On a wet and windy afternoon not so long ago, my husband and I found ourselves a cosy and soothing place to stop and spend some time. The steamed windows of VRAC were inviting and the delicate scent of tea and freshly baked cannelés, a French speciality from the Bordeaux region, were enough to make us want to take up a seat and never leave.
Formerly a tea shop in the 1950s and a funeral parlour in-between, the owner Pauline has turned this inspiring little corner on a Lewes street back into the kind of place you’ll want to visit over and over again. If I was a Lewes resident I would definitely be a regular customer!
The focus at VRAC is on sourcing top quality, ethically-grown, rare and natural flavours. In the shop you’ll find more than 30 loose teas from small estates around the world, as well as a small selection of tea related apparatus including chic silver tea caddies, Japanese tea pots and the occasional vintage tea cup.
Pauline’s passion for tea came from her mum and the weekend visits they took together to a little tea shop in the town where she grew up. At VRAC, she now passes on that passion by serving up the most wonderful tea experience, as well as hosting magical evening tea tastings and regular introductions to the Chinese tea ceremony.
Her philosophy – “Make time for tea, it is healthy…and preparing it will be your little breather in the day” – is one I can definitely get on board with, and I hope you too will go and take time for tea at this fantastic little place.
Images by Jeska Hearne