This was the first cup of tea I had when I first visited England in 2011. It was the tea available in my hotel room service when I checked in at the Radisson Edwardian Vanderbilt in South Kensington. I didn’t expect much, given that it was available in the room next to a little electric tea kettle. It is not terrible — let’s say that. Far better than the Bigelow tea you find in the hotel room service at Hilton hotels these days. It stands up decently to milk and sugar, and is just a little tannic. However, unlike Bigelow teas, the pouch this comes in with the tagged tea is basically open to the elements rather than sealed, so I have a feeling that even though I brought some back with me and have kept it sealed in a Ziploc bag, it won’t retain its freshness or flavor for long. Made a cup again today with one of the bags I brought home — I am developing quite a collection of odds and ends — and thought it tasted about the same as it did when I had it in London. Maybe a bit less vibrant. So would I buy this if it were available at a local grocery store? Maybe, if all they had available besides this were Bigelow or Stash teas.
Popular Teas from English GardenSee All 9
Tried it at 3 minutes and got the slightest hint of vegetal flavors, and just a bit of roastiness in the aroma. Kept the bag in there and at 5 minutes there was a little more astringency but remarkably just as little real flavor as before. I went all the way to 7 minutes in an effort to wring a shred of character out of this tea – an unheard of effort on my part with regards to a green tea. Sadly, it was all for nought.
Farewell English Garden teas!
Well, if nothing else this week away from my regular posse of tea-homeys has made me more aware of how much I like teas which are bold and in your face with flavor. None of the English Garden varieties I’ve tried this week have been terrible, but they’ve really been wallflowers in terms of personality. Perhaps this company is trying to cater to the lowest common denominator tastes of the hotel trade – that’s how their website and packaging makes it look. Unfortunately, by trying hard not to offend anyone they’ve ended up being more than a wee bit unexciting. Take this Lemon Tea for example – they say it’s “bursting with a fresh and zesty citrus tang”, but all I’m getting is some lemon essence combined with an unremarkable black tea.
One more to try at tomorrow’s breakfast, and then it’s back home to a tea cupboard full of old friends and new.
Not one of my favorites so far from the variety of English Garden teas I’ve been sampling. The telltale muscatel is there, but there’s a strange redolence of “burned” in the flavor. Not like Lapsang Souchong smokiness, which I really like, but like something went wrong in the processing of this tea. I might have to try this one again this week to see if perhaps it was just a bad bag.
I’m not very familiar with Assam teas, so I’m not sure how exemplary this would have been of the variety. The company’s description says it’s malty, and I’d agree that there is a hint of that in the flavor that particularly comes out with the addition of a little milk and sugar. I also got a bit of a peppery scent/flavor at first, before I added anything. Overall fairly weakly flavored and not a very exciting tea, but it does remind me that I need to try some more Assams soon – starting with the TeaFrog Banaspaty Organic, which I have waiting for me back home.
I know that bergamot flavor originates with a citrus fruit, but for me Earl Grey has always been more about a “perfume” scent rather than a citrus scent. In this tea though the citrus characteristics of Earl Grey really come to the fore – the perfume aspect is definitely there, but I’m really tasting a citrus fruit. If you asked me which one, I’d be hard pressed to do so, but would just describe the tartness and freshness which are hallmarks of this type of fruit. I’ll give this one marks for making me think of Earl Grey in a fresh way!
On the road this week, so I don’t have access to my usual selection of teas – good excuse to try something new! The place where I’m staying is featuring the teas of a British company I’ve never heard of before, called English Garden. Starting off with their peppermint, which I always find soothing after a long journey, then I’ll move on to their other teas over the course of the week.
The peppermint is strongly flavored; one tea bag can handle a good size (I’d say about 24 oz) tea pot. It gave a medium-dark green brown liquor with enough minty aroma to really clear the sinuses. I left the bag in the pot over the course of 15 minutes or more, and had the first cup after about 5 minutes. At that stage the taste was light but clear, and as the steeping time increased the flavor stayed pleasant until the last cup, which was finally showing a little bitterness. They’ve got my interest now, so I’ll see how their black teas stack up next.