Devotea Couple Uproots Their Lives to Open a Tea Room

The Devotea at The Oaklands Inn

The Devotea at The Oaklands Inn

Many dream of opening their own tea room. Not everyone would move to another country to do so. Yet that is exactly what Robert Godden and Anne Drury-Godden decided to do. This week The Devotea at the Oaklands Inn in Braintree, Essex, England opened its doors.

infusiast-cover-185x300The Goddens had been living in Adelaide, Australia, doing work in several arenas including human resources and recruiting, writing and operating an online tea business, The Devotea. Their collection of unique tea blends gained a following in Australia and they soon expanded, opening a division in the United States that sold both long-time favorites as well as blends targeted toward an American audience. In 2013, they traveled to the States to attend World Tea Expo and to do readings of Robert’s latest book The Infusiast: Diatribes from The Devotea. The response was strong enough to make them ask some big questions.

“After the positive reaction to our exploits in the USA, we returned home and felt that we wanted more of the feeling of representing our teas in different markets,” says Robert. “When an offer came from the UK to open a tea shop in a part of a much underused and run down pub, we agreed within minutes.”

Things weren’t all smooth and there were times when it seemed that the move wouldn’t happen at all, but the couple persevered. In June they made their move, ending up in the same county in England in which Anne was born. The former Essex Cricketer, a pub that had fallen out of favor and into hard times, was transformed into a fresh new business that now operates with a pub and, under the direction of the Goddens, a 50-seat tea room.

The Goddens report that the response from the public has been excellent. Anne has made good use of her excellent design sense. “At this point, half the people come for good food and tea,” said Robert, “and the others just to have a look at the transformation.”

The Devotea at the Oaklands Inn offers eleven of The Devotea’s most popular blends as well as some Doke garden teas supplied by Lochan Teas and iced and fizzy teas. They have also added some of their own coffee blends, developed during their earlier days in the hospitality industry. The baked goods are earning rave reviews.

Do the Goddens have any second thoughts about their move? Apparently not. Robert said, “This won’t be our last branded tea shop in Britain and it won’t be the only country we have them in.”

Location: The Devotea at The Oaklands Inn, Notley Green, Great Notley, Essex, UK CM77 7US

Read the Goddens’ story at The Devotea’s blog.