Type of tea: Black
Loose or bagged: Loose
Recommended steep time: 3-8 minutes, depending on preferred strength
One of the teas featured in a list of teas I would like to explore more, Scottish Breakfast tea from the English Tea Store is a bold, strong black tea without flavouring or scenting. It can be brewed as hot or iced tea, although as the weather here in the UK just took a chilly turn I decided to limit my exploration of this tea to hot brews.
The amount of tea and steeping time, as for many black teas, is left up to the tea drinker’s discretion, and the more tea used and/or the longer it is the left to steep, the stronger the brew.
To start with, I went with my standard ratio of 1 teaspoon of tea for every 8oz of fluid. For my 16oz teapot, this meant 2 teaspoons of Scottish Breakfast. I poured in the water which had just reached a rolling boil, and left it to steep. Wanting to experience a range of strengths, I initially removed the infuser after 3 minutes. Already, it was a pretty strong brew. I am definitely of fan of strong black teas, and this tea has a slight suggestion of a woody taste, perhaps tending towards smokiness.
I took a few sips without adding milk to get an idea of the tea in its pure form, but since I always take my black tea with milk, I added some. As with many strong black teas, smoky or otherwise, the milk cuts some of the harshness that these bold teas can have.
The next brew I made up (with fresh leaves), I left for 5 minutes, and although there was no bitterness, it was a little too strong for my taste, even after adding milk.
The third brew (also fresh leaves) I left for 4 minutes. Whilst a little stronger than my initial 3-minute brew, I enjoyed it equally. Perhaps this brew is a good choice for those mornings when I need a little extra boost to get me going, and the 3-minute brew for a gentler, but still intensely black, morning cuppa.
For those who like to re-use their tea leaves, this tea does resteep. As to be expected, the second infusion is a little weaker, a little lighter, but still makes for a good cup. It is more like one of the less bold breakfast teas- such as English Breakfast- and so if you want to experience the unique characteristics of Scottish Breakfast tea, the first infusions are the ones to go with.
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