Wilkinson's of Norwich
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My parents went to Norwich for a few days as a much belated birthday present for my mum, they went from Friday (Valentines Day) to the following Tuesday and I was to dog and house sit for them. Well it turns out they found a tea shop in one of the areas they visited and so they got me some gifts. One was a beautiful bird of paradise hand painted bone china mug, saucer and spoon, another was a set of tea tins and the final gift was a pack of three teas. My mother (bless her) got two teas that she heard me mention before (those being Pu Erh and Ti Kuan Yin) and for the third she asked for a unique blend, something the company do themselves, which turned out to be this Kashmiri black chai.
I’ve had three cups of this chai so far (thought it would go well with leftover curry for lunch). The raw blend had a strong cinnamon and cardamom scent and if I’m honest it didn’t look like the nicest tea in the world. Chai never does, it’s always powdery and dry.
I steeped for what I thought would be correct for the blend. My first sip (whilst black) was a pleasant one. It was strong with only a little astringency but full on spice flavours. It was however too thick for me whilst straight so I added some milk and a spoon of sweetener (which is how I prefer my chai anyway). It made all the difference, the astringency had gone and all that remained was a sweet, creamy, smooth, chai with high cardamom and cinnamon after taste. Not much ginger is present throughout.
Living in Leicester I know my good Chai from a bad Chai and am used to very traditional blends. With the milk and sweetener this tastes very traditional and would be something I could be proud to serve my Indian friends. So it may not have looked like much to start with but it certainly exceeded my expectations and I finally found a nice Chai to keep in regular stock. :)
PS. Here is a picture of my mug.
It’s taken me a while to get Darjeelings. And drinking tea without milk. It’s been an exploration and an education. I’ve had this Badamtam for a long time, and don’t drink it that often. But I’m really starting to enjoy it for a late afternoon brew. It’s light in colour, but not in taste. There’s a greenish astringency to it that gets to you. I think it’s a 2nd Flush, but can’t remember and it’s not on the website any more.
On a recent trip to Pensacola, Florida, I frequented a lot of antique stores/flea markets. One of these shops had a booth that I wanted to LIVE in: it was devoted to tea and coffee, and featured products from Wilkinson’s of Norwich. The company originated in Norwich, England, and has two US locations that I know of (a factory in Brewton, Alabama, and a new retail store in Pensacola, Florida). On a whim I grabbed a bag of Earl Grey loose leaf tea. Sometimes I make very smart decisions. :)
The tea is wonderful. It tastes delicious, with EXACTLY the right amount of bergamot, and the aroma truly makes your mouth water. I would even go so far as to say this is my new favorite Earl Grey tea. You can buy a 2 oz. bag of leaf tea from the website for only $4.00; they also offer 4 oz. for $8.00, and so on. Here’s Wilkinson’s description of the tea, from their site:
Fine black China leaf, a handful of jasmine and only the finest pure oil of Bergamot, this is the traditional afternoon tea (with cucumber sandwiches) best drunk black; if desired, mix with our Royal tea for a stronger infusion that will take a little milk or lemon.
Once again, this tea is good. As in, darn good. I really can’t add much to that, except for this: you bring the cucumber sandwiches, and I’ll provide the tea.