It’s a month of being thankful. From the beautiful Fall colors to the bountiful harvests, we have a lot of good things going on around us. And the same goes for tea. The tea farmers have, for the most part, done their final harvests for this growing season, and the leaves have or soon will be harvested into teas like these:

5 “Thankful” November Teas! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 “Thankful” November Teas! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

1 Full of Character: Yorkshire Red Loose Leaf Tea

A great tea, blending the best from India, Africa, and Sri Lanka for that distinctive character on Yorkshire Tea has. Strong aroma, rich color, and satisfying flavor will make this a tea you will certainly be thankful for!

2 A Great Tea Gets More Variety: Earl Grey Teas

Quite frankly, there are many folks out there who couldn’t get through the day without a cuppa Earl Grey (hey, that rhymes!). This flavored tea has been around since the 1800s and is said to have originated with Charles Grey, the second earl in his line, who supposedly was given the recipe by a Chinese mandarin with whom he was friends, and whose life he had saved. How true this is remains a bit of a mystery. The flavoring comes from the Bergamot orange, a cross between the sweet or pear lemon (Citrus Limetta) and the Seville or sour orange (Citrus Aurantium). The sour orange is native to southern Vietnam, but whether the hybrid existed then is another matter. The Bergamot orange is currently grown in southern Italy in Calabria. Plus the tea is said to be a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas, but when this tea came about, tea from Sri Lanka (formerly, Ceylon) was not generally known to the Chinese, who had plenty of their own growing. But who cares? We have it today, and the flavor still ranks as a top tea in The UK and U.S. There are also various versions available, such as the Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea, for those who like a stronger taste of citrus. Lots to be thankful for!

3 True, Clean Taste: Blackcurrant Naturally Flavored Black Tea

A fruity black tea featuring blackcurrants and Ceylon high-grown (above 5,500 feet elevation) tea. The blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) is rich in vitamin C, various other nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. It therefore combines well with tea! The fruit can be eaten raw but is usually made into jams, jellies, syrups, and juices. It can also be used, along with the plant’s leaves, for homeopathic medicines and dyes. Such a versatile fruit is certainly something to be thankful for!

4 Refreshing: Gyokuro Japanese Green Tea

True gyokuro is a very special tea. It is made from single buds that are picked only in April/May. For 3 weeks before harvesting the leaves are covered with black cloth, bamboo, or even shades made of straw. This is supposed to increase chlorophyll, turning the leaves darker green, while reducing tannin so that the flavor is sweeter as opposed to bitter. Quality levels vary from tea garden to tea garden, due to terroir (basically, soil and growing climate) and the skill of the tea master who processes those leaves. This involves plucking the small leaves, steaming them at the tea factory for about 30 minutes in a “kill green” process that halts oxidation, fluffing the leaves and then pressing and drying them to move about 30% of the moisture, and then repeated rolling to shape those leaves into the traditional dark green needles, usually unbroken if the tea master is highly skilled and more broken if he/she is not. So we can all be thankful for a gyokuro processed by a highly skilled tea master!

5 Hearty and Satisfying: Scottish Breakfast Tea

Full-bodied, malty, and bright flavor with a hint of oaky character makes this tea blend (Assam and Keemun) a real must have tea any time, not just at breakfast. And the best part is that you have no need to travel to Scotland and don a kilt. Just steep some up and sip on it to get that feeling of heather and peaceful lochs. Both great things to be thankful for!

Hope you get to try some of these during November and give thanks to those tea farmers!

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

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