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tea tests

tea and cakeThere are so many tea brands, blends, infusions and flavours in shops it's sometimes hard to know what to choose. Which to pick if you want to try something new? Buying a box of 80 is always a bit of a risk...

The blurb on the packaging always sounds good, but that's written by someone who is trying to make you buy the product in question. What would the man (or woman) on the street say? What really is the difference between the taste of Earl Grey and Lady Gray, or Darjeeling and Ceylon?

To answer these questions, we decided to be scientific. Blind tea tests would be conducted, with willing volunteers. Three teas at a time would be posted out with brewing instructions only. No trace of brand or type of tea would be sent, and the testers' opinions would be listed online for your reading pleasure.

So who were the mysterious tea testers? Why should you trust them? Their biographies can be found by clicking here. They are a diverse bunch, all of whom are deeply committed to tea.

What were the first batch of teas tested? And what was the feedback? Keep reading... As time goes by, we will build up a compendium of descriptions and summaries for your browsing pleasure.

chai (twinings aromatics)

Tea Testers Said: Slightly weak tea, with a sweet, peppery smell and quite a strongly cinnamon and cloves taste. Some people also tasted mint. Would be a good afternoon pick-me-up. Noticeably a Chai - infuse in hot milk with honey on the stove for 30 minutes for a more authentic Indian tea experience. Fresh and zingy.
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Tea Tasters Said: A bit like Earl Grey, only weaker. Pale, savoury, slightly bitter tannin taste: “like sucking on a twopence piece”. Not a big hit with the tea testers, but considered quite a standard cup.
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decaf (PG tips decaf)

The Tea Testers Said: A strong brew, quite dark tasting and creamy. Noticeably PG Tipps! Did the triangular bag give this away? Interestingly, no tea tester spotted this as a decaf, though it was described as 'unsatisfying' due to the lack of caffeine...
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english breakfast (clipper organic)

Tea Tasters Said: Simple, 'no-frills' bag. Mild and fresh. A medium strength tea which brewed well. This tea was spot-able as a "wake up" Breakfast Tea blend - though some people said that they would need something stronger first thing.
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The Tea Testers Said: A refreshing mint tea. Surprisingly good (and even mintier?) with milk, also good with sugar. A, calm, smooth, sophisticated cuppa that has an authentic mint taste like XXX mints or toothpaste. Spicy and fragrant, this will help clear your nose… unless you don’t like herbal teas, in which case you wouldn’t wish this on a starving cat in a lifeboat.
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Tea Testers Said: most testers spotted this straight off as a Red Bush tea. A good, smooth taste, sweet smell. not at all bitter, refreshing, “eminently suppable” and goes well with a nice bun. Very drinkable, gentle and warm: a good afternoon tea. Fruity, woody and rich rather than tea tasting. Not recommended with honey. One tea tester said it tasted like pickled garlic. TeaandCake wonder where they stored the teabags.
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