Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: S. D. Bell's Natural Leaf English Breakfast Tea

One of my favorite pastimes growing up was watching British comedies with my father. I was already a tea drinker back then, and took note of how the characters in each show religiously drank tea throughout the day. I think this is where my fondness for English Breakfast tea began. Since then, English Breakfast has been one of my most favorite teas to drink.  I'm always on the lookout for a good blend.

I was delighted when importer Best International Teas sent me a generous sample of S.D. Bell's Natural Leaf English Breakfast Tea, which is their flagship product. S.D. Bell's was founded in 1887 in Belfast, and they are on their 4th generation as tea purveyors. That's a pedigree that Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet!) from "Keeping Up Appearances" would find quite impressive. The tea is a blend of Assam and Ceylon leaves. The leaves are broken, with a few stray golden tips sprinkled in.

The dry leaf has a pleasing sweet, almost caramel-like aroma. The brew is surprisingly smooth and easy to drink. It's not as strong or astringent as I was expecting but yet has a nice little punch of acidity to it with an underlying sweetness. Slightly malty but with a hint of citrus, it's a refreshing morning cup, or a bright afternoon lift. It has the robust flavor I look for in a breakfast tea.
I don't usually add milk and sugar to my cup, but this is of course a tea that would hold up well to it. Adding a bite of scone with clotted cream wouldn't hurt, either. This is a British blend fit for Hyacinth's Royal Doulton with the hand painted periwinkles!

Interested in trying tea from S.D. Bell's? You can purchase tea online, or stay tuned to Tea Happiness for a giveaway from Best International Teas!

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