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Baked Bread

English Breakfast from the Virginia Tea Company . . . .

When you need a tried-and-true pick-me-up in the morning, many of us reach for a cup of English Breakfast black tea.  But each tea company has a little different take on this style of tea. English Breakfast from the Virginia Tea Company is robust in scent, taste, and texture.

This tea is full and malty, almost chewy, with toasty tones of baked bread.  This tea is strong enough to have flavor after being mixed with milk and sugar, and to hold up on its own against the savory flavors of your breakfast.

The first scent and taste are the rich and complex flavors like roasted wheat or leather, followed by the little crisp bite of black tea that we come to expect.  There is a hint of earthy smoke at the back of each sip, along with the the less bitter black tea tannins and thicker mouthfeel.

This is a black tea that makes you feel strong and invigorated, while also giving your palette a full-bodied flavor experience.  For those mornings where it is hard to get your head on straight, be sure to brew up a strong cup of English Breakfast from the Virgina Tea Company and get back on track.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Co.
Description:

This organic tea is perfect for pairing with your morning meal. The full-bodied flavor can be blended with milk and sugar to create an even better drinking experience.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Assam Gold Black Tea from The Persimmon Tree

AssamgoldTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: The Persimmon Tree

Tea Description:

This smooth, malty infusion is the perfect alternative to coffee. Assam Gold can be steeped multiple times while retaining its flavor. Golden in color, this import from Northern India is a thick, comfortable black tea brew that warms and energizes after a tough, bitter, cold day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I think of “Gold” in relation to “Assam”, I’m usually thinking of “Golden Lion” varieties where the leaves really are golden-brown in colour, frequently accompanied by what I think of as “lots of golden dust”, a little like the grey/white dust that white tea sometimes exudes. This Assam clearly isn’t one of those – the leaves here are mostly a black/brown colour, with the odd golden-tipped leaf. They’re mostly fairly small – around 1/4cm in length, although some are as long as 1cm. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

To taste, this one is deliciously malty. It’s sweet and almost thick-tasting, in the way of molasses. It’s also deliciously smooth and creamy, with a very mild bready note at the end of the sip. It’s slightly tannic, although not nearly as much as Assam can be. It’s a cup I’d happily drink on a morning, as it’s strong and full-bodied enough to be a good “wake-up!” tea, yet still fairly gentle.

I enjoyed this cup – it’s a classic Assam. I didn’t find it especially unique, but sometimes that’s not what’s required. It’s a good, solid example of my favourite tea variety, and would make a great introduction for the uninitiated. Lovely stuff.

Organic Black Tea from Arum Tea

ArumBlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Arum Tea

Tea Description:

A sweet and malty flavor that jolts the taste buds, with a caramel undertone and a floral finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think I’ve come across a black tea quite like this before. For starters, it’s appearance reminds me more of an oolong. The leaves are black/brown in colour, but they’ve been rolled into oolong-like pellets, complete with leaf stem! The scent also puts me in mind of a dark roasted oolong – it’s rich and kind of earthy, with a metallic tang. I guess these characteristics could describe a black tea too, but I personally associate them a lot more with darker oolongs, as I do the leaf preparation. Still – we shall see! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a medium golden-brown, so I made no additions.

It might look like an oolong, but it certainly doesn’t taste like one! It’s actually a mildly malty, delicately sweet tasting tea, with strong stone-fruit notes. I’m picking up apricot mostly, followed by a mild plum flavour towards the end of the sip. It’s incredibly juicy-tasting, almost as if it were infused with fruit juice rather than just being tea. It’s not, of course, and that’s what’s so incredible about it. I’ve not come across many like it previously, with the exception of Butiki’s Mi Xian Black. If you liked that one, this is definitely one to try. As it cools, I’m also picking up some bready, almost yeasty, notes. The fruitiness fades a little at this point, so it’s not as unusual as it sounds.

I really enjoyed this cup. It’s sufficiently different from other black teas to provide some much-needed variety, and the fruit notes are a particular highlight. It’s a fairly light tea, both in terms of liquor colour and body, but it’s certainly not short on the flavour front. The leaf barely unfurled on my first steep, so I imagine this one will also yield significant resteep value. Recommended!

Breakfast Blend Black Tea from Rington’s Premium English Teas

breakfastblendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rington’s Premium English Teas

Tea Description:

Ringtons English Breakfast Tea is a superior black tea blend from Assam and Kenya, with a strong and refreshing taste. With a medium/high caffeine content, this bright and lively blend is strong enough to help wake you up in the morning.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The first thing I have to say about this one is that it really surprised me. I don’t drink a lot of bagged tea at the moment, but it generally seems much of a muchness to me when I do. At least in the UK, the flavour profiles of “breakfast blend” style black teas seem very similar – sweet, malty, strong, and otherwise fairly nondescript. Until now. At first glance, Ringtons English Breakfast looks like your typical bagged black tea. It’s in a square paper bag, and is about half full with finely shredded leaf. The scent is typical “black tea”. I used one bag for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up a pretty strong-looking red-brown, so I added a splash of milk.

I wasn’t expecting much, except perhaps a quality black bagged tea – an everyday sort of experience, I thought. Not at all. It’s delicious! The first thing I picked up on is the strong baked bread flavour, which I’ve never before experienced except in fairly premium loose leaf varieties. It’s sweet and malty through the mid-sip, perfectly smooth with no bitterness or astringency at all. Right at the end of the sip, there’s the tiniest hint of milk chocolate. I don’t know what varieties of tea went into this blend specifically, but I’m guessing there must be an Assam, probably a Chinese black, and something else that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s not floral, exactly, although that was my first thought, so I don’t think it’s a Darjeeling. Maybe a Ceylon, or something Kenyan? It’s certainly intriguing!

I thoroughly enjoyed this cup. It has a real depth of flavour, and it’s almost completely unique amongst the bagged breakfast teas I’ve tried in my time. I’d happily drink this one again – I actually think it might be replacing my normal breakfast tea for a while. It’s just too delicious to pass up!

Chocolate Boozer Black from Luhse Tea

chocolateboozerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Luhse Tea

Tea Description:

Arrr! You’re a rum drunk pirate. Those that mess with your chocolate booty will walk the plank!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Luhse Tea is a very interesting company that plays around with the idea/theme of a teabag “Prohibition” in order to free you, the consumer, from the restrictions of bagged tea and allow you the freedom of exploring loose tea. Their site is very fun to navigate, and seeing the way they’ve tied this theme into each blend is definitely entertaining and worthy taking the time to check out. This is one company that has definitely figured out their ‘brand’ – and that’s not a bad thing! I’ve been personally wanting to order from this company, to sample teas, for a while now but I actually received this tea in a swap. This tea has journeyed from the United States to the United Kingdom to Canada and finally into my mug!

Steeped up hot and enjoyed during a heavy rainfall, this definitely has a well rounded, smooth flavour and clean mouthfeel. I was nervous the mouthfeel would be rather oily because this blend uses chocolate chips instead of nibs or shells but that wasn’t a problemHonestly, I feel like I’m getting more flavour from the base tea than anything else though; there’s a nice mild malt note that carries through all of each sip, and some baked bread notes. I’m not complaining, ’cause the base is really nice, but generally with a flavour tea I expect at least some aspect of the added flavour to be the strongest element.

The chocolate flavour is totally present, but while I was expecting something some rich and indulgent, this is pretty gentle. It’s more just a hint of cocoa, with a sort of powdery taste/mouthfeel which I’ve grown to associate with French teas. I also expected the rum to be stronger, and instead it’s very mild and watered down. Combined with the chocolate it’s a little like a very dull/lackluster rumball – the kind my family always makes around Christmas.

Initially I was quite disappointed by the flavour distribution: for a tea that’s describing the drinker as a “rum drunk pirate” I felt more like I was drinking tea with my Grandma around the holidays. However, I took a moment to set aside my disappointment and preconceptions about what the tea ‘should have’ tasted like, and after I did that I was able to appreciate the brew a little more. It’s not bold or vibrant, but the flavours it does offer are smooth and tasty, and it’s a comforting, mellow brew with hints of both chocolate and rum. I can appreciate that.

I’m still excited to explore the company a little more; but I can probably scratch this one off my wishlist. Though I’ll enjoy finishing the rest of what I received in that swap.