Saturday, February 9, 2013

Scottish Breakfast Tea

Name: Scottish Breakfast Tea 
Type: Black Tea 
Ingredients: Assam; Ceylon; Kenya 
Purveyor: Clipper Ship Tea Company 
Preparation: One teaspoon steeped in about eight ounces of boiling water for 3:00 (as recommended), sipped plain

Those who have never visited the village of Northport, NY, really ought to go explore there. The quaint diversions, placid atmosphere, and coastal scenery are just what the doctor ordered on those weekends when a getaway is vital to one's mental health. And, for those who live on Long Island or in the boroughs, traveling there and back is quick and easy - Long Islanders should have no trouble making a fulfilling one-day sojourn.

While browsing the shops and boutiques around Main Street, be sure to stop by the Clipper Ship Tea Co. It boasts both an extensive selection and a friendly staff that likes nothing better than to talk tea and educate its customers.

Clipper Ship's black tea blends include, generally, some combination of Darjeeling, Keemun, Kenya, Ceylon, and Assam teas. In the case of the Scottish Breakfast blend the latter three are used, all with similar-looking leaves, like little twigs, or tightly wrung bits of cloth. Most are dark brown, like dark chocolate, but there are some tan ones here and there. The dry leaves have a strong nose of vanilla - very strong, almost astringent even. There are also notes of toffee and a vague hint of citrus.

When the tea brews, it looks like someone took toffee and caramel and mixed them together into a rich, textured liquid. The aroma is of sweet tannins, with a little briskness and a modicum of citrus. It is a rich aroma, but not overwhelming, or even pungent - just a different kind of rich. Maybe "solid" is a good word. The flavor is a perky kind of brisk, and lush with a lemon zest, inhabiting a medium-full body. The tea is not acidic, but the tannins are quite present, and make it taste like tea really ought to taste - the same notes that, in coffee, wine, and other beverages make us think of tea, are front and center here. Meanwhile, the citrus tones keep it light and spright, and the sweetness pulls it all together.

The Scottish Breakfast tea is excellent as a morning pick-me-up, quite as the name implies. Also though, for those who do not mind caffeine in the late afternoon, this would work great as a tea-time tea. The notes are ideal as a carry-over between lunch and dinner, just what the palate requires.


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