<– New tea! 🙂 in a pretty box … went shopping this week and happened to be in a big supermarket for once (in terms of physical size of store, rather than size of organization) so checked out their teas … and found this.
Source: Sainsbury’s! Well, the tea is from Darjeeling (which you should’ve guessed from the name), in northern India.
Cost: I think it’s normally £1.25 for 50 teabags or 125g loose leaf; as it’s on offer at the moment I paid £0.83 for 50 teabags. Fantastic value for a Fairtrade tea, I must say.
Ethics: Fairtrade. Kudos to Sainsbury’s – over the last few years very many of their products have been slowly but surely moving over to being fairly traded (e.g. all the bananas they sell; their hot chocolate including their value super-cheap hot chocolate, their tea and coffee). Definitely definitely Sainsbury’s > Tesco here.
Brewing instructions: Look at the box, see if you see what I see:
That looked dodgy when I spotted it (far too long), and I thought “well … maybe it’ll work … you should try it” so earlier today I made a mug of tea with 4 minutes’ brewing time (I used a kitchen timer and everything) and it was definitely overbrewed. With the addition of milk it was still drinkable, but definitely overbrewed. So don’t listen to the box!
Brew with boiling water, of course (the box got that bit right). I’d say if you’re adding milk, a maximum of 2 minutes; if you’re not going to add milk then less time.
Appearance: Whilst brewing and before adding milk, it goes this beautiful colour that reminds me of liquid honey …
… and then you add milk and it goes a rather odd and unappealing colour:
Nose / Taste: I think this is a slightly ‘cleaner / brighter’ tasting tea than a normal ‘everyday tea’ blend, but to be honest I’m not sure if I’m just tasting that because that’s what I expect to taste.
It is on the light side of black tea without being weak, and has a bit of a fragrance to it which is rather nice … although look at the claims on the box:
… ‘unique muscatel flavour’? Um, no. Definitely not. (I had to look up what ‘muscatel’ means and it means ‘like the muscat grape’) – fragrant / slightly floral character, absolutely (although I must say that if you brew it for 3 mins + you will COMPLETELY miss that!) but this is not a fine Darjeeling and they really shouldn’t be trying to imply that it is. It’s an everyday tea (I’m also not sure about this ‘delicious indulgence’ stuff) that’s really quite nice.
Not an amazing Darjeeling, I must say, but at £1.25 for 50 teabags it isn’t bad. Perfectly drinkable.
Food match: As an everyday drinkable tea … this will go with lots of things. As it’s slightly lighter, I feel it’s more appropriate late in the evening than other teas (hence drinking it at about 9pm tonight – although if I’m awake at 2am no doubt I’ll regret that …). For some reason I feel like recommending drinking this whilst eating fish and chips. I’m not quite sure why. I’m sure it would be nice, though.
So in summary: good, drinkable everyday tea, at a great price. Don’t follow the brewing instructions on the box or you’ll miss the whole point of buying Darjeeling, because you won’t be able to taste the fragrant / slightly floral notes over all the tannins, but so long as you’re sensible it should be very pleasant.