About This Tea
Classification: Black Tea Blend
Ingredients: Black Tea, Natural Flavours, Pink Peppercorns, Strawberry Pieces.
Brew Time: 3-5 Minutes
Supplier: Tea Leaf London
Like some long forgotten childhood sweet with captivating fruitful strawberry notes combined with a synthetic and sweet aroma.
The synthetic aroma stirred up conflicting feelings that made me dubious about how this blend would taste, yet I was excited to try a strawberry tea. When steeped for the recommended 5 minutes, I found the actual tea to leave quite a harsh and bitter flavour in the mouth, yet you will see from the picture that the leaves are fairly good quality, not being fanning’s or dust, but being a decent size for black tea leaves.
I then steeped No.67 for a lesser time of 2-3 minutes. I’m not a massive fan of a strong black tea, so assumed this would be more aligned with my preferences. I’ve also found that black teas blended with fruity flavours can either be done really well or really badly and I have yet come across a mediocre or in-between. No. 67, you’ll be glad to hear (I hope), is one of the perfectly mixed, well-blended teas. The taste is fruity, but not overpoweringly so, providing a lovely subtle berry flavour with a minor peppery finish, which is an unexpectedly nice addition to the palate. There were times when I even wished the peppery profile was a little stronger, adding a more savoury to the sweet. However, there’s still just enough juxtaposition of flavourings to delight and surprise the senses.
Sweet: Unlike the aroma, I didn’t find the flavour to be synthetic, but nor is it particularly sweet, in the way sweets can be. Adding a little honey sweetens the cup, whilst enhancing the strawberry and toning down the pepper. I usually avoid adding sugar to tea as I find it to taste quite artificial. Therefore it's no surprise that sugar provides a slightly sweeter note, but also gives the cup a synthetic taste, making the strawberry taste less authentic. A no go for me.
Milk: I ummed and ahhhed over adding milk to this blend, but when I finally went for it I found the cup actually was amazing, despite fruity blends and milk often not being complimentary. Milk served to tone down any harsh bitter flavours of the tea, as well as removing the peppery taste and adding a creamy note that combines so well with strawberry. It’s literally like drinking liquid strawberries and cream. Soooo Scrumptious! Definitely my favourite way to drink No.67. Pair with cucumber sandwiches and plain scones for a suitably British summer feel.
Iced: It's not often I find a black tea that I enjoy iced without any additions, but this is one of them. When cooled the tea settles into a smooth flavour, the strawberry tasting a little synthetic but not unpleasent. The whole drink becomes so refreshing! Add some cucumber, strawberries, mint and lime for extra refreshment! I can easily imagine making a cheeky cocktail by adding Pimms and fruits!
I am usually a little hesitant about blends that list “flavours” or “flavouring” in the ingredients. Similarly, I am always disheartened with blends that don’t state the type or origin of the tea leaves. I like to know exactly what I’m consuming so I can be assured on quality. Despite these niggley little qualms, I feel that this is one of those unique teas that can seem a bit unusual, but somehow just works really well. There’s also something about the thought of strawberry's and black tea that seems extremely and apologetically British. I don't mean in the patriotic way... I mean in the uniting of cultures kind of way. Both tea and strawberries are both strongly associated with British culture, however the tea in No.67 is most likely from the East and the strawberries likely grown in Europe, and you know what, I love that. It’s amazing that we live in a world where we can share resources and trade in global collaboration and trade. With the UK voting to leave the European Union, now more than ever we should be embracing other cultures and identities, uniting with rather than segregating everything considered “foreign”, in order to continue economic growth and social stability, because at the end of the day without embracing other cultures we would never have had tea in the UK, and that’s such a sad thing to imagine.
If you fancy trying No.67 out you can get it from here or if you have already tried share your thoughts!