A couple of our generous friends gave us Williams Sonoma gift cards as wedding gifts. My wife, who is a pastry chef and all-around fabulous cook, loves this store for all of its cool cooking gadgets and utensils. I guess Williams Sonoma is her Best Buy.
Anyhow, we were at Williams Sonoma to see what we could purchase with our gift certificates. I assumed we would spend them all on some fun cooking toys for her. That was fine with me because I would reap the rewards by eating all of the great food items that she would create. However, always the wonderful and selfless soul that she is, my wife insisted that I buy some of the fine imported teas that Williams Sonoma offers.
The first one I chose was the Royal Blend by Fortnum & Mason. The tin brags that this tea was “first blended for King Edward VII and hugely popular ever since”.
I could smell the Assam tea in the short brown leaves when I pried open the lid. I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for four minutes. I also followed the tin’s recommendation to add an extra teaspoonful of tea leaves “for the pot”.
There was no discernible aroma wafting from the brewed liquor. The color was a golden red.
The first sip sent pretty standard tea flavors into my tastebuds. The taste was full, malty, and a little spicy. I also thought at first that I was experiencing a tad of bitterness. I didn’t want to rush to judgment, though, so I kept my eye…or…buds…on it through the next several gulps.
My conclusion was that the flavor was not bitter but slightly tangy. Perhaps that was the Assam. The taste of this tea was somewhat schizophrenic because there also was a smoothness to it. Maybe that was the blended Ceylon. Or, maybe vice versa.
This is a nice flavorful black tea without bells and whistles. The overall taste is standard black tea but there is a complexity to the Assam and Ceylon blend that gives it something extra. I couldn’t detect the sweetness that some have mentioned. I also wouldn’t classify it as an exciting blend. But, hey, if this tea was good enough for Queen Victoria’s son, who am I to complain?