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Oliver Cunningham

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The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
“My Dad grew barley for Guinness, and he was very particular about it”, says Oliver Cunningham, recalling his youth as a child on a farm in County Meath, life on the farm with a single cow to give the family their milk and butter.
Particularity is Mr Cunningham's gig. His precision with tea, his expertise and aesthetic in Dublin's iconic Wall & Keogh, is profound. “I'm always searching for that perfect brew”, he admits, and the tea odyssey came to fruition when he got the chance to works as a volunteer on a tea plantation in Vietnam, during the back-packing days.
But the signs of the search were already there when he got his first taste of commercial milk, after the cow had been sold. “The milk was like white water”, he recalls, with a visible shudder, the blandness of the white water taste still in his mouth all these years later.
Wall & Keogh brings tea back to its glory, the key element of Mr Cunningham's one-man crusade against the blandness of the tea bag. It would be fair to describe the W&K experience as Ireland's tea ceremony. The room, the design, the books, the jars, the music, the food and, of course, the tea, all conspire to create Oliver Cunningham's Tea Ceremony. “It's exciting to be in business at this time”, he says, and as W&K teas spread slowly through the spouts of the nation, Mr Cunningham is at the cutting-edge of tea as ambassador, as proselytiser, as brewer. He's particular about it.

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