The 200sqft tea bar, financed through a campaign on Crowdcube in May, is the first of two sites founder Emilie Holmes is looking to open in the next year as part of plans to provide tea drinkers with the same quality and variety that coffee drinkers have become exposed to.
She said: “We raised enough through the first round to raise enough for, what we’re calling one and a half sites. This one at Shoreditch will be the half site and we’re currently looking for the other bigger site in Soho where it will have more sit-in and be a slightly more comprehensive experience.”
Pop-up to permanent
Holmes, who started out selling tea and sourdough crumpets from a Citroen H van at pop-up locations around the capital and festivals at the end of 2012, said a permanent site had been the plan all along, but she needed to test the concept first.
“Although I’d always wanted to open a site, I thought it was right to get to know the customer and product better and understand whether the interest was there first,” she said.
“We’ve learned a huge amount and I feel like I now know my customer well. There are few tea brands who are on the coal face with the customers and understand every nuance of the British tea drinker.”
Tea and crumpets
Good & Proper Shoreditch will include a six metre oak bench for customers to sit at after choosing from 25 varieties of loose-leaf tea, including black, green, white, oolong and herbal teas.
Sourdough crumpets, produced for Holmes at a bakery in Brockley, south east London, will also be served with a number of homemade toppings, from jams, Nutella and lime curd to Marmite and cheese and smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Holmes said: "There are so many great cafes in London, all serving delicious variations on the same things. We didn't want to serve yet another sandwich or yoghurt pot but instead wanted to match our tea with food that was both different and also tea 'ownable’”.
Holmes is already thinking about gaining further investment for more Good & Proper Tea sites which she believes could work in other major UK cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.
She said this year had seen a number of tea concepts come to the fore, providing a credible alternative to coffee shops.
“We’re not trying to open hundreds of sites, but we definitely want to open more," she said.
"I think the moment for tea is here. When I started there was everything to play for because there was no-one else in the same space. Now there are other brands around like Amanzi and T2 it is easier because a market has been created. I’m pro us waving the same flag.”