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The first discounted tea this month is our Keemun Panda, in bags or loose leaf. Keeman is written in traditional Chinese like this: 祁門紅茶, and pronounced chee-MEN. It brews into a vibrant red with smoky and chocolately hints.
Of all the China black teas available, Keemun Panda is probably one of the best known. Keemun is one of the congou-type teas meaning it requires a great deal of gongfu (disciplined skill) to make into fine taut strips without breaking the leaves. Interestingly, the characters in the written Chinese script for time and labor are the same as those used for ‘gongfu.’ It is often said that a properly produced Keemun, such as Panda, is one of the finest teas in the world with a complex aromatic and penetrating character often compared to burgundy wines. Traditionally, Keemuns were used in English Breakfast tea. Keemun is one the best-keeping black teas. Fine specimens will keep for years if stored properly, and take on a mellow winey character.
The name Keemun comes from Qimen county in southern Anhui province where almost all the mountains are covered with tea bushes. Qimen county produced only green tea until the mid 1870’s. Around that time a young man in the civil service lost his job. Despite being totally heartbroken and completely embarrassed by his shame, he remembered what his father told him: “A skill is a better guarantor of a living than precarious officialdom.” In America we would say, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” Following this advice, the young man packed up his courage and his bags to travel to Fujian Province to learn the secrets of black tea manufacturing. Upon his return to Qimen in 1875, he set up three factories to produce black tea. The black tea method was perfectly suited to the tea leaves produced in this warm, moist climate with well drained sandy soil. Before long, the superb flavor of Keemuns became very popular around the world.
If you haven’t tried our exquisite Keemun Panda tea, now is the perfect time, with 15% off through the month of May only.
Is it grey, or is it green? Our second Tea of the Month for May is both! Enjoy 15% off the forever favorite made fresh with bergamot and green tea. Bergamot is a small citrus orange that blossoms in winter.
Tea was originally flavoured with bergamot to imitate the more expensive types of Chinese tea. This practice dates back to the 1820’s in the UK. In 1837 there is a record of a lawsuit against a tea maker who was found to have supplied tea “artificially scented, and, drugged with bergamot in this country.”
The Earl Grey blend, or “Earl Grey’s Mixture,” is assumed to be named after The 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s and author of the Reform Bill of 1832. Lord Grey reputedly received a gift, probably a diplomatic perquisite, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil. The English Tea Store is one of few who takes this original Earl Grey blend and surprises you with a base of green tea.
Editor’s note – I love the word perquisite – so much nicer than today’s “perk.”
Our other Tea of the Month is Bingo Blueberry, a full flavored tea with a strong blueberry character. Enjoy 15% off this tea for the rest of the month. This particular tea was specially formulated to acknowledge the great taste and known health benefits of blueberries. In addition to the antioxidants in the blueberries, hibiscus brings the added benefits of Vitamin A and C to the blend. Bingo Blueberry will accommodate the tastes of people who want to experience a refreshing healthy new style drink without caffeine. It is excellent as a hot drink and simply dynamite as a cold drink. You will want to add a pinch of natural cane sugar as this accentuates the natural flavorings and brings out the subtle tastes of the dried berries.
Ingredients in this tea are fruit pieces and flower petals. What better way to welcome spring?