I don’t often do tea reviews on here. Although I like to think I have sophisticated tea tastes (!), tea is tea and I’m quite happy with a breakfast tea most days. Although I buy Assam leaves most of the time, if you gave me something different the chances are I probably would just think your tea is a bit odd without realising why. Having said that, I did want to have a go at reviewing this tea as it’s quite an interesting one. I have been reading up on tea tasting in anticipation of this review, so that hopefully what I tell you has some meaning!
This tea is produced by the Tregothnan estate, and is special because it’s grown in the UK (it’s the only tea estate in the UK). I bought an Assam blend, and I haven’t been disappointed.
First things first. The tea takes longer to brew than a normal tea. I don’t know why this is (maybe because the leaves are grown in a colder climate?), but you need to be aware of this. Several times now I’ve taken the leaves out too early and had very weak tea!
The tea itself is a hard, full tea (I wasn’t joking when I said I’ve been learning about tea tasting!). These are official terms and are used to describe teas that have a full flavour with lots of body. Basically, it makes a decent strong cup of tea!
The tea is also very astringent, which means that it has that dry sensation on your tongue that good teas are known for. I had read somewhere that this is due to the level of tannin in the tea, with astringent teas having more tannin, but I can’t find a source for that now so don’t quote me! I do know for sure however that you shouldn’t squeeze tea leaves (or tea bags) because you release lots of extra tannin into your tea, which can make it bitter. Another fun fact about tannin is that teabags often go stale faster than tea leaves because there is a larger surface area exposed to the air, and that too can cause more tannin to be released in your tea. Yet another reason to switch to tea leaves!
In non-official tea tasting terms, this tea makes a great builder’s tea, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a proper cup of tea! You can buy it in both teabags and tea leaves (I’ve bought both, and they taste pretty much the same to me!). They are more expensive than supermarket teas, but then they’re grown in the UK (and also presumably not picked by slaves!). The estate do other teas as well, but I’ve not tried these. They’d probably make nice, novels gifts for friends (I don’t have any friends that like tea as much as me though).
Have you tried any new teas recently?
Note: I suppose I should note that I live in a hard water area, which does affect brews (it makes them better!).