7 February, 2016 by Simon Descoteau
Tesco’s Finest English Breakfast Tea
Welcome to the first post of 2016. hopefully the first of many. A lot has happened “in the real world” that I shan’t bore you with, but the main point is I should have some more time to post rather interesting posts on very interesting things.
So to kick things off, I thought I’d write a brief review on the surprisingly excellent bagged tea from Tesco no less.
Before we get into the meat of the review, I’d just like to outline my hot beverage reviewing process. Now as you know, many people drink many teas in very many different ways, as per their personal preferences. Our views on the teas we drink are greatly varied by the way in which we partake in that tea. If we try to brew other teas in the same way as our favourite tea, we may find it lacking. As such, whenever I first come across a new tea, I experiment greatly with how I drink the tea. I use various temperatures, brewing times, and accompaniments, to see how the tea performs and where it works best for my personal tastes before giving it a final rating based on how I best enjoy it.
Enough of the boring stuff, on to this surprisingly fine tea. Now almost everyone agrees that the taste of loose leaf tea is much better than that of a teabag and to date I have not found a teabag that was as good as loose leaf tea. Some did come close with their large pyramid style bags, but none could quite match up to the loose leaf equivalents. There are many reasons for this, and a topic for a whole another blog post, but the main point is that in the modern world we do not always have time for the best, and compromises must be made. That’s where breakfast tea comes into it.
Generally speaking, mornings are when we are most rushed for time and as much as we’d love to, we really don’t have the time to take out our tea pots, and wait for a proper cup of loose leaf tea to brew, and then clean up the mess afterwards. And at times like this, the teabag is our best friend.
The teabag is a blend of Assam and Kenyan tea, though what percentage of each it is it does not say. The bags themselves appear to be of decent quality, with no concerns for their ripping open in the middle of a vigorous stirring of the tea. They are also fairly flat while still having some room for the tea to expand, but not as much as a pyramid bag would. The teabag also does an excellent job of containing all the leaves, as I am yet to find any small bits of tea leaves floating in my cup.
How I like to brew it
This is of course highly subjective, and my opinion on how I like this particular tea so your mileage may vary. Personally, with a breakfast tea, I like it to be very strong, fairly sweet with a creamy mouth feel to stand up to the flavours of my buttery toast. So I like to pour freshly boiled water over the tea bag, 1 teaspoon of sugar already in the mug, and let it steep for 3-4 minutes, then mix in some milk or creamer and dispose of the teabag.
As I’ve stated earlier, the tea is a blend of Assam and Kenyan tea. On a recent trip to Kenya on safari in the Masai Mara I fell in love with the way Kenyan tea was very strong, without ever being bitter. There was a very distinct clean flavour and presence in the mouth even without sugar.
This teabag does not manage the same strength for sure, but once you add the malty notes of the Assam tea you find a tea that starts strong on the tongue, flowing into a taste I can only describe as comforting and warm and finishes with a buttery smoothness.
I love the fact that there is no bitterness in this tea, despite a 4 minute brew, where as with other tea bags I have found they get bitter long before the tea develops. At no point does the smooth finish have to contend with bitterness and if it weren’t for my sweet tooth in the morning I would go without, but that small hint of sugar really adds to the warm middle flavours.
Just to clarify my personal definition of value, I feel in all purchases the price is secondary to the enjoyment or use of the product. The cheapest item may not always be worth even the small amount of money it costs, just as an expensive item may give lasting benefit far greater than the initial outlay. In this respect, I rate this tea really highly. I find the taste far more appealing than the popular teabags available readily in the market, and the price is almost exactly the same as the leading brands here so you do get a lot for your money.
I would strongly urge the readers who have a Tesco local to them to pop in and grab a small box to try as honestly this tea hits all the right spots for a daily morning cuppa. Thank you for reading through this review, I hope you found it informative if not interesting. I promise to keep the next review shorter, and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!