The real Mr Tea: Expert Mark explains history of the cuppa at Valentines Mansion

Tea expert Mark Nicholls holding a tea masterclass in the Valentines Mansion

Tea expert Mark Nicholls holding a tea masterclass in the Valentines Mansion - Credit: Archant

Most Brits could not do without their regular cuppa to start the day, but how many know the history of the nation’s favourite drink?

Valentines Mansion, in Emerson Road, Ilford, has put on a whole host of events for its Tea Extravaganza last week.

Tea expert Mark Nicholls has travelled across the world, experiencing teas from different cultures.

At his talk on Sunday, he told visitors the history of the brew and gave them different types, from green to Darjeeling, to try.

One of the previous owners of Valentines Mansion, Sir Charles Raymond, worked for the East India Trading Company, whose ships transported tea from China to the UK.

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At the event, residents sampled the special Valentines blend of tea, which is infused with flowers from the gardens.

The Valentines Afternoon Tea is a blend of specially selected Assam tea with delicate cornflowers, and Chinese green tea, similar to the tea that would have been brought back by Sir Raymond.

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Also at the mansion is an exhibition called the Art of Tea, with pictures by still life photographer Stuart Duff.

The collection of 13 photographs shows off an exclusive collection of privately owned antique teaware, showing how different countries enjoy their tea around the world.

Stuart said: “It’s an absolutely amazing collection. It’s owned by a multi billionaire and some of the items are worth a huge amount.”

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