big breakfast at The Good Egg & maybe a wander through Broadway Market? Or if I’m feeling lazy I’ll keep it local – my husband Tom & I might wander to Brockley Market to pick up fruit & veg for the week, have lunch with friends & then dinner at either Peckham Bazaar or fellow Brockley Market trader Mike’s new restaurant Queen’s in Camberwell. So many ways to make a perfect day in London!