A few weeks back, some cousins of mine (from New Zealand) were visiting. And so, of course, we went to London – because that’s what you do when you’re a tourist and you’re visiting England, right?
We headed to Covent Garden, because my cousins like to shop. And while we were there I spotted that what had been a ‘B never too busy to be beautiful’ last time I was there was now a rather gorgeous-looking tea shop …
I was restrained. I only bought 5 teas.
They’ll probably all be featured here eventually, and today I bring you the first one: Eve’s Blend. It’s a Chinese green tea, with jasmine blossoms and rose petals, and it is really rather gorgeous.
Source: Based on Chinese green tea. I bought my pack at the Covent Garden Tea Palace; you can also order from them online.
Cost: £4 for a sample tin, £7.95 for a 125g carton, £11.25 for a 200g carton (see below for photo indicating sizes). You can buy tins instead of cartons for around £1 extra (also gift bags for around £1 extra). Only available loose leaf.
Ethics: This is the bit that worries me. Although I looked for information about the ethics of production in-store – and then later online – I haven’t found anything. Tea Palace clearly take great pride in producing very good tea, and I hope that this is consistent with how they treat their suppliers, but I can’t find any information about it anywhere. I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt this once in buying from them, but will probably not buy again until I can find out more.
Brewing instructions: Green tea needs to be brewed with not-quite-boiling water – something like 75-80 degrees C. I do this by listening to the kettle and turning it off at the point where it’s rumbling vigorously but not boiling yet. Not quite an exact science, but it seems to work.
I generally like my green tea lightly brewed, but this tea in particular needs it to be that way – I accidentally overbrewed some a couple of days ago, and although it was still a very good green tea, the rose flavour was completely lost, which defeats the object really. I recommend using one teaspoon per cup and brewing this tea for one minute. I know that’s on the short side, but that’s how I like it.
The instructions on the box say 3 minutes, but I find that a longer brewing loses the rose taste.
You can see that there are a lot of whole leaves which have uncurled, which shows that this is a good green tea.
Or so I’ve been told at tea tastings.
Appearance: A beautiful golden colour.
Nose: Lots of jasmine. Little bit of green, little bit of rose, but I think the jasmine is strongest.
Taste: When perfectly brewed, a lovely, light, fresh-tasting green tea with a hint of jasmine, followed by a gorgeous define aftertaste of roses. When not-quite-perfectly brewed (because I’m not getting it right every time yet), a lovely, light, fresh-tasting green tea with a vague and forlorn hint of roses.
(Mind you, I like roses a lot more than I like strong green tea. Others may prefer the vague hint of rose)
Food match: I really think this is a tea best enjoyed on its own – but perhaps, if you’ve had chinese food at lunch, this would be a good end to the meal. Alternatively, this would be a lovely tea for first thing in the morning – gentle and floral.
a good tea to drink in the garden
Would I recommend?: With the caveat that their lack of information about ethics makes me wary … yes – although I should mention that by buying this particular tea, a small amount of money goes to the Eve Appeal (ovarian cancer research).
Sample tea tin, and 125 caddy for size. Mug of tea for scale …
A really nice green tea, and the roses go beautifully with it.
Have any green teas to recommend? Been to the Tea Palace, and liked / hated it? Want me to come over and make you tea? Leave a comment 🙂