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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: The Boston Tea Company’s English Breakfast Tea

© 2010 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject: English Breakfast Tea from The Boston Tea Company. (More info on the tea vendor.)


Water temperature: 212° F
Steeping time: 4-6 minutes

Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings added: N/A
Aroma, dry tea leaves: Fresh, rich, nutty aroma
Aroma in the cup, plain: Enticing
Taste in the cup, plain: Nutty, hint of smokiness, not bitter
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: Nutty, hint of smokiness
Taste in the cup, enhanced: Nutty, hint of smokiness, fruity as the tea cools

Additional Infusion(s): Did only one extra infusion, mild (see comments)

Tea blends are usually done to combine the flavor characteristics of teas in such a way as to create a new taste sensation. In that regard, the tea vendor succeeded admirably. Nutty, hint of smokiness, and a definite fruitiness that came through as the tea cooled in the cup. Best of all, if you like your black tea straight, here is another good option. There is no trace of bitterness or astringency. There is a slight tang in the aftertaste, but quite tolerable. The tea is also great with milk and a bit of sweetener. It becomes smooth but still nutty and a tad smoky with that fruitiness coming through as it cools.

The label on the back of the pouch gave nice steeping instructions (greatly appreciated). Again, they cover both the loose leaf version as well as the bagged version. We opted for a 5-minute steep time (that’s the problem with these ranges). The first infusion was perfect. The second infusion was a bit too light.

According to our experience, we would like to make this suggestion:

1st infusion – steep for 4 minutes
2nd infusion – steep for 5 to 6 minutes

This will even out the infusions and extend your tea drinking pleasure, making this a very affordable breakfast tea and one tasty enough for every day.

Tea vendors need to realize that tea drinkers out there are getting more knowledgeable by the minute. They know, for example, that all black tea from China is not alike. They know that India produces at least three distinct tasting types of tea (Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri) and that within those there are further taste divisions (CTC vs Orthodox Assam, for example). While I don’t want Boston Tea Co. to give away its “secret formula” for this tea blend, a little more detail would be nice. Is it Keemun and an Autumn Flush Darjeeling? Maybe an Orthodox or even Golden Tippy Assam? Just wondering.

No matter which teas they are, this is truly a unique and wonderful tasting Breakfast Blend, as you can see in the photo of the leaves (nice-sized pieces) before and after steeping:

One final note here. Hubby paired a cuppa this tea (with milk and sweetener in it) with some semi-sweet dark chocolate and says it’s to die for. Chocoholics, rejoice!

NOTE: This pouch is what the Boston Tea Company uses for samples. Their normal pouches are opaque, not clear, and block out light, very important for preserving your fine teas.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

1 comment:

  1. (from ThreeBeesTea In regards to where the tea comes from-I did a review and put all the info the blender had about the tea in my review and was chastised by a reader (you-know-who) for not saying from what region the tea had come. Well, I did not know. Readers should understand we reviewers do tell them what we know about the tea. If the info is not given obviously it is not included in the review.
    Your reviews are always well done and informative.


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