Sayonara, East Teas

Categories: News and previews

Borough Market says a fond farewell to Alex Fraser’s East Teas stall

The time has come to raise a glass of hand-whisked matcha and say a fond farewell to one of Borough Market’s longest serving and best loved traders, Alex Fraser.

Alex, who has been running his East Teas stall at Borough Market day-in, day-out for over 15 years, has chosen to take a step back on health grounds. While this won’t be the end of his long and fruitful relationship with the Market—he will be dropping by in a rather less gruelling capacity, including guest appearances on the Fitz Fine Foods stall—Alex will no longer be bringing his extraordinary selection of Far Eastern teas to Borough on a regular basis.

Over the years, Alex’s contribution to Borough Market has been enormous. The Market is justifiably famous for the expertise and arcane knowledge of some of its traders, but few have gained quite the same mastery of their specialism as that displayed by this genuine tea obsessive, who spent three years studying Japanese tea culture at the Urasenke Foundation in Kyoto, overseen by a 15th generation grand tea master. What Alex doesn’t know about tea probably wouldn’t be worth knowing in the first place.

Fascinating seminar
When time allows, a chat with Alex about a particular tea can very easily morph into a fascinating seminar, wandering through the history, tradition, sociology and philosophy of an entire region. His teas, imported from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and China, have always been of the very highest quality—but it was that sense that they all fitted into a far bigger picture that made buying and drinking them such a rich experience.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of shopping at East Teas will doubtless feel its absence—although the teas themselves will still be available from the company’s website.

Read our interview with Alex, covering his 15 years of trading at Borough Market.