A mild breakfast tea best enjoyed on its own.
This Twinings tin features English labeling on three of its square sides. A Chinese language sticker on the fourth side. The bottom has international labeling denoting the global nature of the product. The tin is attractive and sturdy. There is no hint of aroma from the tin. Denoting the metal manufactured and sealed properly. Prevent the leafs from undue exposure to oxygen. A beneficial attribute for prolonging the freshness of the product.
The square nature of the package gives me a western impression. In Chinese symbolism circles denote sky whereas a square is earth. Many Chinese brand containers will be cylindrical, circular, or oval in shape. Seldom will they be as right angled as this twinings. I believe this is not a conscious choice on Twinings part. Merely a dependable design choice. Especially given the global vision for this product.
I have purchased other 2015 tins and I notice they stack allowing for easy storage. The name and label is in clear font. As well as a brief description of the tea characteristics. The tin is well made and does a good job as tea storage.
Most western consumers are familiar with tea sold in bags. They provide easy storage and quick brewing. But tea bags will generally contain the lowest quality teas. The remains from the loose leaf production and dust collected from the assembly line. Referred to as “junk tea.” The label on the tin reads “Loose Tea” but I would not call this a loose leaf tea.
Not all tea needs to be premium quality to get some enjoyment. But the packaging, branding, and price point suggest a high quality. The tin describes this as “A traditional blend of black teas, creating a rich and satisfying taste.” Placing the leafs over a fine screen I can see no sign of tears in the leaf. Additionally, I do not see any twigs. And I find no dust after sifting the leafs over a screen. The leafs are uniform in size and shape. This makes me think the tea was reprocessed after being sifted from a premium batch. Giving the impression of a mid-level tea.
Taste & Mouthfeel:
Using a quick brew method (30 seconds in 90C water) the first cup is mild and full. The color resembles an orange maple hue. The cup contains a moderate amount of white hair. (白毫, Sometimes called white down.) These small hairs are in whole leaf or fresh bud teas. A good sign this is not low quality tea.
The first brew is earthy with notes of orange and malt. The mouthfeel is energetic but not thick. It is not bitter in any way and provides a good first impression. The second brew is even with some hints of spice on the back end. The orange notes are lower than the first brew. There is a small bitterness at the finish but not off-putting. The mouthfeel is smilier to the first brew. Not thick nor opposing. I find it suitable for 3 or 4 brews without lose of flavor.
The dry leafs emit an earthy, oily aroma common in black teas. As a blend it’s difficult to discern specific leafs. The scent is pleasant and invigorating to the nose.
The packaging is superb for the price and the leafs are a solid blend. The taste is not overpowering like other breakfast blends. But I think this tea would become lost if mixed with milk or sugar. Which is why many breakfast blends will be from lower grade tea to produce a brash taste. It is a good “morning tea” with a reliable taste profile.
References: [Tea Grading]