tea tests

There are so many tea brands, blends, infusions and flavours in shops it's sometimes hard to know what to choose. Which to pick if you want to try something new? Buying a box of 80 is always a bit of a risk...

The blurb on the packaging always sounds good, but that's written by someone who is trying to make you buy the product in question. What would the man (or woman) on the street say? What really is the difference between the taste of Earl Grey and Lady Gray, or Darjeeling and Ceylon?

To answer these questions, we decided to be scientific. Blind tea tests would be conducted, with willing volunteers. Three teas at a time would be posted out with brewing instructions only. No trace of brand or type of tea would be sent, and the testers' opinions would be listed online for your reading pleasure.

So who were the mysterious tea testers? Why should you trust them? Their biographies can be found by clicking here. They are a diverse bunch, all of whom are deeply committed to tea.

What were the first batch of teas tested? And what was the feedback? Keep reading... As time goes by, we will build up a compendium of descriptions and summaries for your browsing pleasure.

A note of caution before you begin: for the first tea test, teaandcake packaged all teas in paper envelopes. As Tea Taster Geof realised, this storage was not sufficient to stop the aroma of the spicy chai tea seeping and creeping into the other tea samples. We will switch to plastic packaging next time, and warn you the reader back at home: store your teas with caution, or they all may taste the same...

tea tests 1

A) clipper organic english breakfast

Brewing Instructions: one teabag per. person. Boil freshly drawn water. Infuse for two to five minutes. Sweeten if preferred.

The packaging says: "a delicious, full bodied blend of the finest organic Assam and Ceylon teas".

Tea Tasters Said: Simple, 'no-frills' bag. Mild and fresh. A medium strength tea which brewed well. This tea was spot-able as a "wake up" Breakfast Tea blend - though some people said that they would need something stronger first thing.
> click here to read the full de-t-ailed feedback...

B) twinings aromatics chai

Brewing Instructions: brew for three to five minutes. Can be drunk with milk and sweetened.

The packaging says: A tea with the mellow flavour of Indian spices

Tea Testers Said: Slightly weak tea, with a sweet, peppery smell and quite a strongly cinnamon and cloves taste. Some people also tasted mint. Would be a good afternoon pick-me-up. Noticeably a Chai - infuse in hot milk with honey on the stove for 30 minutes for a more authentic Indian tea experience. Fresh and zingy.
> click here to read the full de-t-ailed feedback...

C) PG tips decaf

Brewing Instructions: Use one bag per. cup, add freshly boiled water and allow to infuse your preferred strength.

The packaging says: Your natural source of antioxidants!

The Tea Testers Said: A strong brew, quite dark tasting and creamy. Noticeably PG Tipps! Did the triangular bag give this away? Interestingly, no tea tester spotted this as a decaf, though it was described as 'unsatisfying' due to the lack of caffeine...
> click here to read the full de-t-ailed feedback...

tea tests 2


Brewing Instructions: Brew for three to five minutes. Drink black, or with a little touch of milk.

The packaging says: “From the foothills of the Himalayas – North East India. The high altitude, soil and climate of the Darjeeling plantations, at 6-7000 feet, are the conditions that create this unique taste of this tea. A light golden tea, which has a character likened to the muscatel grape. Ideal in the afternoon or as an elegant accompaniment with lunch. A delicate tasting tea.”

Tea Tasters Said: A bit like Earl Grey, only weaker. Pale, savoury, slightly bitter tannin taste: “like sucking on a twopence piece”. Not a big hit with the tea testers, but considered quite a standard cup.

> click here to read the full de-t-ailed feedback...


Brewing Instructions: Add freshly boiled water and allow to brew for 2 – 4 minutes. Add sugar or honey to taste. Delicious with or without milk. Also with lemon, or as an iced tea with mint.

The packaging says: Naturally caffine free. High in antioxidants that can help protect your immune system from free radicals. Low in tannin. Allows restful sleep. Tea for any time. Gentle and soothing, rooibos tea is well known for its many health properties.

Tea Testers Said: most testers spotted this straight off as a Red Bush tea. A good, smooth taste, sweet smell. not at all bitter, refreshing, “eminently suppable” and goes well with a nice bun. Very drinkable, gentle and warm: a good afternoon tea. Fruity, woody and rich rather than tea tasting. Not recommended with honey. One tea tester said it tasted like pickled garlic. TeaandCake wonder where they stored the teabags.

> click here to read the full de-t-ailed feedback...


Brewing Instructions: Place one teabag into a cup or mug. Add freshly boiled water, leave to brew for three to five minutes according to taste. Squeeze the bag with a spoon, then remove.

The packaging says: Pungent leaves of peppermint and spearmint. A refreshing blend for any time of the day.

The Tea Testers Said: A refreshing mint tea. Surprisingly good (and even mintier?) with milk, also good with sugar. A, calm, smooth, sophisticated cuppa that has an authentic mint taste like XXX mints or toothpaste. Spicy and fragrant, this will help clear your nose… unless you don’t like herbal teas, in which case you wouldn’t wish this on a starving cat in a lifeboat.

> click here to read the full de-t-ailed feedback...

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