Leaf Type: Black & Green
Where to Buy: English Tea Store
The Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea loose leaf blend from English Tea Store is a delicate medium tea with a hint of Earl Grey and Jasmine. This is a lighter afternoon tea.
Every May, the Queen holds a garden party at Buckingham Palace, a lovely English springtime tradition. The tea that is served is a long time favorite, a delicious Palace medley specially selected for this occasion. Intriguing hints of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey blend effortlessly with the soft jasmine from Fujian Province. Couple this with malty Assam (from the estate of Borengajuli) flavory Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), brisk and golden cup East of Rift Kenya (from Kambaa and Kagwe) and you have one of the most flavorful teas to come from the British Isles. Each cup is a cup of mystery – the flavors all come to the fore at separate times – one minute you taste the Earl Grey, the next second you can almost feel the soft floral notes of jasmine and finally you get the satisfying fullness of the Assam Ceylon and Kenya blend. Enjoy this tea and be a part of the annual tradition in the west gardens of Buckingham Palace, without having to dress up.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea is an example of a tea that I should have read the description of before I brewed it, because by simply looking at the loose leaf, it is difficult to tell that it’s a blend of black and green teas. I should have used a slightly lower temperature to steep this tea! And there is some bitterness as a result. I steeped this for 3 minutes using boiling water, and I think I should have used water that was closer to 180°F. Even with the bitterness, it isn’t a bad tasting tea, but I think it could be better. Unfortunately, I don’t have more of this tea to experiment with it.
The aroma is lovely! I can smell the bergamot and the jasmine, but neither offers an overpowering fragrance. This seems to be nicely balanced between the two classic ingredients of jasmine and bergamot.
The black tea is rich and flavorful. I can taste the malty notes of Assam and the aforementioned bitterness may be a result of the Assam’s presence in the blend. The bitterness is not something that I find off-putting as it’s not an intrusive flavor. It doesn’t get in the way of me tasting the other flavors of the tea nor does it get in the way of the enjoyment of the overall cup. I’d rather the bitterness not be there, of course, and if I had a little more of this tea, I’d experiment with it a little to figure out a better way to brew it so that the bitterness wasn’t present.
The green tea is a little less discernible than the black tea. This isn’t surprising, as green tea tends to have a lighter flavor than black tea. However, that isn’t to say that the green tea can’t be tasted because I definitely taste it’s softer, somewhat vegetal taste and a silky texture that is unmistakably green tea-ish.
The jasmine is a sweet, exotic note that compliments the tangy bergamot. The bergamot it not as strong as I typically like a bergamot in an Earl Grey blend, however, since this is a “garden party” blend (for Buckingham Palace, no less), I can let the softer bergamot slide because a stronger bergamot essence may very well overpower the delicate notes of jasmine and a good balance between the two has been achieved here. It’s a pleasantly floral, tangy cup that is very satisfying.
Overall, an enjoyable cup that I’d suggest as an afternoon cuppa. It’s not quite robust enough – in my opinion – to serve as a breakfast blend or that first cup of the day when you need that jump start. This is ideal to serve to guests though, and makes a lovely cup of tea to enjoy in the afternoon, even if your garden party is a party of one.