It's my favorite tea from way back in my Arkansas days. Lady Londonderry is a classic English black tea with hints of strawberry and lemon - it's soothing and flavorful with a slightly flowery edge. Having gone years without running across it at the usual haunts like Ta Lin and Cost Plus, I set out to seek it out in Albuquerque. (Pictures Coming Soon - I'm having technical difficulties!)
I called Summerhouse Tea & Trading Company that had been located on Harvard near UNM. But the construction upheaval has taken a toll...they no longer seem to be in existence and the phone was disconnected. Anybody know what has become of them?
is set away in a little shopping center off of Jefferson. A British-style telephone booth nearby would fit right into an old Doctor Who episode. I figured that was a good sign. Sure enough, they have Lady Londonderry available in bulk. I picked up a small bag of 2 oz for $3.50. They mentioned that their source for the tea is a wholesaler called Metropolitan.
Onward to Old Town! In the shopping center just south of I-40, the St. James Tea Room
is tucked away towards the back. They have a small, but well-stocked china shop where you can also purchase a wide variety of loose leaf teas. Sure enough, there's Lady Londonderry. 2 oz is around $4.50. And their source is... Metropolitan.
I called Moons Coffee & Tea
. They have Lady Londonderry. From Metropolitan. Turns out Lady Londonderry isn't so hard to find in Albuquerque, so long as you like the Metropolitan version. So it's time to arrange a Lady Londonderry smackdown. I still have a stash of the Lady from the Summerhouse (nee Albuquerque Tea & Trading) house-made blend.
Granted, my Tea & Trading stash is getting on in years and is no longer up to its full potential. But it still outshone the Metropolitan version. Both my tasting partner and I found the Metropolitan version to be heavy-handed and lacking in the elegance that really makes Lady Londonderry shine. It had a potent fruity smell to the leaves as compared to the T&T's more subtle floral nose. Yet, nothing touches the original Jackson's of Piccadilly blend from my formative years.
I come away from this with an appreciation of Albuquerque's loose leaf tea options. At least now I know exactly where I can go to stock up on Scottish Breakfast. Anybody have tea recommendations or favorites to share - along with where in ABQ you can find them?