Tea drinking reaches new heights with the introduction of a variety based on exquisite fragrances.
The English love their tea. They have devoted countless hours to extolling the virtues of this well-known botanical since the early 1700s, when importers, such as Twinings, introduced the drink from Asia.
As the English travelled the globe on imperial quests, they took with them their tea drinking habits so that now the four main varieties – black, green, oolong and white – are consumed throughout the English-speaking world, as well as Asia.
In England especially, the art of tea making and the pleasure of tea drinking has long been elevated to a revered pass time. The grand hotels and eateries of London, such as The Connaught and The Wolseley, offer high tea sittings that are the hottest social occasion in town.
What’s more, a small group of tea connoisseurs, including Tim d’Offay of Postcard Teas, are preserving the history and traditions of English tea blending but with a contemporary flourish.
As blending becomes more fashionable, new varieties and innovations are appearing. Lyn Harris the perfumer and founder of luxury fragrance brand Miller Harris recently worked with d’Offay to develop three distinct perfumed tea varieties utilising the fragrances of her exquisite perfumes.
The teas, based on a selection of black and oolong teas from the finest tea gardens in the East, are complemented with Harris’s favourite natural essences to create unique blends that follow the traditions of perfume with top, heart and base notes all present.
The results are three utterly unique blends: subtly scented The Bergamot (featuring top notes of bergamot and tangerine), The Petales (with a heart of Taiwanese white tip oolong, geranium bourbon and vanilla bourbon) and peppy The Fume (a smoky tea with top notes of cinnamon and cardamom).
In true English fashion these teas can now be enjoyed in the Miller Harris’s Mayfair perfumery accompanied by delicate cakes and sweet delights, which complement the natural essences that Lyn has used in the teas.
For those of us unable to indulge in this London treat, the art of tea brewing at home is perhaps worth considering.
How should tea be stored?
Tea absorbs moisture and kitchen smells. To keep your tea fresh and avoid spoiling the flavour, keep loose tea or teabags in a sealed jar or tin.
How do I make a good pot of tea?
These are the golden rules:
- Tea loves oxygen – it helps the flavour develop, so always use freshly drawn cold water in the kettle.
- Make sure your pot is clean.
- Warm the pot by swirling a small amount of boiled water in it.
- For black tea, only pour on freshly boiled water and do not over-boil it.
- For green tea, always use the water just at the boil.
- One teaspoon of loose tea per person and one teaspoon for the pot is about right, but add as much or as little to make it to the strength you like.
For those whom prefer tea bags…
We recommend that you allow the teabag to brew for two and a half to three minutes. This allows the flavour to fully develop. Then add milk or lemon or enjoy it black, whatever your preference.
How long should I allow loose tea to brew?
We recommend that you allow loose tea to brew in a teapot for up to seven minutes. The general rule is: the larger the leaf, the longer the brewing time. Traditional blends such as Earl Grey and Lady Grey need around five minutes, while a smaller leaf tea will only need about four minutes.
Does loose tea make better tea than teabags?
Both have their benefits. For many people, the ritual of preparing loose tea is a pleasure in itself, so this contributes to the enjoyment, but teabags can be more convenient.
Should the milk go in first or second?
Historically, the “milk in first” rule was to protect the fine bone china it was served in – it’s a very individual thing.