Time for Tea #3- Winchester Sunday Tea

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While clearing out the tea shelf (yep, there is an entire shelf in my kitchen dedicated to tea), I came across a lot of forgotten loose leaf teas. Now that I’ve finished off the black tea version of the No.25 samplers I bought in Brussels, I needed something light but warming and when I came across this one, it fitted the bill perfectly. It’s a lovely black tea with Vanilla and I love this one fairly milky on a cold afternoon.

They say:

A malty Assam leaf tea refined with Bourbon vanilla pieces – the highest quality vanilla money can buy.

Vanilla lovers, this blend is for you. We recommend you try it with foamed milk and a piece of cane sugar.

Time for Tea #2- Golden Nepal

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During a trip into town on Sunday for the farmers’ market, we stopped by Char (Winchester’s tea shop) so the boyfriend could choose some tea samplers for our next Tea tasting. I have to say I was seriously surprised by how into the idea he got, and we came home with 4 samples chosen by him, plus a big bag of Winchester Afternoon and another couple of samples I fancied trying. Considering when we first got together, he was a milk and 3 sugars kind of guy (he’s now weaned himself down to just the one teaspoon of the sweet stuff), I am astounded that he chose teas to drink black!

This week’s tea? Golden Nepal- chosen by Chris as he liked the name and the fact that the label said it was rare. We enjoyed this on a picnic rug on the balcony in the sunshine from our new teapot and in bone china teacups.

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They say: The small tea plantations in Nepal are still owned by families who produce their tea by hand. At altitudes of 1000-2000 meters, these fine teas are produced in very small growing areas. The result is a mild and very aromatic leaf tea with a striking, medium-sized well worked leaf and many tips. It is a tea of prime quality, soft with a light, smoky sweetness and round spicy bouquet. Unfortunately only available in small quantities but secured for you by Char.

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I say: This was lovely and not really a tea I’d have chosen myself. I feel a bit scared by blends of black tea as I feel I don’t know enough about them to be able to decide and so tend to veer towards flavoured black teas or herbal blends instead. This was gorgeous. I wouldn’t want to drink it every day as it would lose it’s magic I think. This was a very clean, fresh tasting tea with no hint of the bitterness that can come with drinking teas black. Definitely one for a special occasion. Or just another afternoon in the sun.

The boy says: I found it really refreshing and a light tea. It had no biter aftertaste and was even nicer on the second cup.

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Oh, and in the evening we sampled Winchester Afternoon. We’ll need another couple of cups of that one before we deliver a verdict!

Time for tea #1- Winchester Caravan

I like tea. A lot. So much so that I have a whole host of tins and boxes that take up an entire shelf of one of our kitchen cupboards. I love trying out new tea varieties, so when I came across taster packs of loose teas in our local tea shop, Char I spent about ten minutes narrowing down the choices and then made my way home with three. Taster packs in hand, I was struck by an idea for the blog. I don’t drink my different teas as often as I should, so with that in mind this post will be the first of a new blog series- Time for Tea. I’m looking forward to sharing my tea drinking habit with you as well as to trying some new teas out along the way.

Today’s tea is Winchester Caravan, from Char. I bought the sample size for £1 to give this a go before committing to a full size.

What’s in the tea?  Smoked black tea, green tea, oolong tea, rose petals, osmanthus, jasmine tea.

They say: Winchester caravan tea (previously called Winchester City) is an exotic Russian caravan comprising of six high quality teas. With its attractive contrast of black and green leaves and compliment of rose petals, osmanthus blossoms and jasmine, it is unique. The taste is smooth and well balanced with a tender, smokey accent accompanied by a hint of roses and jasmine.

What we did: I brewed the tea (4 heaped teaspoons) in a large teapot for around 5 minutes. This was more than enough tea for a couple of refills each. I tucked the pot in a cosy to keep warm while we enjoyed our first cup.

I say: I didn’t notice the ‘smoked’ part when I bought this, more the mix of teas and the rose petals. When I brewed the tea, there was quite a strong smoky smell which reminded me of Lapsang Souchong (a tea I really dislike) but the tea didn’ taste smoky at all. It was quite smooth and crisp with a faint hint of rose. I didn’t notice the jasmine, but I really enjoyed this tea. Not one for everyday, but a good weekend relaxing tea.

The boy says: It was alright. It tasted nicer than it smelt. Hmm, not exactly a glowing endorsementI think a trip back to Char for him to choose some trial sizes may be in order.

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We drank this black, without sugar, in our J & G Meakin St Clements cups and saucers. We picked these up with a matching coffee pot and jug from a charity shop in Bakewell ages ago and to be honest, we can’t make our minds up whether to keep them or not. They may be a little too seventies for our taste. The cups are, however, a lovely shape and really fine china- drinking this tea from them yesterday was a joy. Just not convinced about the oranges and lemons (say the bells of St Clements).

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And, as we were having tea I pinched the last scone left over from a batch I made on Thursday, with a slather of my new obsession, Hedgerow jam. No, I didn’t know that flavour existed either- now I’m on my second jar.

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Winchester Caravan is available here from Char’s website, or in their lovely little shop in Winchester.

Tea recommendations for future Time for Tea posts are very welcome.