For most of the 17th and 18th centuries, tea was a luxury few could afford – a pound of tea cost half of the daily wage of a London tradesman. Before tea became affordable in the mid-19th century, London was a city of coffee addicts. The coffeehouse opened by Thomas Twining in 1706, one of three clustered in Devereux Court, was one of the earliest tea retailers (another being Garraway's coffeehouse in Exchange Alley). More than 300 years later, it's still trading from exactly the same spot long after tea eclipsed the "bitter Mohammedan gruel" as the English's preferred non-alcoholic drink. Walk to the back of the Twinings Shop on the Strand and you’ll discover a tiny museum dedicated to the history of the manufacturing company. The exhibit boasts vintage tea packaging, information of the Twinings family as well as records of purchasers (some of them are Royal). After your visit to the exhibit, don’t leave without picking up a spot of tea from this iconic British shop.
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