Toasting the First Day of Fall with Tea

Apple Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea (ETS image)
Apple Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea (ETS image)

For some folks, Labor Day is officially the end of Summer, which among the folks in the Hamptons also means it’s the last day to wear white until Memorial Day, but officially Summer continues until around the end of the 3rd week of September. I always like to observe this official version of the change of seasons with a nice toast of the teacup. And that means steeping up some tea with great Fall flavors.

Autumnal Darjeeling Teas

Most teas come from leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush (lots of various cultivars, actually) and are harvested 3, 4, or even 5 times per growing season (flush). Each harvest has its own flavor characteristics. Many tea connoisseurs go ga-ga for first and second flush Darjeeling teas. These are the ones harvested during early to mid-spring and in June or July. But my faves are the autumnal teas, harvested during September-October. They are the final “hurrah!” of the growing season, and the plants put a lot of “oomph!” into them. They tend to steep up stronger tasting, enough so that their flavors endure in the cup even after you add a bit of milk and sweetener, which make the flavor even more naturally fruit-like with a hint of an Assam maltiness.

Apple and Cinnamon Flavored Teas

A fruit that is usually harvested around this time of year, the apple is seemingly made to go with tea. And an apple-flavored tea is better than apple pie or some other calorie-laden dish. Add a dash of cinnamon and this tea really brings out that Fall atmosphere.

A great example: Apple Spice Flavored Black Tea – A blend with a lively, fruity flavor of fresh orchard apples with delicious cinnamon notes. Uses natural high grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5,500 feet above sea level. Includes apple pieces, cinnamon, blackberry leaves, safflower petals, and natural flavors.

Pumpkin Flavored Teas

Another crop that is harvested about now is pumpkins. Items with pumpkin in them start popping up all over. Pies, cakes, breads, soups, candies, and teas, to name a few. A cuppa this style of tea is just right for enjoying cooler weather after the heat and humidity of Summer.

A great example: Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea – A blend of black teas and South African Rooibos (redbush herbal) – absolutely perfect when served hot with milk and sugar. Includes black tea, Rooibos, apple, almond, orange, rosehip, and vanilla pieces, calendula and sunflower and hibiscus petals, cinnamon, nut oil, and natural flavors.

Robust Black Teas

Another aspect of a good Fall time cuppa is a more robust flavor, mainly because many of us like a tea this time of year that can take a bit of milk and sweetener. A few options are:

  • Yorkshire Red Label Tea – A blend of the very best of teas from India, Africa and Sri Lanka to create the unmistakable character of Yorkshire Tea. It has a strong aroma, rich color and satisfying flavor.
  • Irish Breakfast Tea – A stout robust blend of February Kenya BP1 and 2nd flush Assam. A superb color and very full-bodied tea.
  • Organic Assam TGFOP Tea – A flavorful tea with superb astringency and jammy profile. The expansive malt character opens with milk.
  • Taylor of Harrogates Scottish Breakfast Tea – A thick-tasting and strong cup of Assam tea with a rich malty character best served with milk and a bit of sweetener.
  • PG Tips – The Strong One – A blend of Kenyan and other African teas for a bold cuppa tea. A strong, ruby-colored liquid with a malty aroma and thick tea character. Great with milk and sweetener.
  • Sylvakandy Estate Orange Pekoe Tea – A malty flavor that smoothes with a floral character. Best enjoyed hot with a dash of milk to help open and expand its flavor profile.
  • Kambaa Estate Tea – A very malty flavor with light hints of currant.

Whichever tea you choose, it should be a great way to start Fall. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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4 thoughts on “Toasting the First Day of Fall with Tea

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Thanks. Since I started learning about things like flushes, those generic blends just won’t do. There are about 87 tea gardens certified as genuine Darjeeling gardens. The usually have 3 or 4 flushes each growing season. And from those, they have begun making not just the usual ‘black’ tea but also white, green, and even oolong style teas. Fabulous!

      1. bebe croteau

        yes i agree … i drink margets hope darjeeling, second flush …i had a pound of first flush once, and it wasnt as tasty, i didnt think so anyway …do you sell the estate teas on your website?..i order from simpson and vail,and darlenes tea port ..they always send me fresh tea ..if i buy from a bricks and mortar tea shop, its generally stale …

      2. A.C. Cargill

        We have Margaret’s Hope, Mim, and Soom. All top Darjeeling gardens. I think the ones we sell are all second flush.

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