Tea of the Week – Tea Palace Builder’s Brew

Source: A blend of Assam, Nilgiri and Kenyan teas. Bought from the Tea Palace Shop in Covent Garden; it can also be purchased on their website.

Tea tin

Cost: £3.75 for a sample caddy (the size shown in my photo), £6.95 for a 125g box, £9.75 for a 200g box. Slightly more if you want the larger sizes in tins.

Ethics: my word, they’ve actually updated their website since I previously posted about their teas! They now say that they are an ethically responsible brand, and source their teas using fairtrade principles (here on their website). So no independent certification, and not a lot of information, but I am really really pleased that they’ve now put something about it on the site.

Tea leaves

Brewing instructions: 3 minutes with nearly-boiling water works just fine. Certainly needs milk – and checking their website confirms that it’s designed for this.

Brewed tea - no milkBrewed tea - with milkAppearance: the tea leaves are broken into small fragments, for quick/strong brewing. The brewed tea is unexciting, but then you would expect it to be. Brown. Tealike. What more can you say?

Nose/Taste: I’m not very impressed by this tea. I don’t know if that’s unfair; it is a Builder’s Brew tea so it’s supposed to be ordinary. I think it tastes like boring, middle of the road tea. It’s not bad. It’s perfectly acceptable. But there’s nothing … nothing interesting or special about it – and I know it’s not supposed to be special – but there isn’t a great depth of flavour, or a great roundedness, or a great smoothness, or a great strength … it’s simply adequate in each of those categories.

Food match: If possible, something interesting to take your mind off the tea. I finished off the last of a pack of Sainsbury’s chocolate brownie squares with this cup.

Chocolate brownie

Summary: This tea is … fine. Yeah. You can tell how underwhelmed I am. I will finish it, because it’s perfectly drinkable, but I see absolutely no reason to buy it again – it’s £6.95/125g! For an everyday tea, I would much rather buy a Williamson tea, which has the advantages of being Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified*, tasting better, and being significantly cheaper (c. £2.50/125g).

*I will admit I’m not 100% sure what UTZ certification is – most of the info about it I can find appears to be in German. Anyone able to enlighten me?
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