Posted in Kafevend Blog
In 1985 the UK Tea Council founded The Tea Guild in response to an independent survey which concluded that standards amongst establishments brewing and serving tea often fell short of the high expectations that could reasonably be expected in a nation synonymous with tea drinking. The Tea Guild was therefore created to give recognition to those who were already achieving high standards and to serve as a prompt to others to try and aspire to something greater. Those outlets seeking membership must meet a whole range of criteria and standards and pass initial and subsequent inspections, thereby demonstrating their commitment and excellence.
The Guild presents a range of much coveted awards each spring. These are decided based on the scores given by the Guild's inspectors, who visit each Tea Guild member anonymously rather like “secret shoppers” in order to get a true picture of service and quality. Each Guild member, however large and prestigious or small and cosy, is judged on the same sixteen categories and has an equal chance of securing first place. 'The Top Tea Place Award' goes to the highest scoring venue outside London, which this year was Davenports Tea Room in Cheshire. Tea venues within London compete for the 'Top London Afternoon Tea Award', which went to The Goring Hotel of Belgravia this time round. There is also the 'Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award', which was presented this spring to The Montagu Arms Hotel of Beaulieu, Hampshire. In addition to these three top awards, awards of excellence are also given out to those establishments securing almost full marks. These have been described as the 'Michelin Stars' of the tea world, so next time you decide to treat yourself to afternoon tea it might be worth investigating if there's a tea venue near you that has reached these dizzy heights.