Posted by: ben | July 3, 2009

make another tree


(title with apologies to Eef Barzelay. Yes, that’s a Spotify link – get us!)

Ben: It’s been a few months since I moved into the new place with the fiance. During that long, tiring weekend move we both needed something to make the mountain of flat-packed furniture and boxes of CDs far less intimidating. The first thing we unpacked was a lovely new teapot, a new kettle and a bag of Tea Tree Tea’s Scottish Breakfast.

I’ve mentioned this particular blend briefly before when I visited Edinburgh. I didn’t do it proper justice in that article. When we were sat in that wonderful cafe on a slightly languid Thursday morning, the prospect of a seven hour train journey back down south didn’t really fill us with anticipation. We were both tired before the train journey even began. We both had a pot of this blend and had to buy some to bring home.

Let me put this in context for you. It’s about half one on a Friday before the first bank holiday Monday of the summer. For four hours, fiance and I have been unpacking, constructing and cleaning. We’re hot, we’re getting a bit tired but we’re happy enough. We want something reviving and traditional as well as something to remind us of fun times just past. This tea was an obvious choice.

Not an auspicious start

Not an auspicious start

Opening the bag is, initially, a bit disappointing. These are not big, whole leaves – it’s CTC (crushed, torn and curled), much like that horrible Tescos stuff. The smell is a bit smokier and rounder but otherwise it’s the same.

I dutifully place two-and-a-bit spoonfuls in the new teapot and add the water. Relief! Unlike the Tescos thing, there is no frothy mulchiness here, just a slight plumping of the leaves. The new teapot has a much finer mesh too, so something must be intrinsically different about this tea. Phew. Looking at the leaves again, I can see ‘bits’ in there – it’s not just a fine black powder, there’s wee veins and parts of the branch, too. Nearly indiscernable but definitely there.

When I make this tea, I always think it’s aimed at big burly Scottish men rather than for stupid twentysomethings with blogs. It brews very strong very quickly. Two-and-a-bit teaspoons is enough for the whole pot and three minutes is more than enough time. The colour of the brew is exceptionally dark and it smells curiously sweet. There’s the unmistakable note of ceylon there somewhere. Oh boy!

But a silky finish

But a silky finish

I throw in a bit of milk and sugar – this is an auld-fashioned cuppa and needs to be prepared in this way! – and somehow manage to bolt my way through an entire mugful in about five minutes. It’s insanely drinkable – it feels rounded and full, having enough of a kick at the back of the tongue to reinvigorate. It’s the ideal break-time tea – delicious enough to snaffle down quickly and peppy enough to spur you onwards.

Downside? Well, it’s not really that different to a standard teabag. Now, anything comparable would have to be the best damn teabag you’ve ever managed to find in your life but the drink is essentially much the same. This is a little disappointing because I want to drink something completely unlike your average cup of tea but, to anyone that visits and knows that I drink ‘good’ tea, it’s manna from heaven.

Anyone for another cup?

Ben was drinking Tea Tree Tea’s Scottish Breakfast, available from ¬£1.75 for 125g.


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