Felicity Fowler might know more about tea than anyone else we've ever met. Inspired by Asia's incredible tea cultures, she helps the JING team source some of the most exceptional teas from around the world, with the intention of bringing you more than just your average "cuppa". JING treasures craftsmanship and genuine skill just as much as we do, by seeking out the most experienced tea masters in Asia, whose knowledge of the gardens has been passed down through generations.
Now fully-fledged JING lovers, we can't go back to drinking just an ordinary brew in our studio! We've got JING on speed-dial in case of emergency (in other words diminishing supplies).
What’s your idea of the perfect pairing?
Ali Shan Oolong Tea, with a still warm from the oven scone. The natural buttery and fruit flavours and creamy texture that the high mountain Taiwanese terroir and the tea masters who make Ali Shan tea can create are a delight and treat in themselves. When paired with a rich, buttery scone - it is an unexpected match made in heaven, nothing is lessened in either tea or the scone - they enhance each other.
Who is on your restaurant speed dial?
Kricket - Indian is my favourite cuisine and I love the modern but authentic approach that the team at Kricket take. I like it so much that one birthday I indulged in lunch and dinner with them.
What’s your house wine?
It’s got to be Champagne. it’s not original but it’s a great indulgence, and all the more restorative when it’s enjoyed at home on the sofa, and always from a beautiful glass. I don’t believe in having glasses or crockery hidden away for special occasions only - I love having a few beautiful pieces and enjoying them as much as possible.
What is the one ingredient you couldn’t possibly live without?
We are constantly running out of both coriander seeds and cumin seeds at home, when ground fresh and roasted they elicit such fragrant and warming notes brightening everything from a simple hummus snack, to our favourite curries. On a recent holiday in Jordan though I discovered what real pomegranate molasses can taste like. I’m now totally hooked on that tang.
Where would we find you outside of London?
Very likely somewhere walking and enjoying our British countryside. I’m planning to walk the complete Thames path bit by bit over the weekends in 2020, starting on New Year’s Day. I’m grateful too that I live very close to Richmond Park - so even when I’m in London there is plenty of restorative walking spots to be found.
What is your favourite Richard Brendon collection?
I love the JR x RB wine glasses, the simplicity of the approach to create something that is functionally perfect and enhancing the drinking experience and the understated elegance of the design - they are such a joy to drink from.
Stemmed or Stemless?
Depends on the drink, but instinct is stemless - relaxed and reminiscent for me of happy holidays in Europe.
You’ve just woken up: tea or coffee?
Since the frost arrived and we’ve had such cold mornings, it’s Phoenix Honey Orchid, an oolong tea from South China. Amber coloured, it’s warming and sweet but the subtle sour notes and mineral complexities wake me up gently.
Have you ever been behind a potter’s wheel?
Yes! I spent two inspiring years at evening classes at The Kiln Rooms. I’m definitely a thrower and not a hand builder. I love the calm focus that working with clay requires.
Where do you start your Gifting shopping?
Normally I would say the top floor of Liberty, although this year a lot of my friends and family will be getting invitations to our brand new JING tea store for immersive tea flight tasting experiences. I feel very privileged to have spent the past almost ten years exploring the world of tea and so I’m naturally excited to share the teas, tastes and stories with more people. The world of tea is vast and hugely rich, there are over 10,000 teas in China alone and the tea flights will help them to discover their perfect tea.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
I was recently gifted a surprise monthly book subscription from Daunt Books - it included a consultation with the team at Daunt to go through my reading habits. They are clearly excellent at their roles as the first delivery was the book at the top of Christmas list!
What’s your go-to dinner party dish?
Anything that can be prepared in advance, so that we can join in the party as much as possible, and always in time for the welcome champagne! Our most well thumbed and splattered cookbook is Rick Stein’s India.
How do you switch off?
It’s a constant battle, which I think is true for so many of us in London. Keeping to strict rules around phone usage at home though works well - nothing after 9.30pm and no phones upstairs!
Richard loves sourcing antique saucers - what do you collect?
Photo albums - I still use a small pocket camera on trips, and always print the photos, and add an album to the collection.
How would you describe your personal style?
Colourful - we are in the process of redecorating our home at the moment and painting the ceilings downstairs peppermint green have proved one of the most controversial but successful decisions so far!
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We speak to Richard about how he started his business, his passion for regenerating master craftsmanship all over the world and where you'll find him if it's not in our London studio.
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