Taking a quick look back at my last Fortnum & Mason tea review, I notice that I wrote it just before applying for naturalisation to become a British citizen … I am very happy to report that this week the letter came through saying that I’ve been approved! I’ve booked a Citizenship Ceremony for January, and after the ceremony I shall be British. Huzzah!
<– Apparently they are official tea suppliers to the Prince of Wales. I wonder if he likes tea?
Source: The tea’s from Ceylon (i.e. Sri Lanka), acquired from (as if you couldn’t tell) – Fortnum & Mason. See here.
Ethics: No information.
Brewing Instructions: The website says brew for 3-5 minutes, but I had mine before I looked that up and brewed it for 2, which seemed about right. I would say that if you’re not going to add milk, go even lighter – maybe 1-1.5 mins? I used a pretty flat teaspoon-ful as the mug I’m using is on the small side.
Appearance: A lovely clear reddish hue … F&M say that this is their best blend for iced tea, because “it stays perfectly clear when chilled”.
Nose: … it smells like tea. Sorry, that’s not very inspiring, but … it’s true. (I need to get better at describing black teas).
Taste: I’ll try and be slightly more descriptive here!
Without milk: this tea is light, and slightly wood-y – not smoky, not mulchy, but somehow slightly reminiscent of a forest. (After writing this I went and looked up descriptions of ceylon tea and felt vindicated when I found some being described as ‘oaky’) There’s also a tiny bit of an acrid aftertaste – which I think is because of the brewing time (I did know that I wanted to drink most of this with milk, so I brewed accordingly).
With milk: as always, adding milk adds another dimension of smoothness – and removes the crispness. The woodsy taste is still present, but the slightly bitter aftertaste is gone. The website says “This blend of teas from the higher and lower regions of Ceylon delivers a light, refreshing flavour with real body.” and that really is true.
(<– yes, that’s a black and white fake fur coat. I don’t understand …)
To be completely honest though … this is a perfectly nice tea, but it didn’t strike me as anything delightful or amazing. So as a general rule I’d probably go with the Teadirect Everyday, because I think it’s pretty much as good and it’s fairtrade … possibly if I were making iced tea I’d go with this one, but otherwise Teadirect it is.
Food match: I think … sandwiches. As an amusing fact – from Waitrose’s weekly newspaper thing – apparently Downton Abbey taking off has coincided with a significant rise in the purchasing of cucumbers (I think the figure was up 16% – can’t find the paper to double check that), possibly due to many more people having High Tea with cucumber sandwiches … I think this would be a great tea for that sort of meal.