For several years now my breakfast brew of choice has been Darjeeling tea. I take it black, brewed for three or four minutes.
I started out with Twinings leaf tea, before noticing that my local supermarket (Tesco) produced their own teabag version. After recently winning a packet of Whittard’s Darjeeling teabags on Twitter (courtesy of @hashtagteaclub – thank you kindly, chaps) my tea cupboard is now graced with all three brands. Here they are, side by side:
Yesterday, and again this morning, I had a bash at the newest arrival, the Whittard teabags.
One of the plus points about the packaging, to my mind, is this quote from a British entertainment legend on the back of the pack.
I brewed the tea as usual, adding a little cold water so that I could drink it straight away.
My first sip was very pleasant, but hardly distinguishable from the Tesco teabags. It was smooth, light and just the thing I want first thing in the morning. If I hadn’t known it was a different brand I don’t think I’d have guessed it was anything other than Tesco’s own.
On most mornings, my main objective is to get those all important first sips of tea down the parched gullet asap, and for that reason I usually fall back on a teabag. After this taste test, I would rate Whittard alongside Tesco for flavour, smoothness and ease of preparation. To my mind, there’s really nothing to choose between them, except that the Whittard tea is about four times the price of the Tesco version.
When it comes to overall flavour and full-bodiedness, however, the Twinings leaf tea leaves the teabags behind. Not being constrained within a bag, and possibly being of higher quality, the leaf tea seems to me to have a livelier and more rounded taste, is more satisfying on the palate and I suspect puts a slightly jauntier spring in my post-breakfast step.
By mid-morning I’m fully prepared to put in the extra effort required for leaf tea production, but I will happily use up the remainder of my Whittard Darjeeling teabags to wash down my breakfast bagel over the next couple of weeks.