Tag Archive for Red Tea

Tea 201 - Indian Black Tea - Assam vs Darjeeling

Indian Teas: Assam vs Darjeeling

Indian Teas: Assam vs Darjeeling

Assam and Darjeeling…some of you may have heard those words thrown around (I know I have).  They are both black teas grown in different regions of Indian (the Assam and Darjeeling regions…guess which ones came from where).  Oh, and they both have good amounts of caffeine.  That is as far as the similarities go.


Assam tea is said to be darker and redder in color than Darjeeling.  According to some, Darjeeling does not change color when brewed.


According to the Tea Board of India, the Darjeeling leaves are smaller than Assam.  Darjeeling are also said to have fine hairs on the underside, which are lost during drying.


Assam is easier to grow and stronger in flavor, which makes it a preferable candidate to brands for Lipton, Tetley or Celestial Seasonings.  Assam grows year round.  The region of Assam is also considering larger than Darjeeling.  Darjeeling, on the other hand, has four separate growing periods, which produce smaller loads.  There are 80 Darjeeling tea gardens in less than 70 square miles compared to the 800 tea estates in Assam.


Darjeeling is harder to grow than Assam therefore making it more expensive.  It also has a shorter harvesting season than Assam.


It is said that brewed Assam is stronger in flavor than Darjeeling.  The Tea Board of India describes Darjeeling as having a flavor like a ‘delicate muscatel.’  This lends itself to comparing Darjeeling teas as the ‘champagne of teas.’

There is also a lesser known third type of Indian tea called Nilgiris, or Blue Mountain, which is found at the southwestern tip of India.  This type of tea can be harvested year round.  In fact, Nilgiri produces for a rare type of tea called ‘frost tea.’  This tea is created when the leaves are harvested in winter after receiving a gentle coating of frost.

Cool, no?  What do you guys think?

Tea 201 - English Tea

While the English are known for drinking copious amounts of tea, we all know by now that they did not invent the leaf.  So…how did the leaf migrate from Asia to the British Isles?

Tea first reached Europe by the way of Dutch and Portuguese traders in 1610.  There is a legend that King Charles II grew up in exile in Portugal and become accustomed to drinking tea.  In fact, he married Catharine of Braganza who was both Portuguese and an avid tea drinker.  It is said that when she came to England to marry the monarch, she brought with her a casket of tea.  She was known as England’s first tea-drinking queen.

It is also said that it was the coffee houses of London that brought the teas for the masses.  One of the first was a house owned by Thomas Garway who started selling the drink and leaves in 1657.  In as 35tt3e as three years, he began advertising the selling of tea at £6 and £10!

Tea gained popularity in the 1700.  However, it was to the distress of the tea owners as it cut their sales of gin and ale.  This was also bad news for the government who depended on the revenue of liquor taxes.  In 1676, the government tried to slow the growing popularity by putting a tax on tea.  By the mid 18th century, the tax had reached as high as 199%!  So the Brits created a whole new industry: tea smuggling.

Once tea became more accepted and the taxes lifted, this allowed for the creation of a new tea custom: Afternoon tea.  It is said that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford created the idea of afternoon tea as a bridge to gap lunch and dinner.  This eventually led to the popularity of cream tea for not only the high classes but the working classes as well.  This then enabled tea to embed itself into all aspects of British culture.

What a fascinating history, no?  I love a good cup of Cream Tea, don’t you?

Morning Cup #49 - Organic Peppermint

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I woke up on the grumpy side of the bed this morning. So, I instantly gravitated to this Organic Peppermint from Taylors of Harrogate to soothe my nerves.

Crisp and clean, this tea remains invigorating throughout the infusion. I think it's best hot, but even chilled a bit it proves quite refreshing.

The aroma and flavor are spot on what I expected and was hoping for.

What's in your cup?

Morning Cup #48 - Organic African Nectar

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I'm enjoying a nice light Organic African Nectar in my cup this Morning from Mighty Leaf Tea, who happen to have 20% off selected tea gifts today!

This rooibos smells and tastes of invigorating citrus. The texture on the tongue is smoother than anticipated. A pleasant surprise actually. It makes this tea easy to drink all day!

What's in your cup?

Morning Cup #36 - Vanilla Rooibos

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In the cup this morning is a Vanilla Rooibos from Adagio Teas.

Like most Rooibos tisanes, this one brews a wonderfully vivid red liquor. The aroma is light and sweet with hints of honey amongst the clear vanilla overtones.

On the palate the same vanilla overtones come through nicely with balance. A nice surprise considering how often vanilla is overpowering in a tea.

What's in your cup?