Summer is gone, temperatures are starting to drop little by little and so we are adapting to this change. It is amazing to see how the weather can set the mood for certain types of teas and makes us crave for different types of food: more comforting, hearty and filling. Now living in London where skies are usually cloudy and it is a bit chilly all year round, I can also understand why tea is such a good choice. London weather and tea are the perfect marriage and a nice warm cup of tea is something we happily welcome at all times!
In the summer time I usually drink a lot of green tea. Any green tea in the morning is the perfect wake-up call and then a lighter green tea or a flowery white tea during the day makes my day. Autumn, however, calls for black tea whether it is a pure tea or a blend. A cup of Earl Grey in the mornings is a happy choice to start the day, the bergamot aroma and taste is very pleasant and relaxing; a second flush Darjeeling is also a special treat at any time of the day and a warm malty Assam is always welcome too. Basically any robust black tea is good to warm us up, as they can be drunk a higher temperatures than green and white teas. They are also really versatile in terms of food pairing and go well with the traditional finger sandwiches, pastries and cakes. Many of them can be also drunk with milk although there are some exceptions. As a general “rule” no sugar, milk, honey or lemon should be added to any special or orthodox tea. That is the case of the Darjeeling tea and the case of mostly any white, oolong, green and pu’ erh teas and the reason is not merely protocol nor etiquette. The rationale behind it is that these teas are valued for their own taste and quality, for the harvest, seasons and regions they come from and its particularities in terms of aroma, body, look and taste. So, adding sugar or milk to a special tea will spoil the unique characteristics of that particular tea.
To officially welcome this new season I have decided to make a basic list of tea suggestions that I hope will keep us happy and warm during the next months. As you will see, I have also included in the list one Japanese green tea, the matcha, because it is a frothy, thick, bitter and strong tea that works perfectly well for cold weathers too. So this is a list of classic pure black teas and blends (plus one green tea) that you could definitely try or use as a guide to add some new ones to your stock. Please feel free to ask me more about any of them and share any comments if you feel like it!
- Darjeeling: From the eastern state of West Bengal, often called the champagne of teas. Known for its muscatel taste and one of the finest in the world. Medium body and aromatic.
- Assam: From north east India. Rich, malty, smooth with a soft brown colour.
- Ceylon: From Sri Lanka. Coppery colour with smooth caramel notes.
- Matcha: Green tea from Japan. Powder tea with an intense green colour and grassy flavor. Generally used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony (Chado).
- Earl Grey: Blend of china black teas with essential oil of bergamot.
- Lady Grey: A lighter version of the Earl Grey with a fruitier, citrus taste due to the addition of lemon and orange peel oil.
- Russian Caravan: Blend of oolong, keemun and the smoky lapsang souchong tea.
- English Breakfast: Blend of black teas from China. The classic cup to start the day.
- Masala Chai: Base of Assam tea with spices: ginger, clove, cardamom, peppercorn, cinnamon.
Enjoy and happy autumn!