The tea which has been fully oxidized or fermented and yields a hearty-flavored,
amber brew. The Chinese call this "red tea" (hung - ch'a).
English Breakfast Tea
The prototype of this most popular of all teas was developed over a hundred
years ago by the Scottish Tea Master Drysdale in
It was marketed simply as "Breakfast Tea". It became popular in England due to the craze
Victoria created for things Scottish (the summer home of Victoria and Albert was
the Highland castle of Balmoral).
Tea shops in London, however, changed the name
and marketed it as "English Breakfast Tea". It is a blend of fine black teas from
often including some Keemun tea. Many tea authorities suggest that the Keemun
tea blended with milk creates a bouquet that reminds people of "toast hot from
the oven" and maybe the original source for the name. It should be offered with
milk or lemon. (One never serves lemon to a guest if they request milk-the lemon
is never used. It would curdle the milk.) It may also be used to brew
Earl Grey (1764-1845) was an actual person who, though he was prime minister of
, is better remembered for the tea named after him. Tea
legends say the blend was given to him by a Chinese
Mandarin seeking to
influence trade relations. By another legend, he gave to the earl the recipe in gratitude for saving his life.
This is unlikely, especially since
the bergamot orange is unknown in China.
A smoky tea with a hint of sweetness to it, it is
served plain and is the second most popular tea in the world today. It is
generally a blend of black teas and bergamot oil. The Chinese bitter orange,
besides being introduced in Spain and Sicily was also grown on the Italian mainland around
where it gradually changed its form to citrus aurantium sub-species, bergamot.
During the 18th and 19th centuries the oil from bergamot was used to flavour snuff and gin and subsequently tea.
The likely connection is that during the Earl's time, the Greek island of Corfu was the world's leading market for
as well as the Mediterranean base for the
British Royal Navy
Although the Earl wasn't in the Navy, some of his friends may have introduced him to the oil or maybe there was a fortunate accident.
Another likely explanation of Earl Grey's link to the tea lies in the fact that when tea was coming to public attention
he was an extremely popular reforming prime minister of Britain.
For generations, the tea firms of Twinings and Jacksons have been arguing over
which firm was used by the Earl to blend his tea.
In a way, the question became superfluous when
Twinings bought out Jacksons in 1990.
Refers to tea grown in this mountain area of India. The mountain altitude and
gentle misting rains of the region, produce a unique full bodied but light with a subtly lingering aroma reminiscent of
Reserved for afternoon use, it is traditionally offered to guests plain. One might take a lemon with it, if the Darjeeling were of the highest grade, but never milk.
(Milk would "bury" the very qualities that make it unique.)
Is the most famous of China's black teas. Because of its subtle and complex
nature, it is considered the "burgundy of teas". It is a mellow tea that will stand alone as well as support sugar and/or milk.
Because of its "wine-like" quality, lemon should not be offered as the combined tastes are too tart.
In 1875 a young entrepreneur, Yu Quianchen, began producing black tea in the county of Qimenin
southwestern Anhui province of China,
where before only average quality green tea had been produced.
Since then Keemun has gained a reputation for an indescribable flavor, with hints of smoky pine, orchid,
crushed apple and a rich sweet taste.
Pu-er teas are post "fermented" (oxidized) teas. Teas which are allowed to fully fermented and then water is sprinkled on the
leaves to allow them to ferment again are known as post-fermented tea. They are named after a
tea-trading town by the same name in China's southern Yunnan province. The leaf
used is from the broad leaf variety. It is well known and respected for it's
medicinal uses of lowering cholesterol, expelling toxins, combating heat in the
body, and general fatigue. This tea is oxidized to a degree that lies between
oolong and black teas. The leaves are withered, rolled; fermented and dried
using similar methods but are then left to age in cool cellars. Sometimes the
leaves are steamed after drying or pressed into forms and then dried. Pu-er can
be aged from anywhere from one to sixty or more years, generally the more aged
the more preferred. Its flavor has an elemental or earthy smooth taste that is
quite distinct and appreciated.