Are those tea leaves on Harrods’ family tree?

A Harrods Cup of Tea

Whenever I’m at Harrods, the first place I head to is the Food Hall, mainly because it’s one of the few places in the store where I can afford something. But the real reason is because I love the tea section. It’s not a particularly large space, but it’s crammed with boxes and tins of more than 300 pre-packed teas, and 165 single-estate, single original teas.

The last time I was there, they were featuring this 22-carat gold tea. As if.

22-carat gold tea from Harrods

You probably know all there is to know about Harrods, the world’s most famous department store:

That it had the very first escalator in history.

That it sits on 4.5 acres and is visited by 100,000 shoppers every day.

That A.A. Milne found the original Winnie-the-Pooh for his son Christopher Robin in the Toy Department.

That it employs 5,000 staff from over 50 different countries, together with 7  ‘Green Men’ who stand by certain doors to offer heavily-laden shoppers a helping hand.

But there’s one fact that I bet you didn’t know.

A brief history of Harrods

In 1834, Charles Henry Harrod, a London tea merchant (and grocer), rented a small shop on Brompton Road, Knightsbridge. The area was quickly becoming quite fashionable, and in just a few years, the discerning Charles – a man of good taste – put his store, Harrods, on the proverbial map.

It eventually passed from father to son, and Charles Digby Harrod continued to build the business by purchasing adjacent stores and introducing a delivery service that is still in operation today. The family sold the business in 1889, but Harrods continued to grow in profits and in size. Its motto is Omina Omnibus Ubique: All things for all people. It truly is legendary.

Harrods Tea Court

“Our customers want the best teas…” ~ Yousef Serroukh, Tea Buyer, Harrods


And all due to one man, a tea merchant, whose legacy lives on through the sales of luxury tea to discerning drinkers from across the globe.

 

The next time you are in London and visit Harrods, don’t be so much amazed by its size, atmosphere, or wealth as with the fact that it all started with a cup of tea.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Harrod’s is definitely on my bucket list and I will be heading to the tea department too.

  2. You’re right! The food department is the best place for mere mortals to shop. I always enjoy a look around their mini shop at Heathrow… their products make versatile gifts.

  3. Love the gold tea! I was at Waitrose and the have limited edition gold Marmite – obviously designed to have on toast with this! Fascinating history – echoes your observation that so much in this country has a tea connection.

    • Hi Kitty! I so wanted to try the gold tea (it was on the menu up in The Tea Room) but at £14/pot, had to give it a miss. 🙁 Love your pairing of gold tea and gold Marmite! x

  4. That’s why I love your blog!
    Love to know what lies’ beneath the surface’!

  5. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    So interesting! When we visited in 2010, I was in awe of the food area! I was not a tea drinker then so didn’t check that out. It will be a good thing for the NEXT visit! One day….in the meantime, I am getting wonderful trip inspiration from you, dear!

  6. Hey,
    We’ve just started selling our teas in Harrods, we’ve got a tea tasting demonstration on there tomorrow (22/01/13) if you are around, be sure to pop in!

  7. Wow – cool! Thanks for this history!

  8. Mary Jane says:

    Hello Denise,
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! It brought back delicious memories of our visit to this icon.
    I spent almost 2 hours just wandering around in the food court and was fascinated by all of the offerings.
    Love my Harrods Tea Cups carrier bags and use them for my shopping here across the pond.
    Have a happy day,
    Mary Jane

  9. Denise, I so enjoyed this post! Though it has been many years since I visited Harrods, I still have very clear memories of the Food Hall. A tea drinker since the age of four, I was amazed at the tea selection as well as the endless variety of foods. I still have the green bag from my purchase. Silly, I know!

  10. I got the amazing experience of visiting Harrods in Sept on my first trip to London, and brought back several boxes of Harrods tea with me. It truly is delicious–probably the best boxed tea I’ve purchased. I wish postage rates to the States weren’t so expensive…I might have to splurge once in awhile to bring a bit of England to Milwaukee 😉

    • I know what you mean about postage, Margaret! I just sent some Xmas parcels home. Yikes! Hope you had a good visit to London. What did you see and where did you go (besides Harrods)?

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