Over the past few months we've been working alongside one of the leading experts in the tea industry, Will Battle, who has over 20 years experience and trained as a tea taster in India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Malawi. He's helped us develop the most beautiful blends of tea to ensure we capture exceptional quality and a renowned taste in every cup. Not only is Will an expert in his field, but he is a dear friend to Sophie and Jem who have known him all their lives after growing up in the same village in Lincolnshire, making his involvement in creating our tea blends even more special and personal. We caught up with Will to find out his tips to finding your perfect tea!
- If you only do one thing right, make it your cup of tea! With good tea, you are giving yourself the best chance of a proper cuppa. ‘Good’ tea does not have to mean whole leaf loose tea, rather well-selected tea from quality origins, blended to the taste and brewing rituals of the customer, and possibly even tailored to the local mains water...
- Good water is the cornerstone of a good cuppa, as it is more than 99.9% of what you consume. If you live east of a line drawn roughly from the Humber Estuary to the Bristol Channel, then the chances are you have hard water. In such areas, a water filter will make an enormous difference to the quality of your cuppa. Bottled mineral waters can be a mixed bag, one major French alpine brand, in particular, is substantially worse for tea making than hard English tap water. If you are from a soft water area, then lucky you!
- When making tea in a pot, don’t lose too much sleep over the Milk-in-First debate: good water and good tea are much more essential. Only if you are making tea in a cup with a teabag then ensure to brew your tea before you add the milk, otherwise, the water temperature will be too low, and the tea will not brew properly. There are hundreds of different tea preparation and consumption rituals around the world. It is not for anyone else to tell you their routine is the best.
- If you like sugar then add it, a cuppa with one teaspoon of sugar is still a much healthier proposition than a can of fizzy pop.
- If a ‘traditional English Breakfast’ doesn’t float your boat, there are other black teas to explore depending upon your preferences. Those looking for a malty, full-bodied ‘stand your spoon up tea’ should try an Assam. Those interested in aroma and nuance would do well to try a Darjeeling. If you like a smoky Islay whisky, then Lapsang Souchong could be your tea.
- There are six different styles of tea processing. Black tea (in which the leaf has been oxidised) and green tea (where it remains un-oxidised) are the two most commonly seen in the UK, but there are some other less well-known styles that are well worth a try. Oolong tea, for example, can have a seductive bouquet of lilies and sweet pea, and although it comes from the same plant Camellia sinensis, it is as different to an English Breakfast teabag as Sauvignon Blanc is to Shiraz.
- Don’t imagine that using teabags means you need to compromise on quality. If your experience of using a teabag is bad, it is simply because the tea inside it is not up to scratch. The best tea bags (such as the Sophie Allport range) contain the same top-quality teas found in premium loose-leaf blends.
- Experiment! Tea is not expensive; the very priciest teas don’t cost much more than 50p per cup, so your outlay is much more modest than other artisanal products. It means you can try numerous types and work out which origins or seasons are best suited to your taste buds.
- If you are concerned about caffeine, the world of botanicals is so broad that there is probably an infusion to suit you. A cup of camomile before bed, peppermint after lunch as a palate cleanser, or milled rooibos brewed under pressure and drunk like an espresso show the diversity of the world of infusions.
- Do not let the process worry you. For a drink that should shout positivi-tea, there is too much snobbery and etiquette putting would-be tea enthusiasts off. Ignore the snobs, if you like your tea a particular way then stick with it.
Have you tried our different blends of tea?
Read all about our different blends of tea below, and why not try them out for yourself? Our teabags make an excellent gift idea for tea lovers, and pair perfectly with a fine bone china mug and a beautiful teapot.
Take a moment with our herbal blend tea that delicately balances earthy relaxing notes of camomile and hops with a zesty nudge of lemongrass and a subtle hint of rose. The blend is designed to be slowly enjoyed and will not go bitter no matter how long it is brewed.
Our Rwandan high grown tea is perfect for your afternoon pick me up. Its rich depth of flavour and enticing aroma results in a luxurious golden colour, blended with the ever-popular second flush Assam to please the pallet.
Our Kenyan small holder tea from the mountains East of the Rift Valley, is perfect for your quick brew, being a clean and reliable taste known for its bright golden colour. It is perfectly paired with the rich, malty notes of Assam tea to bring you a fresh morning pick me up.
We'd love to hear all about your favourite tea, and what makes it perfect for you? Perhaps you have a favourite mug, or you like it extra sweet. Let us know in the comments below.