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Tea of the month – July

MANGO BLACK TEA

With mango season in full swing, it only makes sense to pay tribute to our Indian roots and choose our black mango tea as one of our teas of the month. The bright yellow pulp, protected by a thick waxy skin, dark green with a rosy blush, is synonymous with summer desserts. Our black tea, which is scattered with sunflower blossoms, will bring this sunshine into your tea break, along with a little caffeine boost.

Whilst lovely as a hot brew, we’re really enjoying this tea blend as a cold brew drink at the moment. Given the recent heat wave, it made sense to us to develop a range of cold drinks, and this has proven to be one of the most popular choices with customers in the shop! Cold brewing means it tastes naturally smooth and sweet, so there is no need to add sugar, like you usually would with an iced tea. Without getting too scientific, this is because cold water extracts a different chemical balance from the tea than hot water, resulting in less of that black tea bitterness.

Cold brewing is something you can easily try at home. All you need is a large bottle, a few scoops of tea, and a space in the fridge! We usually brew ours overnight, but it needs a minimum of 4-6 hours. The sunflower petals and mango cubes make this a really pretty blend to have brewing.

 

HAPPINESS INFUSION

Our happiness infusion has this name for a reason! A cheerful blend of lemon verbena, rose buds, fennel and rosehips, this is an uplifting infusion which helps to clear the senses and revitalise the spirit. Winner of a Great Taste Award, this blend harks back to the age of foraging and preserving plants and herbs for medicinal purposes.

Lemon verbena has a number of health benefits, primarily decreasing inflammation, thereby protecting muscles and boosting the immune system. It can also clear up congestion and reduce fevers. When paired with rosehip, a seed famous for its high vitamin C content, it is great for preventing and treating colds and flus. The delicate rose buds add a gentle floral flavour, as well as some colour.

As this is a wellness infusion it won’t over brew like a regular tea would. We usually recommend leaving for around 5 minutes before enjoying. If you leave the tea for longer however, you will notice that the brew, initially a light green, will darken to a russet red as the rose hips come into play and it will taste more tangy. This is a truly versatile tea as it can adapt to different taste preferences, without getting bitter.

Breaking the back of the tea industry in Darjeeling

Storms are brewing in the eastern state of West Bengal, as India’s most famous tea-growing region is under conflict.

Darjeeling with its beautiful sprawling estates and unique micro-climate, by many considered to be the Mecca of tea, produces some of the world’s most expensive black premium teas, including the highly coveted First Flush teas. Prized for their distinctive flavor and aroma, Darjeeling teas, also known as the ‘Champagnes of Teas’, are largely exported to European markets.

Due to the current conflict, Darjeeling tea estates have lost an entire harvest leading to an estimated loss of $22.5 million.

The 34-day strike by West Bengal Gurkha, who are seeking statehood, announced the agitation will “turn terrible” if their demands are not met.  The strike halted the second flush tea harvest (when the leaves are at their finest), closed factories, and has idled several hundred thousand tea workers across the northern reaches of the state. Prolonged unrest may prevent the third and final harvest of autumnal tea.

Food is in short supply, traffic is unable to move unhindered, and the ban on internet services has been extend.  Except for pharmacies and hospitals, all other shops, restaurants, and hotels remain closed. Banks and ATMs are closed.  Bars and pubs are closed and outdoor sporting events canceled.  Schools and colleges have extended their summer break until the unrest ends.

The ongoing unrest in the hill has added to the strain on the tea gardens that are already reeling under the impact of climate change, a drop in global prices and high production costs.

Support Darjeeling

To show our support for the Darjeeling region, we are offering a 30% discount on our Darjeeling First Flush till the end of August.

Our Darjeeling First Flush is light and aromatic with a delicate hint of nutmeg, slight astringency and sweet undertones.

 

Could this be the Best Earl Grey Tea?

Earl Grey is perhaps one of the most widely drunk teas in the world and one that can easily be considered truly English. Brewed with care, it proves to be a rewarding cup of tea; its easily recognisable aroma warming and comforting.  Yet combine it with a careful selection of fragrant flowers and you will find yourself immersing in a whole new experience.

Extravagant Earl Grey is one of our new bespoke handmade blends and already an extremely popular choice at our Tea Rooms. The smooth, strong character of Chinese black tea and the distinct citrus flavour of oil of bergamot merge effortlessly with the complex flowery undertones. And by ‘flowery’ we mean the slightly earthy, complementary aroma of lavender, the elegant sweetness of red rose petals and the delicate clove-like hints of cornflowers. The result is quite astonishing – an Earl Grey with a healthy dose of extravagance.

This tea is not only a treat for the pallet, but also a feast for the eyes. The Extravagant Earl Grey’s visual beauty is especially emphasised by the rich blues of the cornflowers, a flower that was appreciated for its decorative value even back in the Victorian times.

So wherever you long for a little pleasant twist on the old time classic or are searching for an intriguing gift for a tea lover, please have look at our online shop.

-JKR

What is Keemun Tea?

The story of tea begun in ancient China and its true origins are steeped in wondrous myths and legends. It is no wonder then that, over the course of many centuries, China has managed to produce literally hundreds of different teas. Although green tea has always been the beverage of choice there, it is the black teas for which China is most famous in the West.

One such popular black Chinese tea is Keemun. The name derives from the place where it was first grown – Qimen in Anhui province, located in central China. Keemun was one of the first teas to be brought to the West in the 17th century and nowadays is considered to be the elite of the Chinese teas, making it one of the most popular teas grown in the Anhui province.

Our organically cultivated Keemun produces a lovely coppery brew, with a sweet and floral aroma and a winy, fruity flavour.  Due to its distinctive, but balanced taste it has become a base for many popular teas, for example English Breakfast.

Keemun, with its rich warm flavour and beautiful liquor, is bound to be a real treat for all the tea lovers. Yet, if you are new to Chinese teas, this would also be a good tea to start your experience with.

-JKR

What is First Flush Darjeeling Tea?

The Darjeeling District found in India is well known for its tea and perhaps the most special one of them all is the Darjeeling First Flush.

This seasonal tea is the first harvest, or ‘flush’, of the year after the winter has come and gone and the first leaves of spring are ready to be plucked. Typically, the First Flush is in season from March to May, but each year’s harvest is different, as much depends on weather patterns and the climate itself.

The new shoots that make up this tea are rather tender and of a very light green colour. As this tea is considered to be of a very high quality, it requires careful infusion of no longer than two or three minutes in boiling water that has been allowed to cool a little. It is best served without milk, though some enjoy the Indian style of serving and add a lump of sugar.

Although the brew produced by the First Flush is light and bright in colour, this can prove to be very deceptive as its refreshing flavour can be quite intense due to the abundance of essential oils. This tea is marked by a distinctive floral character with a beautiful aroma and a complex flavour.

Still, one ought to keep in mind that each spring flush yields a certain degree of variety in both the flavour and the aroma, which in turn produces a tea that is slightly different each year. Very much like wine.

As the high global demand for this unique tea often outstrips the limited supply, Darjeeling First Flush can be a very expensive tea and not readily available all year round. However, here at Camellia’s we do believe that this stimulating tea is truly worth it.

-JKR