“ Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.’ – George Orwell
Darjeeling is the tea that inspired me to begin my beautiful journey through the wide world of tea and will always reign supreme in my tea pantry! My first tea love, so to speak. I positively adore a truly great Darjeeling such as a good muscatel second flush. Autumn flush Darjeeling, I believe, has been under appreciated. Darjeeling autumn flush Gopaldhara Red Thunder Gold that I purchased through What-Cha is the best tea of any kind I have ever had the pleasure of drinking!
Along with Darjeeling tea, a great second flush, single estate, rich and malty Assam tea, tippy, with honey sweetness and subtle notes of cocoa sends me over the moon – Halmari Broken Assam tea is a marvelous example! I really love premium Assam tea!
From time to time I find myself in the mood for a full on smoky Keemun with cocoa and plummy notes or a spicy and peppery Yunnan. I do find Chinese teas quite pleasant. When I get in the mood for fine Keemun nothing else will do. My favorite Chinese tea so far is the Non-Smoky Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea from Teavivre. It has a natural caramel sweetness that is sensational!
I must also admit to an appreciation of fine Ceylon teas – Especially top-drawer low grown Ceylons such as New Vithanakande – Fantastic! Ceylon teas make superb iced tea, I think.
As far as scented teas go, I am particularly partial to floral teas such as jasmine, rose, orange blossom and violet. I absolutely love Earl Grey tea! Especially a good smoky Earl Grey tea. Earl Grey Imperial by Harney & Sons is my go to Earl Grey and my overall favorite everyday EG tea. Black currant, blueberry, apricot, orange, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, maple, almond, honey and spice are favorites as well. Pleine Lune by Mariage Frères, an exquisite blend of Chinese black tea with almond, honey and mild, sweet spices is, without a doubt, my favorite flavored tea along with Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea, a blend of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey with soft jasmine from Fujian Province, malty Assam (from the estate of Borengajuli), flavory Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), brisk and golden cup from Kenya (Kambas and Kagwe). This magnificent, magical tea was served at Queen Elizabeth II’s springtime garden party at the palace every May.
I tend to like rich and robust breakfast blends. I really enjoy a nice traditional English Breakfast or a 100% Assam Irish Breakfast tea. Hits the spot every time. Though I generally stay away from most bagged teas, I do think that Yorkshire Tea from Taylors of Harrogate – Yorkshire Gold, to be specific, is a mighty delicious British brew when I just want a quick, no frills, no fuss, good old mug of English comfort. I always have a box of it on hand next to my kettle.
I’m quite fond of various herbal teas such as rooibos, camomile and anise. Lavender tea is another favorite of mine, as is Linden tea. I detest hibiscus and mint!
Black tea and herbal tisanes are my main go to teas. I do enjoy green tea and white tea from time to time, as well as a nice oolong. But not very often. Same goes for pu‑erh tea.
My favorite purveyors of tea:
2) Mariage Frères
3) Harney and Sons
4) Smith Teamaker
5) Arbor Teas
6) Simpson and Vail
7) Upton Tea
8) The Cultured Cup
9) Happy Earth Tea
Organic tea is my preference whenever possible.
Richmond, Virginia, USA