I don’t remember what this tea is called.
I’m pretty sure I bought it from the Cambridge Coffee Shop (King Street, Cambridge), because I went and bought a bunch of loose-leaf teas there last year. And I think the name was something about winter – it’s a mediumish (as in, not really light nor really strong) black tea with lots of added things like bits of orange peel in it. I keep it in this tin:
Source: The black tea – not a clue. Lightish, but that could be india or china or probably elsewhere too … probably a blend of things? Who knows. As above, I think I bought this from the Cambridge Coffee shop (58 King Street, Cambridge).
They’re a fairly nice little shop, although I’m not really that convinced about their teas … I bought some white tea from them and I thought it was terrible, and threw it out (it tasted like sticks) but then Billy bought some from them and said it was fine, so maybe I got the very end of a dodgy batch or something. They sell coffee and tea and then LOTS of accessories and gifty things like mugs / cafetieres / teapots / colourful milk jugs – would definitely recommend for that side of things.
Cost: I don’t remember. Relatively cheap, though. Probably something like £2-3 for 100g?
Ethics: Unknown. Might count as supporting local businesses? I assume that the Cambridge Coffee Shop is a small independent business … not sure though.
Brewing instructions: 2 teaspoons of tea for a mug, I think … this stuff really is light, and otherwise it turns out pretty insipid. Brew for ~2-3 mins with boiling water, then add milk.
(In dry form, this tea smells gorgeous and spicy and amazing. When I tried brewing it for the first time … it was really quite underwhelming. Putting 2 good teaspoons in and then counteracting any potential slight overbrewing by drinking with milk is my solution – this way it actually tastes of something.)
Appearance: Mmmm, tea.
Nose: Lovely spices – cloves, with a hint of orange. It’s just a little bit Christmassy. Note that although this is spiced tea, it’s pretty different from Chai.Chai will typically have a selection of the following (plus potentially other things): Allspice / Cardamom / Cinnamon / Cloves / Ginger / Mace / Nutmeg / Pepper / Star Anise. I think I’d expect Chai to have cardamom, cinnamon and cloves in it – which is pretty different from this. From examining it, I think this consists of black tea with cloves, dried orange peel, blue cornflowers and some kind of yellow flowers (which I don’t recognise) added.
Taste: This is tea with a slight undercurrent of spice – just a hint of cloves and orange. It’s not punchy, it’s not strong, it’s just … there. It tastes ever so slightly sweet, as well, which I’m guessing is the flowers.
As I mentioned above, when I first tried this tea I thought it was a real disappointment … I’ve made my peace with it now. It’s not that exciting, but it’s perfectly okay and drinkable. I do wonder whether the shop has a low turnover of tea and therefore this might really be quite old – I think that would explain the faded flavours.
Food match: Other wintery things with a slight hint of spice … I had mine this afternoon with apple crumble 🙂 (made with apples from somebody’s – although not our – garden). It’d also be good as a midafternoon cuppa with a mince pie (as they’ve been available in shops for a few weeks now …).
Overall, I wouldn’t buy it again (although I might well buy something similar from somewhere I was confident had good turnover of tea), but I won’t have a problem drinking what I’ve already got.