Sampling Black Tea

A discussion about Black tea and a perfect example of a typical sampling session.


One of the common misconceptions about my work is that I get to drink gorgeous tea everyday. Sure, I am privileged to be surrounded by some remarkable brews but much of my work involves sampling tea from as many farmers as I can and you would be surprised at how much 'meh' tea I drink.

I would estimate that we reject about 80% of the tea that we are sent. Sometimes it is because the tea is not different enough from our current offerings, other times because the tea is good but a bit boring and lacking in character, but more often than not it is because it is not very good tea! This video is an accurate reflection of how we select tea and the Jin Jun Mei Black tea that we try is a perfect example of a poor tea masquerading as premium.

I have been criticised that this video is disrespectful to the farmers who made the tea but rest assured this was all done anonymously and no pride has been hurt in the making of this video. Usually the farmers are the true experts anyway and they know when they are sending out their low quality tea in the hope that we will bite because it is so pretty. So we give them our tasting notes (if they ask) - better to be polite but upfront and in my experience it means we get sent the good stuff in the future!


Explore our Black tea collection.

We think you’ll love:

Organic Oolong processed in nitrogen to increase GABA to 200mg per 100g. Summer rain, apricot jam, wet wood and chestnut honey.

Long Jing - Dragonwell

Pre Qing Ming harvest of one of China’s most famous teas. Lush and aromatic with satisfying vegetal notes of cut grass and asparagus with toasted hazelnuts.

Alishan Jin Xuan

A rich and luxurious tea made from the naturally milky Jin Xuan cultivar. Malted milkshake, high mountain grass, alpine rhododendrons and cream.

Ceremonial grade organic matcha sourced from Shizuoka in Japan. Fresh spring fields and kombu umami leading to a brief bitter hit followed by vibrant, juicy sweetness. Packed in a useful black resealable pouch.