If you love your tea and fancy trying different brews, then a visit to Gravesend High Street’s Maries Tea Room and its next-door Emporium is a must.
Launched by owner Graham Broadbent in the Borough Market in 2014, the company became so successful that new premises were needed. The High Street site now with nine employees, has enabled the firm to offer a number of additions such as a varied menu of hot meals and popular classes of chocolate, wreath and bath bomb making, cake decorating and tea talks. More are planned for later this year.
Mr Broadbent said: “I love baking and gained this enthusiasm from my nan Marie. hence the name. We are a family orientated tearoom with friends that have joined us along the way
“Our tea is not adulterated in any way, at no point in the manufacturing process is anything added. The tea that you drink is quite simply just dried ingredients and therefore totally natural.
“We blend our own teas and serve them within our tea room. We sell them in Marie’s Emporium as well as online, on our own site, eBay, Etsy and Amazon. We have also been given Produced in Kent status.”
The ethical sourcing of tea is taken very seriously at Marie’s. As most tea estates are not only located in rural parts of the world, but also very labour intensive, a tea estate is run more like a small settlement. As with any village or small town, the infrastructure must be such that the population is supported, meaning schools, housing, transport, hospitals, crèches, electricity, running water and social activities must all be provided.
The team, Greg, Lee, Lou, Terrie, Tom and Dianne at Maries have been touched by the residency of Benny the Beluga, so a special tea was created using Assam as its base and blue corn flowers to give it an ocean look as well as liquorice to give it a slight salty taste.
Social media plays a big part in the firm’s promotion and you can buy their teas online. Staff training is also ongoing including visits from a Master Tea Blender. Maries can also be seen at community events and it supports various local charities. See more at www.mariesemporium.co.uk