There’s nothing quite as quintessential as a nice cup of tea in the UK, but there’s a huge world beyond Breakfast teas and Early Greys - don’t get me wrong, we love these teas!
Adam and Isabelle Rosevear of Rosevear Tea in Edinburgh, Scotland, are on a journey to open the vast world of tea to the community. Their 3 shops in Edinburgh host hundreds of teas and tisanes (herbal teas) from around the world - all individually selected and quality tested by Adam and Isabelle!
From exploring teas and tea cultures around the world to now sharing it in their home in Scotland, we’re excited at Toastee to share the tea story of Adam and Isabelle.
Rosevear Tea is one of my favorite tea shops in Edinburgh! How did you start it?
Isabelle: We are a family business where we share our passion for tea with everyone who comes into our shops or interacts with us online. Our tagline is “Discover your new favorite.” We want people to rediscover fantastic loose leaf tea and enjoy it as part of their heritage. We say, "Join us, it’s a wonderful journey of discovery. It is about sharing, and it is about taste."
Adam: We want people to enjoy their tea. Making a cup or a pot of tea is a little routine that can add so much to everyone’s day. Especially now, with more of us spending more time at home, we have a little bit more time for daily rituals. I think it’s good for people to recenter - to think about what they are doing, think about their tea, and think about the taste. I often say to customers, "The more time you spend with your tea ritual the more rewarding it is." You can spend a lot of time thinking, “Each sip is a bit different” and use that moment to conjure up memories. “Now what does that remind me of?” It’s a new journey to take, every day.
With the British, we often start our tea journey with tea bags, but when we try loose leaf tea, we notice the difference in taste and quality. Customers may need to buy an infuser or tea strainer in order to use leaf tea, but it is really worthwhile. When you move to loose-leaf tea, you take a significant step on your tea journey, and you just can’t go back!
Isabelle: We are also trying to get people to savor the taste, the memories and the rituals - all that in just one visit and hopefully have people coming back to visit again soon!
We want to share our passion for tea with our community, and we saw that there was an opportunity to open our business in Edinburgh, so we thought, "Yes, we would really love to do that!"
We had been in Scotland for a few years before we decided to start Rosevear Tea, and we wanted to offer more than just the standard cup of tea. The British are often considered to be connoisseurs in tea because of the amount they consume, but we saw that we could offer a wider choice of teas to our community through our neighborhood stores.
People were seeing coffee in a different way, and it was time for them to rediscover tea as a gourmet experience!
How do you see tea intertwined with culture?
Isabelle: It’s very much intertwined with British history - how it was brought back from exotic lands, and how in the early days it was sponsored by members of the Royal family.
When it was first introduced, tea was worth the salary of an average employee for a year! It was kept under lock and key in the big country houses. One aristocratic lady wrote in her diary, “I suspect that some of the domestic servants have stolen some tea.” The domestic staff served it to the British aristocrats and acquired the taste for it as well!
Tea later became a British household staple present in every kitchen pantry. When we talk about tea with our customers, a lot of them will say, “Oh, my grandmother used to have loose leaf tea. I remember she had a little teapot and a strainer."
If you’re going to meet a friend outside, it’s “Shall we meet for coffee?” If you’re in their house, the same person will say to you, “Would you like a cup of tea?” It’s very culturally reassuring, it’s part of the furniture, it’s homely, it's cozy.
How does each of you like to prepare your tea? What’s your favorite cuppa?
Isabelle: I like it when Adam makes tea for me! My favorite tea is from Nepal. It is a first harvest Guranse from Nepal. It is a wonderfully aromatic tea somewhat like a Darjeeling.
Adam: My favorite tea is a Balasun second harvest Darjeeling. I drank Balasun with our good friend Cedric from the Anteaques tea room, and my memories of this tea are tied up with the opening of our Clerk Street shop.
Part of our job is giving people confidence in their own ability to taste and decide how they like their tea. We give them information on how much tea we use (one teaspoon for a cup of tea), the temperature of the water for each type of tea, and how long we let the leaves infuse. However, the perfect cup of tea is different for different people.
You know how you like your own tea. You may like your tea stronger or weaker than I do, and your way will be right for you. Each person’s taste buds decide what a perfect cup of tea is.
What's the story you try to tell through the teas you serve to your customers?
Isabelle: I invite people to create their own stories about tea. Them making it, drinking it, and making a story for each step of the brewing routine.
During the pandemic, an older gentleman living in the North of Scotland sent us a postcard showing us where he enjoys our tea and the view he has when he drinks it. We love stories like this!
Adam: I also get so many people coming into the shop saying, "I had this wonderful tea at my friend's house, and I want to buy it for myself." One day, three people who had met and drank our ‘Orange Pistachio Rooibos’ at a friend’s house all came into the shop independently of each other to buy it. Tea is sharing.
Embark on your tea journey with Rosevear Teas. If you’re in Edinburgh, you can stop by their shops, meet Adam and Isabelle, and browse their extensive tea collection in Bruntsfield, Broughton St, and Clerk Street. You can also browse and shop online at roseveartea.co.uk. Keep up to date with them by following them @roseveartea on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.