Wednesday, November 10, 2010

an old favorite

Strong black tea is what I usually crave in the morning, and early afternoon. I like a malty, semi-bitter, slightly astringent tea to wake me up and get me going. Especially now, with two kids, and a full time job. I need a good kick of caffiene!

I try to drink mostly loose leaf teas, but I do like to be open minded when it comes to bagged teas. Not all teabags are tasteless tea dust. I actually have quite a few boxes of tea in the office right now. The Taylor's of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold teabags may contain dust and fannings, but they are larger than your average american teabags, which lends for a shorter brewing time and more flavor. From reading the box I learned that they 'work with the world's best tea gardens' and they 'combine the smooth malty flavour of top quality Assam teas with the fresh, lively character of peak season teas from the highlands of East Africa'. Not so sure about all of that, but it is a nice morning cup of tea. Brewing for about 4 minutes yields a nice rich golden color and a malty scent. Nothing fancy about the taste, but it's just what I look for in a quick breakfast (or early afternoon) tea- slightly bitter, malty, with a faint hint of fruit on top. This is of course a tea that would do well with a drop of milk and some sugar. I will sometimes fix it up this way when I'm in the mood, especially when I'm craving a coffee substitute. But I usually prefer it strong and dark. This tea does not have any of the delicate nuances of an Assam, but it definitely delivers the goods when you are sleepy, and just need a reviving cup. It is what I imagine the folks on the old-school British comedies are drinking when they are trying to get through all sorts of silly drama. When Hyacinth Bucket shrieks 'tea Richard!', this is what I imagine she's reaching for. She drinks it in her Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinkles, of course.

Another tea I associate in this category is PG Tips. I have a box of it at home, because we use it all summer long to brew iced tea. It makes a perfect strong cup that holds up to the ice. I think I need to do a mini-showdown between the YG and PG Tips, to see which basic black, bagged tea reigns supreme! It's on.
Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold ***1/2 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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