AHA! A second steeping reveals the not-very-surprising secret to Tregothnan tea – it must be enjoyed in the English style, i.e., with milk added. The milk mellows the astringency in the tea and instead complements it into a warm, toasty flavor that is extremely enjoyable as a breakfast or dessert tea. The tea takes very well to sweetening (though one should use less sugar than one is used to, as the tea does seem to accentuate the sweetness upon mixing), and is light years better than the unadulterated cup. I suppose it was just a silly error to have attempted this tea without addition, as it was clearly blended and balanced with the typical British tea drinker in mind, and is definitely a vast, vast improvement over my earlier cup. So, if you enjoy “straight” tea this is not the one for you, but if you enjoy a typical British cuppa with milk and potentially sugar or honey, then this may very well turn out to be the internally warming, soothing cup you were looking for. The note on the tin, “enjoy black if you prefer” should almost certainly be ignored; this tea needs milk in order to complete its balancing act and fully express its toasty warmth. Is it a top-tier tea? Well, no, I’m not willing to say that, but it is definitely more than simply a novelty, and I would certainly be curious to see if Tregothnan continues to develop their tea over the years into a more formidable product.
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