Coffee…ugh!! Much as I have tried to appreciate its distinctive flavour over the years I just can’t. I am a tea drinker through and through, from leaf to bag…my preference is fresh leaf, in particular Fortnum and Masons ‘Fountain’ Blend:
‘Northern India’s contrasting styles of tea – dark, malty Assam and the lighter Darjeeling – are not usually combined, but in the spirit of the innovative traditions of Fortnum’s Fountain restaurant, they have been united here to great effect. Light, yet stimulating, this is ideal after lunch as a post-prandial refresher’.
Taste and Strength
Light and bright, an unusual combination
When to Drink
Best in the afternoon
Assam and Darjeeling, India
Use boiling water and brew for 3-5 minutes depending on taste. Serve with milk or brew lighter and drink without milk.
Airtight container, preferably a tea caddy
and for later the cold dark winter nights I would certainly recommned ‘Spice Imperial’ by Whittard of Chelsea.
Whittard of Chelsea, 184 Kings Road, London, England
Black – a blend of oriental teas with spice and orange
However Tea was first referenced in a London newspaper, The ‘Mercurius Politicus’ in an advert from September 1658.
The ‘China Drink’ as it was described was called ‘Tcha’ by the Chinese which soon became Tea but it was the marriage of Charles II to Portuguese princess and lover of tea Catherine of Braganza. She made the drink a very fashionable beverage first at court, and then among the wealthy classes as a whole. It was then that the East India Company began to import tea into Britain, its first order for 100lbs of China from Java being placed in 1664.
Tea is traditionally classified based on the techniques with which it is produced and processed.
White tea:Wilted and unoxidized
Yellow tea: Unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
Green tea: Unwilted and unoxidized
Oolong: Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
Black tea: Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
Post-fermented tea: Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compos
Since the 18th century Great Britain has been the largest per capita tea consumers in the world, with each person consuming on average 2.5 kg per year.
As tea spread though all classes in the 19th century, people started to lay out tea gardens and hold tea dances such was the Victorian fondness for the superior blend.
Afternoon Tea for the Victorians was held to be an upper class past time, even today if you have £55 spare you can experience a wonderful afternoon tea at Harrods but there are quite a few other venues in and around the capital that are a little cheaper if that is a little too rich for your taste.
Today drink 165 million cups a day and each year import around 144 thousand tons of tea. Tea in Britain is traditionally brewed in a warmed china teapot, I have a Brown Betty which was considered excellent in the Victorian era due to the design of the pot which allowed the tea leaves more freedom to swirl around as the water was poured into the pot, releasing more flavour. My grans advice was to heat the pot first and then add one spoonful of tea per person and one for the pot. Milk is usually added to the cups first to avoid any cracking of the porcelain.
And we finish with advice from the UK Tea Council on how to make the perfect cup of tea:
Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea
This must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature
Always use freshly drawn boiling water
In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once.
Measure the tea carefully
Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served
Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring
Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best
Tea From Type Brew Milk
|Jasmine||China||Green flavoured with jasmine flowers||2-3 minutes||without|
|Oolong||China or Taiwan||Oolong||5-7 minutes||without|
|Lapsang Souchong||China or Taiwan||Black||4-5 minutes||without|
|Sencha||Japan||Green||2-2 1/2 minutes||without|
|Genmaicha||Japan||Green flavoured with popped rice and corn||3-4 minutes||without|
|Assam||India||Black||3-4 minutes||with or without|
|Ceylon Uva||Sri Lanka||Black||3 minutes||with or without|
|Ceylon Dimbula||Sri Lanka||Black||3-4 minutes||with or without|