Tea of the Week – Tea Palace: Covent Garden

Source: Bought from Tea Palace (and in fact from their shop in Covent Garden). The tea is a Chinese Yunnan, which isn’t something I’ve come across before (or perhaps I have but it was just labeled ‘Chinese’).

Cost: From £12.50 for a 175g caddy, via £8.50 for a 100g caddy, down to £3.75 for a sample caddy, which is this size:

Small tin of tea, with blue cornflowers in it(cherry tomatoes for scale …)

For the 175g/100g sizes you can buy in a cardboard carton instead of a tin, which makes the prices £11.25/£7.50.

Ethics: Well, since last time I have contacted them and asked about their ethical policies … but no reply. So still – so far as I can tell – no information.

Brewing instructions: The sample tins don’t have any instructions on the back, so I guessed at brewing for 3 minutes with boiling water and it worked rather well. I suspect slightly longer would also work (checking their website, they suggest 4 minutes). As the Yunnan tea is quite light, I think you can have a reasonably long brewing time without ‘stewing’ the tea – presumably this is what makes it a good black tea to blend with herbal teas (as herbal teas generally need longer brewing times).

Appearance: A gorgeous caramel colour:Glass mug of tea against a white wall

Nose: When dry, the overpowering scent is of peppermint. When brewed, words that come to mind are: warm, light, darjeeling-y?, sweet, slightly earthy, caramelly.

(the darjeeling-y was before I had looked up what kind of tea it was – I guess they might be similar as they’re both lightish black teas).

Taste: This is a really interesting tea, as it feels like a cross between black tea and herbal tea – unsurprisingly, as that’s what it is. But you wouldn’t expect it to work … and somehow it does. I think the key is in picking a Chinese tea (can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that before looking it up) rather than an Indian one, and in using both peppermint and blue cornflowers. The peppermint mediates between the cornflowers and the black tea, and the cornflowers add a touch of sweetness which blends the peppermint and the black tea.

You really taste everything in here – it’s a light black tea, but with a clean, crisp aftertaste from the peppermint – and just a hint of sweetness (NB: please do NOT drink this with milk – it’ll just obliterate all of the flavours). It’s a very refreshing tea (and that’s something I wouldn’t normally say of black teas).

Food match: As this is a pretty unusual combination of flavours, I think it’d be hard to match with food … although if I was pushed, I’d suggest something lemony – perhaps thin lemon shortbread biscuits? Or very light lemon fairy cakes. I imagine that the citrus would mirror the tone that the peppermint provides, rather than fighting with it.

Tea Palace suggest this is a great after-dinner tea, and I would certainly agree with them. It’s light enough to drink even if you’re feeling extremely well fed, and also feels cleansing. Perfect.

Staring straight down the empty glass mugAll gone 🙂 I might make another cup …

(Now I’m off to go and make Jamie’s lentil and spinach soup – that’s what the cherry tomatoes were really for … leave me a comment if you’ve got anything to say! :))

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3 Responses to Tea of the Week – Tea Palace: Covent Garden

  1. Anna says:

    Hello – I spotted your lovely write up about Tea Palace Covent Garden Blend and am so pleased that you like it. I just wanted to clear up your doubts about us…! We are an ethically responsible brande and source all our teas using fairtrade principles ensuring that all tea gardens we source from have good working conditions, fair wages and support the local community in some way. Also, all of our packaging is recyclable or biodegradable. I noticed that you mentioned you did not hear back from us when you have contacted us in the past – it is very unusual for us not to respond to people so please accept our apologies for this.
    I hope this has put your mind at rest and you will continue to drink Tea Palace tea!
    Many thanks

    • Hi Anna – thanks for commenting! That’s fantastic to hear about the ethics behind Tea Palace. I’m certainly relieved to hear it – and it makes me much much more likely to buy from you again!

      May I recommend that you make this information easily accessible on your website? I tried quite hard to find anything I could about the producers of your tea (browsing many links as well as searching terms like “ethical” and “fairtrade” which return no results) and couldn’t find anything at all about it, which I found rather worrying – if you hadn’t commented here I would have assumed that at best ethics were not one of Tea Palace’s priorities, and at worst you had something to hide.

  2. Pingback: Tea of the Week – Tea Palace Smooth Caramel | Eudoxia Friday : Thoughtful Eclecticism

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