Tough to get it to brew strongly enough. That’s my short review of this one. I expected robust, malty, and typically Assam, but this tea fell a bit short on the robust side of things. The leaves are not as large as some other “full leaf” assams I have tried, so it surprised me a bit that this one did not brew up as richly as I expected from an assam variety. That said, it has a smooth maltiness to it and is better than David’s Tea’s English Breakfast, which I found to be quite weak. Maybe this is indicative of many of the mega-chain tea stores that have popped up — I thought the same thing with the Teavana brand English Breakfast. For me, I would have liked a darker, richer brew… and I guess for the money I spent on this loose leaf tea, I would rather buy a couple of boxes of bagged Punjana or Barry’s Irish Tea.
36 Tasting Notes
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For an iced tea, it’s better than Lipton or Luzianne or the store brands. The bags are huge… almost tempting to try brewing one of these and drinking it without icing it, just to see how it brews for a single cup. My guess is that it would be very tannic. When I’ve had this iced tea, I usually make a gallon of it and add Splenda to taste (quite a bit of it for a gallon) and sometimes some lemon juice to add a little tang to the mix, and then refrigerate it with ice cubes in the pitcher to cool it down faster. Good on a hot day, but not a replacement for a hot tea by any means.
Not half bad, for a decaf tea. I’ve had this at night before, and it does seem to have less caffeine than the ‘regular’ caffeinated black teas. It has a classically mossy smell when you first get the bag wet with boiling water from the kettle, and it holds up well with creamer and sweetener, or is just fine black. Wouldn’t ever be my first choice during the day, but at night as I’m getting ready for bed, or even if I wake up shortly after dozing off, it’s decent. On the comparison scale of teas I have tried, I would actually rate this higher than either the fully-caffeinated Stash or Bigelow English Breakfast teas, but not as high as most of the others with caffeine. (In other words, given a choice between one of these or a cup of the Bigelow, I’d take the Tetley every time even without the caffeine.) My one complaint is that the amount of tea inside the “perf flo” bag doesn’t seem to be substantial enough, so I often use two or even three bags for a mug of tea… which means a box of 40 bags doesn’t last very long. Luckily, my local Kroger sells that box for about $3.50.
For a “tea” that’s not really a tea at all, it wasn’t half bad. That said, I can’t honestly say that it was half good either :) Kind of unremarkable and not particularly noteworthy. It did have an absolutely beautiful color, but I personally think that’s it’s most endearing characteristic. I tried it first without any sweetener, then added 1 Splenda to a mug and decided one was not enough — so I added a second Splenda, and this made it almost too sweet and syrupy. (It is just a tiny bit sweet even without any sweetener added.) I can definitely taste that earthiness and woodiness that people talk about with Rooibos. Which is not really a surprise, given that it’s made from a bush.
Anyway, once I over-sweetened it, I experimented a bit to see if I could make it more palatable. I added milk to some of it, and found that it was decent with milk but again, not particularly remarkable. Then I added a single Tetley British Blend Decaf teabag to the remaining cup, and found that (for me anyway) that added some true tea flavor to the cup, and gave it a little bit of tannin that I think I had been missing with just the straight Rooibos. So maybe that will be my occasional evening blend — a bag of Rooibos + a bag of Tetley decaf plus one or two Splenda (no milk).
On the other hand, I honestly think if I’m looking to cut down on evening caffeine that I might prefer a Twining’s decaf of some sort, or even a Tetley British Blend Decaf, even though that tea is not especially remarkable, either. But at least the Tetley decaf is actually a tea, as opposed to an “herbal tea” like the Rooibos.
I have had a couple of samples of Rooibos from other sources in the past, and I thought this one was pretty decent. Very surprised by the reviews that some people have written, though, claiming that this tea is “100 points” or “the best bagged tea out there.” Hardly. It’s not really a tea anyway, as I mentioned in the first line of this review, and it just doesn’t stand out as anything all that spectacular. I guess if I had to sum it up in a couple of words, I’d say “serviceable, and caffeine free. But not noteworthy.”
Have been drinking this regularly lately — and decided to rate it more highly than I have in the past, although still not up to the Punjana rating that I consider my #1 for irish breakfast teas. Very malty, and pleasant even when steeped longer than 4-5 minutes. I can drink this either weak or strong, and it seems to be just as good. I will say that it’s best when piping hot — if I let it cool a bit, the astringency seems to rise a bit and it’s not as good as if I drank it closer to right off the boil.
Had this in a restaurant at a Hilton (in Houston, TX) and enjoyed it black, without any sweetener or milk. I steeped it for about 4.5 minutes, and it developed a nice deep amber/auburn liquor and a pleasantly mild bergamot aroma. A bit tannic in the mouth but overall very drinkable. I used to drink Earl Grey quite a bit when I was younger, and have switched in general to Irish Breakfast or English Breakfast (or Twining’s Lady Grey) but may try more Earl Greys straight now, just to have a point of comparison. I’ve heard some people like their Earl Grey with milk, but others are firmly opposed to adding milk to it. For me, the jury is still out on this… would love to hear other’s opinions. All in all, a nice Earl Grey tea that I would gladly drink again. Might edit this review once I have some comparison points with other Earl Grey teas. For now, I’d rate it about a 75.
Apparently not to be confused with the gold/black tinned “English Breakfast” tea from Harney and Sons, this one is in a silver tin and is labeled as “HT Blend” on both the tin and their web site and is different from the gold/black tin which is 100% Keemun. The silver HT tin says it is a blend of Ceylon and African teas.
Steeped this for quite a long time – 5 minutes or more – after which it became more tannic. However, even at 4-5 minutes the tea is not as strong as some other English Breakfast teas I have tried. It’s quite good, though, and I love the nice tin it comes in and the high-quality pyramid sachets. However, I have now seen this on the web for between $5-$6 (US), but I bought it at a Biggby Coffee shop for $9.99… clearly marked up more than it might be at a grocery store or online shop. I would say that I prefer Twining’s English Breakfast Tea over this tea, but I like my tea relatively strong with milk/creamer and sugar/Splenda.
Overall on my scale of common English Breakfast Teas I have tried, I would rank this somewhere between Republic of Tea and Stash at the bottom end of the scale, and Twining’s at the upper end of the scale.
Kept hearing about Pu-erh tea, so thought I would give it a try. Opened the package and smelled a bit of a musty smell. At first I wrote it off to the smell of the box. Then I opened the individual sachet and poured hot water into my mug, and stepped away. After a minute or two, while walking around the kitchen, I smelled something that made me think that my dog had had an accident (#2) in his crate — seriously. (EDIT: Now I can’t think of anything but calling it “poo-echh” tea. Because that was very nearly my first reaction.) Then I realized that the odor was coming from the tea! Smelling the tea in the mug more closely, I detected an odor that smelled like a cross between wet rawhide/wet leather and horse manure/hay bales. It really does smell like a horse barn. As for the taste, it also has a bit of a musky taste, but not nearly as strong as the odor. Can’t say that the taste is totally unpleasant, but I really can’t imagine having a craving for this tea. Tried to add some milk and sugar to it, and yes, it did stand up to the additions, but I can’t say that it really improved the flavor, and certainly didn’t improve the odor. The flavor reminds me of wet earth and moss, or at least how I imagine wet earth and moss would taste. Is it terrible? No. Drinkable? Yes, but not particularly pleasing to the nose or palate. Frankly, not sure why people rave about this stuff, but then, I didn’t like Lapsang Souchong either. Just wish I had spent my $5 on a different black tea, perhaps an Assam or English Breakfast tea.
Probably going to willingly swap this tea to anyone who likes Pu-erh tea or wants to try it. I know, I’ve done a marvelous job of selling it, haven’t I? :)
Had a cup of the loose leaf version of this today. Used a little more than a teaspoon and added some powdered creamer and sugar. (Out of milk so had to make do. ) Still one of my favorite blends… many, just a little tannic and astringent, but very recognizable, and very much a strong, reliable cup of Irish breakfast tea. In my opinion, almost as good as Barry’s Irish Tea or Punjana. The advantage here is that Hiller’s Market nearby always seems to carry this, whereas they only occasionally stock Punjana, and only have the “regular” Barry’s. I definitely like this better than the bagged version, although I will say that you don’t need a lot to make a single cup… a little goes a long way. Nice kick off caffeine, too… in fact, I think I’m going to have a second cup right now.
No notes yet.
Given that it smells nice when brewing, I expected more flavor than what I got, even after steeping for 4-5 minutes. Not much in the way of flavor. However, I have an English friend/former colleague who swears by this stuff and says they can’t always find it in London. For me, it’s just so-so. I guess I would rather brew my own black tea and maybe add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg if I wanted Christmas-y tea. (By the way, the “artificial flavors” thing caught my eye as well… why would you add artificial flavors to something like this tea, and then not make them… well… flavorful? It is a mystery.)
To paraphrase someone else’s review about this: Nothing special, but functional. I can’t imagine choosing this over another name-brand of English Breakfast, but it’s good in a pinch in a hotel room or waiting room where it is all they have. I usually bring any bags I pick up at a hotel home with me, just in case I there’s ever an… um… tea-mergency. ;)
Not bad. Just not great.
Meh. Not sure what the fuss is about. It is fairly light, and I agree with some commenters who say it is better without milk or sweeteners. But I didn’t think it was anything special, and certainly wouldn’t spend money on this again in the store with other choices available. It has a nicer grade of material in the bag/sachet than some other Twinings teas, but it is unremarkable beyond that. I also noticed — and apparently this is common with Darjeelings — that it gets a bit bitter if oversteeped.
Tried this again, at 4 minutes, still with milk and sugar. I would say basically the same thing, except 4 minutes is barely enough time to get some flavor out of this single sachet… I think 5 minutes is a better amount of time for a single cup of this tea.
Got individual packets of this tea at a conference at a Hilton hotel. It uses the finer-quality mesh bags (pyramid shape) as The Mighty Leaf brand, and is a full-leaf tea in the sachets. I don’t believe I’ve had Kenilworth Ceylon before, or if I had, I didn’t know it. There were no English Breakfast options, so I went with this, which seemed to be the closest thing. It brewed up a bit mild, even when I let it steep for more than 4 minutes, and had a vaguely smoky flavor similar to a very mild lapsang souchong, and a honey-colored liquor. I tried mine the first couple of times with milk and sugar (and once with milk and a bit of honey) and found that it didn’t stand up to those additions very well compared to other black teas I have had. I suspect it would be much nicer without milk and sugar, or maybe with a bit of lemon and honey instead. It reminds me a little bit of Twinings Lady Grey, but without any of the floral notes or fruitiness… just the relatively mild flavor that you can’t seem to brew any stronger, no matter how long it steeps. I also noticed that as it steeped beyond 5 minutes, it started to have a more tannic feel on the tongue and a more wet-moss smell to it. Not unpleasant in either case, but I think if I drink this again in the near future I will stick to 4-5 minutes with water just off the boil, and maybe avoid milk and sugar. As for the packaging of the tea in the individual foil packets, it’s one of the nicer package designs I have seen, and indicates that the tea is not only gluten-free, but Kosher as well. The package says it is a “full bodied black tea” but I found it not nearly as full bodied as other teas I have had recently.
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.
Robust, slightly more tannic than Twining’s. Good with milk and sugar. I think at 2.5 minutes this might be a little weak, but 4 minutes of stepping seems perfect! May have found my go-to cup of IB. I like Punjana too… but this one seems to have a bit more character and punch.
I was hopeful but a bit skeptical when I bought this. I’ve enjoyed RoT teas before. But the design of the tin didn’t exactly say “English Breakfast” to me. And when I opened the tin, I noticed the tiny unbleached circular bags. That was my first impression: tiny! And so I wasn’t especially surprised that this brewed a pretty weak cup. They barely put any tea in the bags to begin with. Wasn’t especially impressed with the flavor either — I’d prefer a Twinings or PG Tips or TyPhoo or Tetley to this one every time. It wasn’t awful… I just felt like I would need 2-3 bags to make a decent cup, and even then it would never be an outstanding tea for me. (But don’t get me wrong, I’ll still probably use up my tin. It just will never be my favorite English Breakfast tea.)
I’ll drink this if nothing else is available. But I would rather have almost any other black tea. This is just not all that great. Still, sometimes when you’re at a convention or a hotel, you take what you can get.
Nice full leaf green tea. Was pleasantly surprised when I picked a canister of this up at the local middle-eastern grocery on a whim. The leaves almost bloom when brewing, and it makes a nice smooth green tea. The leaves are large enough in dried form that they don’t fall through the holes in any of my infusers, and the canister seals back up nicely after use. My only negative reaction to this tea was that when I tried to use it to make some green-tea iced tea, it did not brew up as clear as I had hoped. It had a bit of a cloudiness to it. But that did not take away from the flavor, which was very nice. I am normally not much of a green tea drinker, but I could definitely drink this again, and will.
Meh. It is not as good as most bagged black teas. In fact, as far as English Breakfast tea goes, the only bagged teas I have found so far that are inferior to the Stash bags are Bigelow and the generic “store” brands. This tea brewed up too weak, and tasting stale, even though I bought a box with a current freshness date on it. Also, the thing I hate the most about it is that the strings always seem to pull loose from the staple in the bag! I guess my bottom line is that I would take this over some generic brand or a cup of Bigelow, but not much else. It’s better than nothing. But not a LOT better than nothing, mind you.
Seems a bit too mild and weak for my tastes (I have enjoyed Twinings British Breakfast and Irish Breakfast before, so perhaps I just like stronger teas). Seemed “refined” but maybe a little too watery. My friends in the UK thought it was funny that we could get this tea here in the US, but it’s apparently hard to find in the UK… perhaps they think it’s too watery, as well. Would I buy it again? Maybe… but not if I could find something more robust. It’s better than some, but not as good as most, if you follow my line of thinking.
Definitely can taste the dense smokiness of this tea — it tastes a bit like burnt pine sap. Not my favorite.