For The Love Of Tea!

Recently I've been cutting back on my sugar in-take. I've been a milk and two sugars person in both tea and coffee for ever. However following a trip to Sumatra in 2016 where no fresh milk was available I came back with a new determination to drink my coffee black without sugar at least once a day. A year has now passed and I now really enjoy my first coffee of the day black and sugarless. I appreciate the different taste profiles of the coffees we stock which under the old regime weren't so apparent. For me it says something about the quality of the coffee now available.

I contrast this with tea. My first beverage of the morning is always a mug of tea. Once again I attempted to remove sugar from the drink however found that it simply tasted too bitter. I reintroduced a single sugar to take some of the edge off this bitterness and still find that my enjoyment of this amazing beverage has been lost.

Today though I tasted our in-house English Breakfast tea, a standard black tea blend of Assam andCeylon teas that have been made using the CTC method (cut, tear, curl). It's a high volume processing method introduced by the British in India over a century ago.

We place the tea leaves in an "empty" tea bag which then sits on the side of the mug. We pour hot water over the bag and leave to infuse for a minimum of 3 minutes. I add fresh milk to my teato taste and finally my "cut down" one sugar. Hey presto that wonderful tea flavour is back. The astringent bitterness from a standard tea bag vanishes and I at last once again enjoy that cuppa.

It's interesting to compare the tea market to that of coffee. The tea market is dominated by the global tea brands turning out tons and tons of very average product. What happens, tea sales decline. Compare this with the coffee market. Full of small independents searching out interesting high quality coffees and driving the market in an upward direction.

Tea is inherently a great product but as coffee once found if you want to see growth in a market you have to focus on quality. That requires energy and enthusiasm and a little less focus on the bottom line.

David Warr