I (Val) met Marianna one day after having been in Orange Pekoe many times previously. We actually buy our stocking stuffers every year – my MIL looks forward to her Earl Grey annually from OP! On top of that, we simply appreciate a strong woman-led business. On top of that, right before Covid OP had done an amazing renovation and it is simply cozy to be in this place. A treasure to the neighborhood. Now, read on!
Name: Marianna Hadjigeorgiou
Originally from: SW London
Lives now: Barnes
Day Job: Owner of Orange Pekoe
Tell us about your passion for tea? I have always loved tea from a very early age, I grew up in a home full of visitors and relatives and mum was always brewing pots of tea and baking fresh delights. Tea to me symbolizes time for family, time for friends, time to rest and relax.
How did you start Orange Pekoe? I grew up in the hospitality industry and over the years became increasingly frustrated with the lack of good quality tea available even in fine restaurants and hotels when decent coffee was being poured. Tea bags were still being presented full of tea dust and producing an over brewed, bitter tea liquor.
Orange Pekoe was born from a frustration of not being able to get a decent brew in London. I wanted to create a space that was relaxed, welcoming and informal.
Where anyone felt welcome for afternoon tea be it in your shorts or your finest prettiest dress! I wanted to create a space where we could educate and explore tea and show people how to really enjoy the drink of our nation!
How has lockdown affected you? Lockdown naturally as a small business owner has been challenging. I am fortunate enough to have a fantastic and support team. We had just relaunched and refurbished our beautiful tearoom when Covid hit so it wasn’t great but its lovely to have a beautiful tearoom that people can enjoy again now!
What is your favourite tea? Tricky one. I have lots of favourites depending on my moods and the time of day. Strong Assam is essential first thing in the morning, in the afternoon I love a Ceylon tea and when I’m feeling like I need to calm down I love our organic herbal infusions. The Retreat blend is my new favourite and our sleep blend is perfect to unwind after a long day.
What kind of pairings do you think go well with your teas? Assam and Ceylon teas are perfect with a slice of cake or scone, Lapsang sounchong wonderful with smoked salmon, & Earl Grey wonderful with lemon cake
Tell us about your training with tea over the years? Over sixteen years ago I immersed myself with tea merchants which back then was a dying industry. They could not believe there was someone young and enthusiastic that wanted to breath life into the tea industry!! I went on to continue my tea training with leading tea author and tea historian Jane Pettigrew and hosted many tea-training sessions with her. I have travelled far and wide and learnt much over my tea journey.
What are your favourite blends you have created? We have not changed our English Breakfast blend for 15 years and people say it is better than anything they have tried in Harrods or Fortnum’s! Our Afternoon Blend was special created for the Queens Jubilee in 2012 and is also a delightful blend fit for a Queen!
Our Sleep blend is also incredible, I have always struggled with my sleep and this blend has brought many customers a lot of benefits!
How do you feel about trend of turmeric tea? I love this super spice it has amazing health benefits!
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti- microbial and anti –oxidant. We make our Turmeric Latte with almond milk to produce this delicious warm, comforting, sweet and slightly spicy drink!#
Is matcha tea? Matcha is made from finely ground whole green tea leaves, when you drink Matcha therefore you are drinking 100% of the nutrients and is packed full of antioxidants. We make many drinks with Matcha powder include a Matcha iced tea, Matcha latte and Matcha smoothie.
When you aren’t making tea, you are….. Enjoying time with my adorable 9 year old son and our gorgeous golden retriever.