Fortnum & Mason

Recent Tasting Notes

90

My go-to morning tea. This stuff’s aroma and taste could seriously raise the dead, goes straight into the synapses and provides a needed, very decent caffeine kick.

Favourite Assam, no doubt. When I first tried it, it was like finding the answer to a question I hadn’t even asked myself, because as much as I’ve always loved Assam, I never thought it could get as good as this. I mean, it was already crazy good, but this is exceedingly crazy good!

Not sure if it’s because Assam is the tea variety I’ve reached to most frequently since I started this journey, but I’m not sure I’d describe this as ‘bold’. It sure is the strongest black tea I’ve tasted (not getting into smoked varieties), but this is what I’ve come to expect of morning time teas: appropriate caffeine amount and intense, comforting taste.

I brew it with boiling water for the whole 5 minutes recommended on the tin and add a splash of evaporated milk, then stir. If I’m feeling in need of some cajoling out of going back to bed, I drop a couple lumps of rock brown sugar into the cup before I pour the water and leave sugar, tea and milk be, à la East Frisian. I’m that weak-willed.

Flavors: Bitter, Dust, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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drank Afternoon by Fortnum & Mason
563 tasting notes

T&C TTB Round 2

When not oversteeped, this is quite a nice blend. More malt than I expected but still a light malt. Nice fruity notes and molasses. Oversteep and it turns into why I don’t do Ceylons very often – bitter, bitter, bitter. But done right it’s a good cup.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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80
drank Breakfast Blend by Fortnum & Mason
2582 tasting notes

This doesn’t seem to be a very popular tea on Steepster but both the BF and I liked it this morning. It’s a broken leaf assam and it steeps up very dark and strong, which is a good quality for a breakfast tea to have. It’s definitely a bit rough if you try to drink it plain, but if you drink it with milk and sugar it’s pretty good. Tastes of malt, with some apple like notes. It’s got a bit of briskness in the finish. Definitely an eye opening tea that reminds me of an Irish Breakfast.

This is a broken leaf assam and I would say it’s pretty average for the price, I’m sure I’ve had some similar teas from Upton that are much cheaper. The tin is beautiful, however.

http://instagram.com/p/vwMgGqoLWy

Flavors: Apple, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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70

A bold take on this classic black tea with powerful citrus notes that contribute to an almost medicinal-like flavour profile – for those who like their Earl Grey strong :)

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Medicinal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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81

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Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

Right, had two cups of this yesterday – one as a “morning tea”, with milk and sugar, and one in the evening, plain. This extremely expensive Assam does not take milk and sugar well. It is, however, pretty good plain. There is the characteristic malty, slightly woodsy taste of Assam, but without any astringency. It reminds me of Postcard Teas Golden Tips Assam, but Postcard Teas Assam is better – sweeter, maltier, better balanced, and it can stand up to milk.
In a world without Postcard Teas Golden Tips Assam, where this tea costs about half its price (which would put it at Verdant Tea prices – i.e. not cheap at all), I would recommend this tea. At it is, it doesn’t get a recommendation. Invest your money elsewhere.

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78

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Flavors: Apple

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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81

A proper English black tea. I infused this twice in my teapot I got from the London teapot company. The liquor is a warm amber color and the full-bodied taste has a malty, fresh baked bread quality to it. It’s a rustic tea that is great for cold mornings when you need to wake up and crave an acceptable splash of cream.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Raisins

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 5 g

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70

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Flavors: Cranberry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Flavors: Lemon

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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70

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Flavors: Strawberry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Flavors: Peach

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Flavors: Peach

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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drank Golden Monkey by Fortnum & Mason
301 tasting notes

Yesterday I received a wonderful box full of high quality European Black teas to enjoy – what a treat! I could not decide where to begin so I randomly picked a bag for my first sample. F&M’s Golden Monkey was the choice and I sipped on it throughout the morning as my Sunday “breakfast” tea. Malted grain sweetness with dark chocolate flavors coming through. A richly bold morning tea. Many thanks to NofarS for sharing this one!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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75

Tried some more of this last night. I remain unimpressed. It would have gotten a higher rating if it weren’t for the ridiculous marketing and the outrageous price. As it is, it is a pretentious blend that could have been better if it would have spent less time preening itself and more time balancing its flavours.
This tea, with a better choice of a darjeeling base, and a better price, is called “Darjeeling Earl Grey” and is sold by a company called Ronnefeldt. Buy it from them.

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75

This is a blend of Darjeeling with Bergamot, fancily named after Prince George’s Christening – for the tourists. It epitomizes all that has gone wrong with F&M’s tea over the last few years. They could have called it “Darjeeling Earl Grey”. They could have called it “Light Earl Grey” or “Special Earl Grey”. They could even have called it “Earl Grey Superb”. That would at least give you an inkling to what’s in the tin. But F&M’s marketing department seems hell-bent on touting their connections with the Royal family, instead of focusing on really good and unique tea. As it is, it’s an Earl Grey Darj, which is a combination that I’ve already tasted from Ronnefeldt. The two go together well, but R does the combination more justice. F&M’s is slightly rougher, with the Earl Grey and the Darjeeling not really married together in harmony.
It’s an 80 from me, because I happen to love the combination, and the caddy is, as usual, pretty great. 5 points off for the price and pretentiousness, and no recommendation – you can get better for less from Ronnefeldt.

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92

We have been on a somewhat Assam-and-Breakfast-Tea binge lately at work. This tea now comes in one of F&M’s new caddies (check out the picture here: http://www.fortnumandmason.com/p-5173-assam-tea-assam-superb-tea-indian-tea.aspx). The caddy looks great, but I wish they had kept the old design. The new design is a nicer colour, and has an easier to open lid, but otherwise is useless. You can’t stack it in the cupboard like their old caddies, and it has zero useful tea info on it. Nothing about the tea’s provenance , about steep times or strength. The design, touted by F&M as a change for the better, is indicative of the alarming change that I’ve seen in the company over the last few years. Gone are delicious blends like Piccadilly Blend, Fountain Blend and others. The only blends now have “Royal” in their name, or are somehow tied to the royal family. Useful information has been scratched from the caddies, they’ve become ridiculously ornamented, and many of them are available only for a short period of time. F&M, in other words, have become a tourist trap filled with “British” souvenirs or grossly overpriced “speciality” tea, and no longer a place where I can send people shopping for tea and know that they can’t really go wrong.
That’s a shame, because they used to have wonderful teas, and they still sometimes do. This “Assam Superb” was a very very good, bass-y, malty, deep Assam, brewing almost black in colour, and taking milk with great aplomb. High in caffeine content, we’ve had it several times over the last week or so, as a morning pick me up. Recommended.

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80

Sipdown 1 of 2 today! Despite being alarmingly old (2 years, 3 years maybe?), it held up well to the very end. Maltiness is reduced, but still there. A bit vegetal from the Ceylon (or age). Balance was starting to be off a bit. This was a versatile tea, good for when I wanted a solid unflavored black, great as a base for my homemade chai. I’ll probably get more eventually, but I’ve got so many other teas, plus so many more I’d like to try, it may be awhile.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

This tea is a bit of a workhorse for me. It’s a well-balanced blend of assam and ceylon, but it brews strong, so if you’re not a fan of strong tea, it’s better to just “scare it” with the hot water rather than brew for a full 5 minutes. I use this tea as a base for my homemade chai, I drink it iced when I want a nice, strong black iced tea without flavoring, I drink it hot when I’m not feeling well or just looking for a well- balanced, unfussy black tea. So, to summarize, very versatile, very balanced, solid, but not a showstopper.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87

This caddy is breathtaking. I saw that this tea was a blend of Darjeeling and Ceylon, thought to myself that that sounds unpromising, and still bought it (at a hefty price), because I just couldn’t resist the caddy. Also, I had just had afternoon tea in Fortums restaurant, with wonderful tea served in beautiful silver teapots, so I really wasn’t in any position to resist this tea.
I was faintly surprised by this tea. It’s actually decent. There is some astringency, but not much, and even a bit of sweetening gets rid of it, if you are sensitive to it. There are floral elements to this tea, but they are very muted – merely hints, not full blasts, as you can get from certain oolongs. Also present is the bright, “Teaness” of ceylon, but it too is subdued enough that even Ceylon haters will approve. The result is a delicate, light, complex brew that really does evoke the Edwardian era, with tea served in fine silver teapots on green lawns, and bees buzzing lazily in a gentle summer.
A tea for proper ladies and gentlemen.

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83
drank Jubilee by Fortnum & Mason
412 tasting notes

I’m pretty sure that I reviewed this tea in the past, but Steepster shows no record of it. Ho hum.
I felt like something sweet and fruity, and I hadn’t had this tea in a while so I brewed me a cup. The caddy is more gorgeous than it seems, and the blend tends towards the Ceylon end of the spectrum – so stone fruit tastes and a good bit of astringency. I like it – it has a bit more complexity and depth than plain Ceylons, and there’s something about its light body that makes me think that it will make for an excellent cold brew.

Flavors: Fruity, Sweet

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70

A bold, astringent blend of Assam and Ceylon black tea that is slightly overpowering for the average palette, but a treat for those who enjoy their tea strong :)

Flavors: Astringent, Heavy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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81
drank Jubilee by Fortnum & Mason
389 tasting notes

Thank you Adagio Breeze for this tea.
It is a little too mild for me but not a bad tea at all.
Very refreshing in those hot days here (36°c) and one of the few teas I am able to drink hot since 1 week.
It seems to be a straight tea but it is so much sweet and fruity it can make think to a light flavoured tea.
My daughter adores it. Lovely

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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