On the Merits of Blending Your Own Tea

Buckingham Palace Garden Party Loose Leaf Tea - specially blended by experts (ETS image)
Buckingham Palace Garden Party Loose Leaf Tea – specially blended by experts (ETS image)

[Editor’s note: the following article uses the term “blend” to refer to both blended and flavored teas, which are actually two very different things as shown in this other article on our blog.]

There are a lot of tea vendors out there who offer a blend-your-own-tea option, but how useful is this, really?

Customisation is in at the moment, with organisations and companies of all sizes trying to attract the individual consumer by offering them exactly what they want and tailoring the product specifically to their needs. But is expanding this penchant for customisation to tea taking it one step too far?

Typically, a shop that offers a blend-your-own-tea option will offer different choices for the base of your tea or herbal infusion (black, white, green, rooibos, etc.) This  base is then combined with other teas or flavours, such as dried fruits and herbs, to produce your very own blend. But is the average consumer really going to be able to put together a tea they will like? After all, tea blending, just like any specialty skill, is often considered to be an art, with tea blends carefully crafted to bring out the best of the flavours on offer. Expert tea blenders are experts for a reason—surely their knowledge of tea exceeds that of the everyday tea shopper, no matter how much of a tea connoisseur they might be?

But what happens when a tea that you’re hankering for is not on offer? What if you have always wondered what this or that tea would taste like with a particular flavour? In these situations blend-your-own-tea can be a great option, but you still need to make sure that you know what you want. Otherwise, it is all too easy to end up with a tea that sounds great, smells great, but might not taste all that great.

Blending your own tea works best when you have as much information as possible, and as such is not something I’d recommend for those who are only just getting into tea (unless, of course, you’re up for experimenting and don’t mind potentially spending a lot of money on teas you don’t like). If there is a tea you really enjoy but wished it had just a little more of this or a little less of that then blend-your-own-tea could be the answer to your tea dilemmas. To give a specific example, if you enjoy Lady Londonderry tea but wished it didn’t have such a floral tone, you could try blending a black tea with strawberry and lemon to suit your taste. If you have researched which black tea is typically used as a base and the amounts of each flavour that tends to be used in Lady Londonderry, then chances are you’ll create a blend you’ll enjoy.

Of course, there is still the risk that you might not end up liking the tea. But then this is always going to be the case when you are trying a new tea, whether or not you have blended it yourself. So whilst blend-your-own-tea options may not always be as good an idea as they seem, they definitely give tea lovers the option to craft a tea to suit their taste.

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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