Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Rington’s Premium English Teas
Our oldest and most traditional tea for original strength and flavour.
Learn more about this tea here.
The cut on this Northumbrian Blend Loose Leaf Black Tea from Rington’s Premium English Teas is a very fine chop. It’s a very finely cut CTC, so when you’re brewing it, you want to take that into consideration and measure out a little less tea. The smaller the leaf, the more surface area that’s exposed to the water – so therefore it brews faster and stronger than a whole leaf tea would.
But that doesn’t mean that CTC teas aren’t good. Sure, I’ll be the first to tell you that whole leaf teas are some of the best teas you can get, but a finely chopped CTC doesn’t mean that it’s not a good tea. I’ve tried many CTC teas that I’ve quite enjoyed. It just means that you need to be mindful of the size of the leaf when you’re preparing the tea.
So when I brewed this, I measured out a bamboo scoop of the leaf and then I shook the scoop a little to let some of the leaf fall off the scoop and back into the package. I ended up measuring two ‘scant’ bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of my Breville One-Touch. Each ‘scant’ scoop is about 3/4th of a scoop. Maybe just a little more than 3/4th scoop. Then I added 500ml of water into the jug of the tea maker and set the settings for 205°F and 2 minutes. Again, because this is a smaller cut, I went with a slightly lower temperature and a little less time to avoid a bitter cup of tea.
Did it work? Yes it did. The tea is rich and what I want to call ‘stout.’ It’s a hefty, strong tasting tea. It’s not quite as ’round’ as some other teas that I’d call hefty or strong. It’s not quite as full-flavored and well-rounded, but it’s still a mighty bold cup of tea.
It’s got notes of earth and leather as well as some floral background notes. Toward the end I pick up on citrus notes. There is a fair amount of astringency to it but it’s not bitter. I would like to say though that if I had oversteeped this tea – it would definitely be bitter so don’t let that happen!
This tea would take the additions of milk and honey well should you wish to add them. I drank it straight up and found it enjoyable, although the second time that I drank it, I did so with a drop or two of cream and found it a much more enjoyable drink. The touch of dairy (not a lot, a little less than a teaspoon) helped round out the tea and as a bonus, it softened the astringency a bit.