The Story of Duke Street Blend Tea

As a breakfast tea, Duke Street makes for a strong, brisk cup, ideal for first thing in the morning. Similarly, it can be perfect for those who crave a cup of tea in order to complete the evening, a complimentary close to even the richest of meals.

At tea time, the full and refreshing flavour goes so well with scones, jam, cream, sandwiches and pastries. The tea is not overwhelmed by those other rich flavours. A delicious accompaniment for sunny Summer afternoons in the garden, or on a picnic.

Duke Street Blend is a tea you can enjoy with or without milk, or with a slice of lemon. Taken without milk you can enjoy its deep colour in the cup. With or without milk its vibrant flavour fills the mouth. We recommend brewing it for 3 minutes at one hundred degrees centigrade.

Duke Street Blend

Duke Street is a blend of black teas from Ceylon from Sri Lanka and Assam from India. Both of these teas are classified as B.O.P or Broken Orange Pekoe teas.

The term Broken refers to part of the manufacturing process when the leaves are put through a series of sieves, for the purpose of grading. If the leaves were ungraded, no two cups of tea would taste the same. The small pieces separated from the larger leaf grades are called the broken grades. There is an even smaller grade called fannings. This grade is commonly used to make tea bags. Broken grades brew much more quickly than Leaf grades and give a stronger liquor.

In the world of tea, the term Orange is thought to date back to the time of The House of Orange. The Dutch played an important part in story of tea, and were known for quality teas. Pekoe is a corruption of the Chinese word Pak-ho meaning the tiny hairs on the underside of the leaf. Both terms denote quality, a tea of distinction.

The Story of Duke Street Blend

We named Duke Street Blend because of events that happened thirty-five years ago. As the year 1985 drew to a close, we realised that H. R. Higgins (Coffee-man) Ltd., could not stay in South Molton Street. South Molton Street had been home since the beginnings of our business in 1942. It was a very good street for foot-fall. Coming out of Bond Street underground station it was a natural progression to walk down South Molton Street to get to Brook Street, Bond Street, and parts of Regent Street. We had seen the street blossom and come alive. At the end of the second world, some of the shops were still empty and boarded up, I suppose because of circumstances and shortages, we were all a bit shabby at that time. But as we moved into the late 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s, South Molton Street became a street of high fashion. This reinvention was sadly the beginning of our problems, with the demand for premises soaring and with it, the property rents. As a result, we could not afford to stay there.

The challenge for us was to relocate so that customers who worked, lived, and regularly made that area of the West End their regular shopping haunt, would continue to find us. We wanted to transfer the essence of what people had come to know us for, including the décor and atmosphere, to the new premises.

In May 1986, we discovered 79 Duke Street. The property was just a few minutes away from South Molton Street. We set about converting the premises from a hairdressing establishment to H. R. Higgins (Coffee-man) Ltd.. This proved to be a tremendous challenge. The ground floor and basement had to be gutted and re-created in the H. R. Higgins style. Somehow, four months later, on the 14th October 1986, we opened for business at our new location 79 Duke Street, W1K 5AS.

Duke Street Blend was created to mark a new beginning for H. R. Higgins. Now, our creative director, fashion and textile designer Ann-Louise Roswald, has produced another of her wonderful limited edition hand painted tea caddies especially for Duke Street Blend.

These bespoke caddies are inspired by the larger tea tins in our Mayfair shop, which were also hand painted by Ann Louise herself.

We are so often complimented on the design of these tins and so, we wanted to offer our customers the chance to enjoy a slice of Duke Street at home with these individual caddies.

The demand for her hand decorated caddies is always very high, so my advice is don’t delay. Click here to shop our Limited Edition Hand Painted Duke Street Tea Caddies.


Our philosophy on choosing our coffee range

My grandfather had a vision. Back in the 1930s when he was working as a manager at the Kenya Coffee Company coffee was not seen as a speciality at all. He wanted to start his own business and in his diary he wrote:


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There's something undeniably captivating about the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

In this blog post, we'll explore why fresh coffee reigns supreme over its counterparts and why the roasting date takes precedence over the best-before date on all of our H.R.Higgins coffee bags.

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