English Breakfast Tea from Canton Tea Co.

canton_english_breakfast_black_teaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea Blend

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Company

Tea Description:

The UK’s favourite – a classic English tea with New York roots.  

The first English Breakfast Tea was created in New York in the 1800s by our namesake, the original Canton Tea Co. Their black tea was a runaway success, replicated by all other tea companies. Our superior house blend has now been reformulated by Rare Tea Hunter Phil Mumby and is full of complex flavours. The neat, wiry leaves of two Assams from the Nokhroy and Siajuli estates provide the backbone of this tea, with richness from our own Feng Qing Yunnan black, a smooth creamy character from Ceylon black from the Doomgastawala estate, and a crisp, brisk, toasty bite from Rwandan black from the Rukeri estate. A very versatile tea, a quick brew is delicious without milk, but it can happily carry milk if steeped a little longer and stronger.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not one to shy away from CTC-based teas. Anyone that’s read my reviews for any length of time knows that Butiki’s Crimson Horizon and the now extinct Grandpa’s Anytime Tea were 2 that I thought highly of because of their baked biscuit note and lovely round mouthfeel. The trick with CTCs is the steep time. Don’t leave the cup for ANY reason during the short steep (1-2 minutes) or you’ll get hair on your chest…..

Well, here’s another to add to the “hairy chest” list. Canton Tea Co makes a lovely alternative Breakfast tea (Canton Breakfast Tea) so I included this “traditional blend” in my most recent order to the company….curious. When I opened the packet I was surprised to see a CTC blend…not all CTC mind you, but definitely CTC and broken leaves.  OK, then….we’ll do a short steep. Canton recommended 2-4 minutes, so I went with 2 and I’m glad I did.

Holy Macanoley is this tea strong! Robust is the PERFECT word to describe this tea. It is straight up English Breakfast. There is a ton of malt, biscuit and a touch of citrus. It is bold, kick your butt and if steeped for 4 minutes would probably stain your teeth in a week! The Yunnan is completely lost to me in this blend. It is the Kenya, Assam and Rwanda that fill my mouth with all the flavors you expect from a traditional English breakfast tea. Notes of baked bread, malt and a touch of citrus are boldly apparent in this blend.  There is astringency here, but not puckerville…just enough for your mouth to want the next sip, which it’s easy to do.

This is a tea that English breakfast blend lovers should not miss. Bold, robust and strong, it is Builders in a business suit. It will stand up to breakfast, lunch or dinner with loads of flavor to spare. This won’t be my only cup of this today. Guaranteed.

Rington’s Kenyan Gold Tea from Rington’s Premium English Teas

kenyanRingtonsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black,

Where to Buy: Rington’s Tea

Tea Description:

Kenyan Gold is a luxury, top quality tea. Bright, golden with a full, refreshing flavour. From our “Extra Fresh” family of wholesale teas. This includes two cup Kenyan Gold tea bags that are flavour locked for freshness and shipped from the US.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It is always nice to have a steadfast bagged tea to grab quickly as I am trying to join the rat race on time in the morning.  I am NOT naturally a morning person. The irony is that I start my commute at 6am.  Bagged tea is my friend on those mornings when the snooze button was just too tempting…like this morning.  Fortunately, Ringtons Kenyan Gold was there for the rescue!

Kenyan Gold is a lovely amber gold in the cup.  The smell of the liquid is of lightly toasted biscuit and malt, which are my favorite notes in tea…so I was pleased that the smell translated wonderfully into the taste in the cup!

There is a slight astringency that touches the back of the tongue and adds to the “brightness” of this tea, but not so much that it leaves the tongue feeling dry.  This tea accepted a touch of milk graciously and and deliciously as well.  I steeped this for 3 minutes and it was “Goldilocks” strength….not TO strong and not TO weak.  Just right for the tea drinker who likes a cuppa as a boost to their day, but not enough to knock their socks off.  Ringtons Kenyan Gold is a bright and pleasant way to start your day, and I’m glad I did!

Earl Grey by Pipers Loose leaf Tea

PipersEarlGreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Pipers Loose Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Made with the finest China teas including a large portion of white tips (the most prized leaf of the plant) and blended with the highest quality Sicilian oil of bergamot available.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have had Earl Grey teas in the past and they are certainly not one of the first I reach for when looking to fill my cup. I have found them rather lackluster, and have found myself suspecting tea companies of using the bergamot to hide 2nd rate teas underneath. This is obviously not the case with Piper’s Earl Grey White Tips.

Dry, this tea is lovely long full leaves with long white tips interspersed.  The white tips have picked up more of the bergamot scent and the smell is quite heady indeed! In the cup, the tea is bold, matching the lush bergamot head to head. The Chinese tea a brings nuances of a deeper flavored black, in this case notes of plum and earth. The light formal flavors of the bergamot (yes, for some reason I’ve always considered bergamot to be a “formal” or “fancy” flavor!) gives lift to the deep flavor of the chinese black tea base and rounds out the profile to be not a tea for afternoons on sunny days, but….well, for anytime really! It would hold it’s own against a continental breakfast with gusto…and a bit of fancy, of course. This tea was a welcomed change in my cup, and I will look forward to to trying the other offerings that Pipers has!

Assam 1860 Bagged Tea

Assam1860Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Assam 1860

Tea Description:

We’ve been growing tea for more than 150 years. That’s right, 150 years of experience and expertise that goes into making a cup of tea with pedigree. And it tastes delicious.

Assam 1860 is a black tea that celebrates tea itself. It is made only from leaves plucked in the picturesque Thowra Estate, a chai bagan set up in 1860. We ensure that the phrase ‘garden fresh’ lives up to its every promise.

The leaves are plucked, processed and packed in the estate itself, ensuring quality and freshness that is unparalleled. So wherever you are, you might as well be drinking your cup of Assam 1860 on the verdant verandah of the Thowra Bungalow, overlooking graceful rolling greens on our lush terraces.

We can’t wait for you to try our new offering. The plucking of tea leaves has begun in earnest!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I sometimes wonder how serious tea purveyors take their packaging choices.  Tea drinkers are truly an aesthetic bunch of people….the ritual of tea practically begs you to be appreciative of ALL aspects of the tea that will be filling your cup next, including the packaging.  What makes us reach for a certain box of unexplored tea is arbitrary….a certain animal on the logo, a color of font… it’s a science somewhere, I’m sure, but for me, it makes a huge difference in where my eye travels to.

I would have bought this tea.

Assam1860 has a very clean visual aesthetic, with it’s white and green on black modern approach to visual marketing, the tag line “Tea As It Should Be” and the catchphrase “Still Plucking”.  It looks not like the older packaging from the well-established Assam tea plantations…it looks like something NEW.  And we all love to try something new!

The tea bag is also modern looking, with whip-stitching around the edges and a good portion of CTC assam waiting inside.  Again, aesthetically pleasing and already making my tea experience enjoyable!

In the cup, Assam1860 is dark amber and smells of malt with a touch of citrus.  A 2.5 minute steep brings a lovely malt flavor that Assams are known for.  This is not a powdery CTC but a true CTC that gives a well-rounded mouthfeel with a touch of astringency.  This tea would be a wonderful “toss in your purse/pocket” to replace the usual suspect teas at your favorite restaurant. Bold, but not overwhelming, Assam1860 is a solid citizen in the Assam world.  If you are a fan of hearty black teas, this tea is a good bet. Quite honestly as the packaging says, “Tea As It Should Be”.

Traditional Black Tea from Rington’s Premium English Teas

traditionalTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rington’s Premium English Teas

Tea Description:

“Our Traditional Tea Blend contains some of the best teas produced from around the world, selected predominantly from our long standing relationships with family businesses in East Africa and India. Our expert tea blenders taste and choose each individual tea that goes into the blend, ensuring you always receive that unique, refreshing and lasting flavour that makes Ringtons Traditional our most popular blend in the US.”

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Since I’ve returned from my trip to the UK, I have been on a bender with Breakfast Blend teas. I am obsessed with them, always choosing them from my tea cabinet over high price single estate teas. They have reminded me of the gorgeous comfort they bring when it is 45 degrees and raining sideways for days on end. I love the kinds of teas that can hold up to that type of weather, like a stout umbrella. Yesterday, I received a sample of a few of Rington’s teas in the mail and couldn’t have been more pleased….so guess what’s in my cup this morning?

Rington’s Traditional English Breakfast is a bagged tea, which as far as convenience goes, can’t be beat. On first sip, the dark amber brown liquid give a lovely mouthful of the flavors that should come with a breakfast blend….the first is a toasty baked grain note from the Kenyan tea, then the round maltiness and a touch of citrus that the Assam brings to the blend. There is a bit of astringency here from the Assam, but nothing that another sip won’t easily fix. If you have a penchant to add a bit of milk to your tea, there is no problem here. This tea’s full bodied flavor profile supports even the milkiest tea drinkers!

This is not a complicated tea, but that is exactly the point. A great breakfast blend from the UK has just a few jobs to do. One is have enough flavor to stand up to breakfast, whether that be a full cooked breakfast of eggs, sausages, baked beans (etc.) or a bowl of oatmeal. The second job is to stoke up that inner sunshine so that the chilly sideways rain and the mood it brings is held at bey. Rington’s Traditional English breakfast does both with aplomb….and of course, I’m going back for a second cup.