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Other Black Teas

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7 Reviews

Type: Black Tea

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    7 Reviews
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      29.11.2010 18:33
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      By reputation, The King of Teas

      A couple of years ago, when we went on our organised tour of China, one of our visits was to Xian and the Terracotta Army site. In addition to the obvious attractions of the Terracotta Warriors and the excavations the site also has a number of pavilions offering various insights into the Chinese way of life. One of these was the Tea Pavilion.

      Towards the end of our day's visit, there was nothing we fancied more than a nice cup of tea. The Chinese, however, don't do things by halves. The Tea Pavilion is a celebration of all of the various styles of Chinese Teas, from White through Green to Black, and probably all shades in between as well.

      I have to confess I'm not a huge fan of Green Teas: the smell always seems to have a laundry odour to it! Black Teas, however, I love, although they are usually quite radically different from the typical sort of Black Teas we enjoy here in the West, such as English Breakfast.

      We sampled a few of what they had on offer from a list of around two dozen. One of these stood out head and shoulders above the rest, in my opinion. I knew nothing about it other than it was an Oolong, or semi-fermented tea and so strictly speaking isn't a black tea as such, Oolong being a unique category all of its own. It was curiously named Wuyi Da Hong Pao! I was given a brief history of this tea but it wasn't until I got back to the UK that I found out more about it.

      Apparently it is considered the King of Teas. The Wuyi bit refers to the Wuyi Mountains where the original four bushes were found, clinging to a rocky cliff face. I understand that three of these four bushes still survive to this day. Because of its rarity, leaves from these bushes are strictly controlled and sell for an absolute fortune. Naturally you can assume that the tea I drank was not part of any of these batches!

      It appears that cuttings from these original bushes have been propagated elsewhere and the tea that is generally available by this name comes from these propagated bushes. Although genetically identical to the originals, clearly the difference in growing conditions, especially the soil, will, as with grapes, not be the same as the originals although I'm sure that attempts have been made to keep them as close in taste as possible.

      The Da Hong Pao bit apparently means Big Red Robe and refers, so I understand, to cloth that was sent by a grateful Emperor, to whom the tea had been sent, to protect the bushes against the severest elements.

      Wuyi Da Hong Pao has a simply wonderful taste: sweetish even without the addition of any sugar and, to be honest, it really doesn't need it, and with a taste that I can only compare to digestive biscuits. I know, that seems a strange comparison to make but it's the thing that immediately come to mind, or at least that's what my tongue tells me.

      I usually make it in one of those tea ball infusers that split in half when the handle is squeezed. It holds just enough to make several cups of tea. The benefit of Wuyi Da Hong Pao is that you don't have to throw away the tea leaves after just one cup: the leaves will make at least four or five cups without loosing any strength, even if left on a saucer to drain a bit between brews.

      The tub of tea we bought in China contained about 100gms and cost us about £12, which was probably expensive by Chinese standards. No doubt we could have got it cheaper if we had sought it out in a market rather than buy it at a prime tourist attraction. I have since seen it advertised on one UK website at £16 for 100gms so I suppose we didn't do too badly.

      Wuyi Da Hong Pao is probably not an everyday tea but one for those special occasions. I still have some left from China. Kept in an air-tight tube it doesn't seem to deteriorate so I suspect I may be enjoying it for some time before I have to buy some more.

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        20.03.2008 13:20
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        It is as close to a Perfec-tea cuppa as you will find for a bagged variety.

        Personali-tea? Tesco Organic Tea Bags.

        ~ Tea ~

        So, what do we know about tea? Does it have any Personali-tea or not? I suspect most of us have some ideas about it but not a great deal. For example, I know of the Boston Tea Party events that took place in December 1773. I know that Tea Bags often have the left over tea - the dust if you like - left once loose tea leaves have been produced.
        I wasn't aware for a while it was Tetley's in the UK who produced the first commercial tea bags as a direct result of rationing of WW2.
        Nor did I realize there are more than just Black and Green Teas until hunting for some information about it. You can add oolong tea and white tea to the list.

        But I still enjoy a cup of tea, whether from a tea bag or made from loose tea. And to be honest my preferred choice is Earl Grey, which I drink most of the time, but just occasionally I just want a 'normal' cup of tea!

        Our preferred choice is also Typhoo or Tetley's, and we needed some tea bags when I was shopping earlier this week and unfortunately the local Tesco's is only a smaller Metro Store and they had run out of the 80 bag variety of both we usually buy. Because I tend to also drink Earl Grey, we don't buy more than 80 at a time of regular tea because it does go stale.

        So, I looked on the shelf and there wasn't a great deal there! I'm not a great lover of PG and it was looking as if we might have to plump for that after all. But then my partner spotted Tesco Organic Tea Bags on the shelf, and the price was only 1p more than we would have usually paid.
        Now, we do like to try and buy organically when possible (and affordable), so this was an ideal compromise.

        ~ The packaging ~

        The packaging is basically in dark green with a view of what we can only presume is a tea plantation on the lower half, long grass with an oak tree symbol on the top half, the tree being used in the O of Organic. To be honest we almost missed seeing it was Organic because it doesn't stand out all that well on the shelf amongst the other packs.

        On the front you also have the following information:

        Produced to strict Organic Standards.
        Organic Production prohibits the use of genetically modified materials.
        There is also the Soil association Organic Standard Mark as well as a sign giving an idea of strength of the flavour (in this instance it is shown as 2 and the strength guide is found on the back).
        Strength 2 means it is a medium.

        Although Organic in nature, there is no obvious sign on the cardboard box that it is made from recycled packaging, and that would be a nice touch if thought about!

        You are also given instructions on the back as to how to make tea, Tesco's Promise for quality and in the additional information it tells you the tea is foil wrapped and is to Organic Certification UK5. Apparently this means even if they didn't show the Soil association symbol on the front, it shows it's to that standard.

        ~ The Tea itself ~

        So, this is a fairly standard type of tea in a round tea bag. Ours came in a pack of 80 (I'm not sure if there are other sizes) and its again fairly standard opening the top with a perforated line that pulls across.

        We made the tea in exactly the same way as we usually do, and the colour looked very nice indeed. The tea bags themselves hold up well to being pounded about in the mugs or tea pot (we use both depending on how many cups are being made). This was also a plus point since some of the Tea we've had in the past had tea bags which just disintegrated when squeezed or pushed even slightly! No such concerns here.
        The tea bag also didn't seem to impede the way the tea infused and again that was a point in its favour.
        We also noticed quite a nice aroma from the tea as it was being made, not something we had really noticed with other teas.

        So, now for the true test - the taste!

        It was really enjoyable! Its not at all bitter like many other teas you can get, and you really do get a 'hit' of tea flavour in your mouth as you drink it. There is no nasty aftertaste, and your mouth really does feel refreshed once you've finished the drink.
        It in fact lingers for some minutes after the last sip if you aren't eating or drinking another strong flavour at the same time, and again it's a pleasant lingering flavour you get, not a bitter or nasty one.

        One tea bag is ideal for one drink, although we find this is good enough to place just 2 bags in our tea pot (which makes enough for 3 generous mug sized amount) without losing any of the flavour from it.

        ~ Thoughts~

        We were extremely impressed, and we haven't been disappointed, as we've carried on using the tea bags. The flavour has been enjoyable each and every time, and the tea bags are good quality both in terms of allowing infusion of the flavour to flow from the tea to the water, as well as the ability to hold up and not split or tear once wet.

        The price we paid was £1.29 for 80 and that is only 1 pence more than the same sized pack of Typhoo we normally paid for.

        We won't be bothering with Typhoo tea now since we feel this is a far superior tea in all aspects at the same price, and being Organic is even more of an added bonus.

        I would recommend anyone who is looking for some tea to look this one up if you are in a Tesco store. It really is great value for money and one of the best bagged teas I've tasted in a very long time.

        If I had any real complaint it would be the packaging just doesn't really stand out at you on the shelf and if you are looking for an Organic alternative as many do today, this really could be improved slightly. The Font on the Word Organic on the front could be sharpened just slightly and that would make all the difference without it becoming garish.
        I would also like to see Tesco commit to using recycled card for the outer packaging if possible. But that's a personal preference and doesn't detract from the quality of the tea itself.

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          19.06.2003 14:43
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          Tea breaks, they are my salvation, I am temping as a receptionist at the moment and the only thing I look forward to are my tea breaks, they help break up the tedium of my day. The office I am in at the moment have something called Lipton Yellow Label Tea Bags and I hadn’t heard of it before so I decided I could write a completely unbiased review. Lipton is owned by Unilever and comes in a bright yellow box. When you open up this box the teabags are in perfect lines wearing little yellow tags like jackets. The tea bags themselves are the sort that you use in the cup, a finely perforated bag with a long string attached and a small paper tag at the end. Tea, I feel should have a pungent enough smell for me to be able to conjour up images of my grandmas kitchen and her big tea pot, covered in a homemade cosy, waiting for a brew and this tea just wasn’t doing it for me! But the proof of the pudding is in the eating or should that be the proof the tea should be in the drinking. So I boiled my water and poured it over the tea bag. It did the usual thing that teabags designed for cups do and the paper tag slipped in, so I had to fish around in cup trying to drag it out, without burning myself. I waited in anticipation, watching the boiling water change into a russet colour. The smell was still faint, and the tea took ages to brew to the strength I like. When I thought it was ready I added my milk and sugar and looked at it again it was a very pale beige colour and not quite how I liked it. I took a sip, it tasted like dishwater (even Tesco Value tea has more flavour), it was far too weak for my liking, it tasted kind of “soapy” it wasn’t a strong colour and definitely not robust enough for my taste. I was highly disappointed. How could I enjoy my tea breaks with a dodgy cuppa? A couple of days later my office had run out of milk, and I decided to try the tea again, this time blac
          k. I made my infusion and waited for it to brew, added sugar stirred and sipped and realised that I was drinking Lipton Tea completely wrong, it has a very delicate, refreshing taste and the milk completely ruined it, over powering it and suffocating the tea leaves. Drinking it black was a far better way to enjoy it. It was softer and milder than other tea bags and so lended itself to black tea much better and would be perfect for ice tea too. Lipton Tea costs about 1.49 for 40 teabags which is fairly expensive compared to other brands on the market. Although I prefer some of the other labels (such as Twinning), I would still recommend this tea to those of you who prefer the stuff made in a cup - It’s definitely not a suitable for a pot - and without cow juice. It is a bag for those of you who enjoy tea au natural. Lipton also manufactures an “Infusions range” which include fruit and herbal teas and a “green tea” range. Thanks for Reading

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            29.04.2003 23:28
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            I first discovered Lord Nelson Earl Grey tea when my boss asked me if I would like to try a cup. Having tried earl grey tea in the past and thinking that it tasted like perfume or something, I declined. Oh, go on, she said ? so I did, I had a cup. I was really pleasantly surprised. So here goes? PRODUCT Lord Nelson Earl Grey tea is a tea that comes in string teabags. Earl grey tea is basically normal black tea with bergamot flavour in it. Until I started drinking it, I thought it was some fancy pick of tea but no, its not. PACKAGING The individual teabags come in black pouches. The box that holds the teabags is yellow and black. The boxes hold 25 teabags. I think that the packaging is distinctive and can easily been seen on the shelves, but the design is pretty rubbish to be honest. PRICE These teabags only cost 49p! How cheap is that! It works out at something like 2p a teabag, how bargainous is that! WHERE FROM My boss bought these for me from Lidl?s. I?ve tried looking for them at Tesco?s, but couldn?t find any so seeing as my boss lives near Lidl?s, she grabs me a couple of boxes every now and then. ADVANTAGES The boxes are pretty neatly sized and I always have a box in my desk drawer. If your desk drawer is over cramped, you can always just take a bag or two as they are individually wrapped in paper bags as well as boxed. The low price means you can drink loads without feeling guilty, and just think how much cheaper a 2p bag is than the drinks machine which usually charges like 45p each! DISADVANTAGES The main disadvantage is that they aren?t readily available. If you have a Lidl?s near you then take a look, and try looking in the other supermarkets as I only tend to shop in Tesco?s, so haven?t tried very many places. The only other disadvantage I can think of is that the packaging isn?t exactly amazing either. TO USE Its really simple using these teabag
            s. Just put a teabag in a cup or mug, pour boiling water over it, dunk the teabag by the string up and down a couple of times then hey presto, you have your cuppa. No teaspoons required. Of course, if you wish to add milk then you would, but I have milk in normal tea but not this ? it tastes fine on its own. SMELL This stuff basically smells like normal tea with an extra peppery smell to it. Its not too overpowering and is quite pleasant. TASTE Hard to describe put like a nice warming tea. You can definitely taste the bergamot, again a taste that you have to try yourself before you can describe it but its basically a peppery flavour with a distinctive taste. I thoroughly enjoy drinking this earl grey, as I find other earl greys to be awful this must be different. OVERALL I recommend you at least try this. At 49p its not gonna break the bank and its nice to drink. I find this tea quite refreshing and excellent value for money.

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              11.11.2002 11:18
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              I am allergic to dairy products, and love tea. I drink loads of it. But as I can't have dairy products, I always drink my tea black. And without sugar (I'm sweet enough, obviously!). So what? Well, unless you are like me, you probably won't realise that a lot of teas are very bitter, especially if stewed for a longer period, which makes them quite unpalatable if you don't alter the drink by adding milk. Milk cools the tea down, but also takes any bitterness away. Probably the best tea I have found to drink is the Golden De Luxe tea bags, produced by Northern Tea Merchants. They cost £1.89 for 110 tea bags, which makes then slightly more expensive than most "off the shelf" tea bags available when you buy in quantities of 240 bags or more at one time. Bear in mind the fact that I am a Yorkshire lad, these tea bags must be good if I am happy to spend extra to buy them!!! Well, they are not bitter, for a start. I buy them for my tea fund at work too - and people there like to stew tea for 14 days and use forceps to squeeze the last bit of life out of a tea bag before they are prepared to give you your cup back, and the tea still isn't bitter. (Another good tea bag for people who drink black tea is PG Tips, by the way - they don't produce bitter tea either.) The packaging states that "each tea bag makes one cup of good tea", and they aren't lying. This tea is a blend, so its not dargeeling, assam etc, its just your average tea. However, its very very refreshing. Quite a few teas are just drinks, but this one seems to be a bit different. When stewed, the tea itself is very clear, and the taste is of good quality teas. There isn't any particular flavours which stand out, except a general tea flavour. But its not sullied by too much tannin, it seems to be very crisp and light. As touched upon in the disadvantages, this product is hard to obtai
              n if you live outside Chesterfield. Northern Tea Merchants is a Chesterfield based company who supply many businesses, as well as have a shop and tasting bar open to the public. They serve a wide range of teas, both bagged - they have golden and silver de luxe bags, but golden is better, however slightly more expensive - and loose leaf - they sell these blends and about 20 or so speciality teas from Africa, India, Japan etc. Some of them, I would almost certainly guarantee you've never heard of. If you pop into the shop, then (at a cost of around 85p a cup) you can try your tea before you buy it, which is good. The shop has just had a face lift, and is much more welcoming now. Northern Tea Merchants also have a very wide range of coffees on sale - up to 30 different coffees at any one time. You can buy them as whole beans or they will, at no extra cost, grind the chosen beans for you for use in a percolator or caffiteire, as you wish. Costs vary depending on what coffee you buy, and I don't know how much they are cos I don't like coffee. This is my tea of choice, purely because it is not bland, nor bitter, and is refreshing when drunk. The shop and company can be contacted as follows: Northern Tea Merchants 193 Chatsworth Road Chesterfield Derbyshire S40 2BA Tel: 01246 232600 I don't know if they do mail order, but ring and ask if you want to find out :) Thanks for reading this op, please leave your ratings and comments.

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              • More +
                27.10.2001 00:15

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                If you want to ensure a better deal for tea growers in the Third World, then Tea Direct is an excellent choice. It's a great tasting tea, mind you, so you won't be losing out on that score. But the main reason why I am now buying Tea Direct, and why I would recommend it, is because it guarantees a better deal for the Third World producers. The tea is bought directly from growers' co-operatives, not from middlemen. Moreover, the price is never less than an agreed minimum, however low the world price is. Tea Direct, combined with the efforts of 'Fairtrade', ensure that countless tea growers are able to continue, because the price paid by the middlemen was not and is not enough to cover the cost of growing and preparing it.

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                19.04.2001 20:28
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                I love this product! Yorkshire tea is a bit pricier than most but defiantly worth the extra pennies if you are a real tea lover like me! There are 2 types, normal and tea for hard water areas. I live in a hard water area and didn't realise what a difference it can make to the taste of your tea. I sampled tea for hard water areas and it was the best cuppa ever! It is defiantly not a gimmick, if you live in a hard water area, try these. It makes a lovely strong cuppa without having to squeeze the tea bag to a pulp, great colour, and most importantly tastes great. I never thought I would see the day when I praise a tea bag, but i've been converted! If you go to their website (cant remember what it is off the top of my head, put 'Yorkshire tea' in a search engine), they give you a free sample. You get 6 tea bags, all for filling out your name and address, they dont send you any junk mail either! To me, this is the best tea that has ever been invented!

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