Marks and Spencer
Popular Teas from Marks and SpencerSee All 8 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Oh god, no.
It’s like my whole mouth is crying. It might be my own fault for having to use a zip-tap for water at work, or the fact that this is 6 months past its use-by date, or it sat on my desk a minute too long, or something, but ugh. I get that there’s raspberry in there, but mostly I’m getting overriding bitterness. Like, SO bitter. Like a festival of all the tannins in the world concentrated into one cup. It’s everything I hate about white tea. Even 4 sachets of sugar couldn’t save it. Nope, nope, nope.
One thing I noticed about this tea – I only like it with a dash of milk. If I put too much milk, suddenly I don’t like it anymore… I find a similar thing with Yorkshire tea, but that one I still like with more milk, it’s just no as good. This one I just don’t like if I add too much milk. Funny stuff.
This is the tea that made me start drinking (non-chai) black teas. A friend of mine was living in London at the time and she brought me a box of this tea as a present. I thought that it would be a chai-like tea, what with being a Christmas tea, so I tried it and it had the most gorgeous reddish colour… but it tastes like ‘normal’ black tea.
And then, of course, I refused to believe that I didn’t like this tea, because it’s really pretty tea from London, plus it’s from M&S and I kind of love them. So I just kept ‘trying’ the tea, and after a while I got accustomed to the taste and once all the tea was gone I really missed it. And then I bought one of those boxes of a few different Twinings teas and became very fond of their English breakfast and Irish breakfast teas, which then led to more Twinings teas and Barry’s teas and Yorkshire tea…. And that’s how I started drinking a bunch of black tea with milk and sugar, and then branched off into just pure black teas, then flavoured black teas…. good times :)
In any case, I’m living in London now and I was at M&S a few days ago and you can buy Christmas Tea again! It’s been years since I’ve had it, so I was very excited. And it still tastes great. Very assam-y and lovely as a breakfast tea. I’d say this is one of my favourite morning teas, along with Taylors’ Irish breakfast and Yorkshire tea. I remember also being very fond of Twinings breakfast teas, but they don’t have Irish breakfast for the UK market, fascinatingly enough, and the English one doesn’t taste the same. I’m planning to buy a box of each of the international market breakfasts at the Twinings shop/museum one of these days, but I’m trying to not go nuts with tea buying for a while…
Also, one of the things I like best about living in a country for more than a year are all those seasonal things that you notice coming back. Very homey. And yup, I’ve moved around a bit.
And yup, that’s about that.
I made two gallons of this iced a few days ago to keep in the refrigerator. I put it in the Pottery Barn dispenser. Guys, if you buy a dispenser, get one with a real metal spigot and not a plastic one. You will pay more but it will last years longer. Just ask Pioneer Woman. It is worth it not to have to clean up from those leaks all the time, and I love having enough on hand for guests.
Anyway, yesterday a neighbor was walking by with her wee dog and stopped a moment to chat. We have been neighbors for over twenty years but hardly know each other. I asked if she wanted to see my chickens and we called them to the gate. She said she wanted chickens, for a long time, badly!!! And now she swore she would get some. She lives four houses away but didn’t realize I had chickens before.
Today I got a text that someone was giving away five laying hens. I walked to her house to ask if she wanted them. Yes! Yes! She and her hubby came over to see my coop so they could build theirs, and….they had tea. Her husband said this was the best iced tea he had ever had in his life. His wife promised to come learn how to make it if he would get the coop built! We also gave them blueberry muffins and kefir.
The wife was very interested in my tea wall and wants to try puerh, so we are going to schedule a tea tasting soon. She said it smelled horsey but she could tell it would taste sweet and creamy.
I also found out that she has tried making kefir several times and was never successful. Thanks to Mercuryhime , I am now a kefir maker myself! So she is also going to learn to make kefir and when my grains make enough babies I am going to share them with her.
Tea makes friends. Friends make tea.
Apparently this tea does not exist. It came in a box but the box got a bit flimsy so I put it in a good tin and labeled it as Marks and Spencer – Keemun. And I have had it for a while so it should have already been in my cupboard. Now I find that it isn’t on Steepster and when I google it I can not find that it ever existed. I am pretty careful about labeling my tea, though, so it really should be the right name. Maybe it is just discontinued?
Anyway, I have been making it in large batches as good old sweet tea, Southern USA style. I use about four tablespoons steeped for three minutes in a pot of 212F water, then pour it over two cups of sugar which has 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda added to keep it from going cloudy. Then I add water and ice to bring it up to about five quarts of tea in my large glass dispenser that is kept in the refrigerator.
The leaf particle size is better than dust, but is not whole leaf. I would say most of it is about the size of gunpowder green tea. It makes a decent pot of hot tea but it is really shining cold. It is very, very dark, though, which I thought the family might find off putting, but nope.
Everyone is guzzling it, so I guess I will have to try to get some more when I ….wait for it….GO TO IRELAND THIS FALL! Yes, indeed, I, who have never even been on an airplane, am supposed to go to Ireland in October! I expect I will be coming back with some new goodies from Gurman’s, too! And O’Connail’s chocolates, which you really must try if you ever get a chance.
Maybe I can find out if this tea really exists while I am there…
I was actually hoping this would be a weaker version of M&S’ extra strong teabags because my system can’t take it. However this was pretty similar to their Gold blend, actually. It’s smooth, but just not my cup of tea (har..har… okay I’m sorry). I’ve had a friend tell me she liked it, but I personally prefer their extra strong teabags for the malty taste. I do wish they’d sell these in smaller packs, I had to give most of it away because I couldn’t possibly finish 80 bags.
It is lightly flavoured but isn’t bland. The mintiness isn’t too strong. Overall it is a pleasant cup of tea for evening consumption. The effects are quite potent though. Based on what I’ve experienced, one cup is all it takes to start feeling sleepy. After finishing the whole pot, I went to snooze comfortably on the sofa.
This tea is a light pinkish-red color that isn’t off-putting, thankfully. It carries a sweet aroma of raspberries that doesn’t smell too artificial. Has a tart and subtle flavor, but the addition of sugar or honey balances that out nicely. Pleasant and refreshing. I expected the raspberry to be overwhelming but it’s quite gentle.
I would recommend this cold steeped for 30 – 45 minutes