Tea of the Week: Williamson Tea – Traditional Afternoon

I first came across Williamson teas a couple of years ago, when I was given one of their wonderful elephant-shaped caddies as a Christmas present. Elephants are certainly a theme, as you can see from the box here:

Box of teabags and mug

Since it’s called “Traditional Afternoon”, I was expecting a strong, full-bodied tea that could stand up to milk, sugar, and biscuits without losing its flavour. And indeed, this is just what it delivered.

Source: The tea is Kenyan (grown on Williamson’s own estates). I picked up this box in Waitrose; you can also buy online.

Cost: Around £2.50 for 50 bags (125 grams). Not available loose leaf so far as I know.

Ethics: Almost all Williamson teas (including this one) are Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified (although this isn’t displayed particularly prominently on the box, it is there – and on their website). In addition, they also directly provide extra benefits to the workers on their farms in Kenya.

Brewing instructions: Use boiling water, as it’s black tea. The box says 2 minutes or longer if you prefer. I found 2 minutes to be just right for drinking it as a medium-strong tea with milk. If you want tea without milk I suggest 1 minute, as I found it slightly acidic/bitter after 2. Although if you want a slap in the face to wake you up, it would probably work quite well.

Appearance: Not much to say here … I suppose it looks like what most people would call ‘normal’ tea. Good dark brown, nothing particularly remarkable, which I guess is what you expect from a blended black tea.

Nose: Reassuringly full-bodied. Lots of tannins.

Taste: The important bit! Good, strong, traditional ‘everyday’ sort of tea … conjured up feelings of security and comfort. Nothing amazingly special (unlike single-origin Kenyan tea can be) but very pleasant. Just what I’d want in an “everyday” tea – definitely add milk, and it could stand up to sugar, too, if you wanted some.

Food match: Traditional Afternoon tea deserves a traditional afternoon cake. I had mine with some rather excellent Victoria sponge – and on another occasion, with cherry madeira cake. Chocolate digestives (or other sweet biscuits) would also be excellent.

A full mug of tea and untouched slice of cake

Going …

A half-empty mug of tea and half-eaten slice of cake

Going …

An empty plate and mug


Would I recommend?: On balance, yes. Not the most exciting tea in the world, but a really good, reliable, ‘safe’ tea. By ‘safe’, I mean ‘your colleagues / family / friends won’t be shocked if you offer them tea, and then produce this’. Good tea, good price, good ethics, it’s all good.

What would you drink this with? Have experience with Williamson’s other teas? (I’ve tried their Earl Grey, and it’s very good …) – leave a comment and let me know :).

Also – especially as this is the first in the series – any requests for future tea reviews? I have a huge number of teas (well, maybe not huge, but probably about 15 – wait, is that huge?) lined up, including black / green / white / herbal (hmmm, I’m clearly missing Sencha and Oolong … though I have some Pu Erh) – if you’re interested in a particular type of tea let me know and I’ll bump it to the front of the queue.

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8 Responses to Tea of the Week: Williamson Tea – Traditional Afternoon

  1. Alison says:

    It sounds fantastic! Looking forward to forthcoming reviews. I’m off to put the kettle on right away, and see what interesting teas are lurking in my cupboard – alas, no biscuits though 😦

  2. Oh no, no biscuits! Ah well, I’m sure that’s a situation that can soon be rectified … speaking of tea and biscuits, have you come across http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com ? It’s about sitting down with tea and biscuits (or possibly cake) – but really is all about the biscuits. Mind you, you might want to wait until you can check out the website with a biscuit in hand, so as not to feel terribly downcast at being biscuitless …

  3. Owen says:

    I think I managed a collection of around 62 teas at one point. Alas, it’s no more (not enough space and I don’t feed other people tea as much as I used to).

  4. 62! That is pretty amazing. How many other people were you feeding tea to?

  5. Lara Magor says:

    Dear Eudoxiafriday
    I am writing from Williamson Tea to say that we are so pleased that you enjoy our tea and hope that you continue to to try our different flavours. As a family owned and run company we take a lot of pride in the fact that we are the only tea company in the UK that grows and sells their own tea – and that we are Fair trade and Rainforest Alliance. If you would like any more information about Williamson Tea please do not hesitate to contact us.
    Kind regards,
    Lara Magor, Williamson Tea

  6. Pingback: Tea of the week – Williamson Earl Grey | Eudoxia Friday : Thoughtful Eclecticism

  7. Pingback: Tea Tea Tea … a retrospective | Eudoxia Friday : Thoughtful Eclecticism

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