Twinings Tea and Coffee Merchants (London, England)

Twinings Tea Shop
Photo by Jim Bahn

For more than 300 years the Twining has been located right between Westminster with the City of London, an area that 300 years ago was populated with a veritable who’s who of London’s aristocracy. As the oldest tea shop in London, Twinings has played an important role in the history of western tea culture and had plenty of time to establish themselves as a permanent fixture of English pride.

Tea was not always the drink of choice in England, and it was in fact coffee that held the top spot for generations before tea was officially introduced to the island by Catherine of Braganza in 1662. The young Portuguese wife of Charles II was such an influence on high society that tea soon became the fashionable drink of choice.

The Twining family was originally from Gloucestershire where they were from a long line of weavers and fulling millers. Despite their ties to the countryside, the family was driven to London by recession in 1648 when Thomas Twining, the future founder of the now famous tea empire was nine years old.

By 1701, at the age of 26, Thomas had left the weaving business and started working for a wealthy merchant handling tea imports to London. Thomas’ fascination with the quickly growing tea industry in London was strong enough that by 1706 he purchased Tom’s Coffee House on London’s Strand and changed the focus entirely to tea.

Twinings Tea Facts

  • The Twinings logo, created in 1787 is the world’s oldest company logo in continuous use.
  • The first London coffee house was opened in 1652.
  • Monday through Friday, Twinings offers a “Tea Masterclass” from 10:00 to noon that teaches tasting techniques, differences between varieties, and history of both Twinings and tea in general.
  • Since Thomas Twining bought Tom’s Coffee House on London’s Strand in 1706 the Twining have been producing tea in their 300 year old flagship store.
  • In 1707, Twinings Gunpowder Green Tea sold for a price that is equivalent to £160 for 100 grams.
  • Prime minister Earl Grey often visited the tea house and it was on the premises that the tea in his honor was first mixed and brewed.
  • Twinings has supplied every British Monarch since Queen Victoria granted them their first Royal Warrant for tea in 1837.

Visiting Twinings Tea Shop

Store Hours
Monday through Friday 9:30 – 19:00
Saturday 10:30 – 17:30
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00

R. Twinings and Co Limited & The Twinings Museum
216 Strand
London WC2R 1AP