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.

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The perfect way to store your tea. Stackable tins which have been designed to keep your tea organised easily.

Long Jing - Dragonwell

First flush, pre-qing-ming Long Jing picked on 8th March from 40-year-old bushes of the small leaf variety. Sweet adzuki beans, lemon shortbread and palmier.

Tong Mu Zhengshan Xiaozhong

An unsmoked Lapsang that shows the true depth of flavour of this famous tea. Dark cocoa, charred bourbon casks and rambutan.

The essential fine mesh stainless steel filter for all Gong Fu brewing.