Where To Buy: Culinary Teas
Country of Origin: India, Kenya, China
Region: Assam, Nilgiri, Fujian/Chingwo, Anhui/Qimen
Shipping Port: Cochin, Fuzhou, Mombasa
Grade: FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe)
Altitude: 1500’ft, 6400’ft, 5000’ft above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Malty full-bodied character with bright flavoury notes and hints of cask oakiness. A bracing Highlander’s cup of tea!
Infusion: Bright coppery colour
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
The primary sociological structure in old Scotland was the ‘clan’. The roots of the system are very ancient, stretching back into Scotland’s Celtic past. The country had been occupied by many different peoples – Britons, Romans, Angles and Vikings – but two races came to dominate: the Picts in the north and east who divided their territory into 7 petty kingdoms and in the west it was the Scots. Originating as an Irish tribe, the Scots migrated from Ulster in the 6th century. The kingdoms of the Scots and the Picts were eventually united by Kenneth MacAlpin in the mid 800’s.
These people were organized along tribal lines, which eventually became known as clans. One of the downfalls of the clans was the propensity to feud. Some disputes simmered for centuries such as the feud between the MacDonalds and Stewarts, which began at Culloden in 1314, finally being settled in the 1600’s. Highlanders guarded their traditions fiercely and were well known for their loyally robust character.
This tea is like a proper Highlander – robust, malty (not unlike a good Scotch) and full of life and vigor. Highlanders liked their tea very strong and insisted on hints of cask oak to remind them of their clan’s own special elixir – single malt Scotch. This blend consists of 2nd Flush Assam tea (thick, robust with delicious hints of malt); January production South Indian tea (high mountain grown that has wonderful flavour notes which accentuate the robust Assam); Keemun Panda #1 which has a delicious winy character further enhancing the stout malty character of the blend and finally a Chingwo County Orange Pekoe which gives the distinct oaky character. This tea is especially delicious with milk, which further lends a malty character to the tea and highlights the brightness of the premium tea, which has hints of a red color.
[A tea tasters secret recipe for a pick-me-up on a typical Highlanders day (cold and bracing) – make this tea hot, pour into a large mug and add 4-5 slices of lemon and 2 heaping teaspoons of sugar – sit back and enjoy a tasty energy boost. To make a special iced tea – after you have added the lemon and sugar, pour this over ice in a tall glass – terrific!]
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or ‘milky’ when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!
Scottish Breakfast from Culinary Teas is a nice standard or go-to black tea. It’s a No-Nonsense type tea, too! Very decent, indeed! It’s a beautiful deep reddish brown for the post-infusion color. It’s not much for scent. But it does have a nice medium, even taste with slightly smoky undertones at the end of the sip.