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19th December 2006

By Edward Eisler

Blends can be good!

The finest blends are made from outstanding components, carefully and ingeniously matched to create a sensuous experience. When you taste blends of this kind, the flavour of each of the components will dance across your palette as a unified taste which elevates the individual flavours to something higher. The whole purpose behind creating a blend like this, is to make obvious the characters of the different teas it contains as they mingle and complement one another.

"Blending can also be very mercenary. Most blends available today are like this – the cheapest teas are blended cleverly to create a desired taste. The main purpose behind them is to offer a specific taste for a minimum cost. While this kind of blending revolutionised the tea industry in the Victorian era, it led to today’s low quality mass produced teas which offer no inkling of the outstanding teas that are available. It’s very sad that while tea is the second most consumed beverage on earth after water, most tea drinkers today know nothing of what’s actually available beyond their tea bag. I never had the intention to create any blends. For me the really outstanding teas were those available from small gardens and well managed estates which you could almost sense and feel in the experience of drinking the tea they produce. However, when I was asked again and again by some of the hotels and restaurants we supply for blends I felt I had to do something.

I was also swayed by the experience of drinking outstanding whisky blend like Jonnie Walker Black and the rare and outstanding Blue edition. These whisky blends manage to offer the essential characters of the main individual whisky’s they contain, as well as offering another dimension – that of the different characters being married and complementing one another. They are easy-drinking and fit for the connoisseur. They lack the singular purity of taste offered by a Single Malt but that is not what everyone wants.

I have made many blends which will be available on the website in coming months. But for now we offer just a few and I will discuss three here. I will write about the other blends as we add them to the site. I cannot give the full details of the components of the blends (they are a little bit secret!)

The first is the JING India Blend. This is a blend of Assam and Darjeeling, aimed at the person who likes a rich, strong, malty cup but with a difference. It should be no surprise that the main proportion of the blend is made up of a wonderfully rich, malty and tippy Assam. A smaller proportion of fragrant silver-tipped Darjeeling is added to elevate and contrast the full-bodied, heartiness of the Assam and give it some bite. What makes this blend so special (as well as the taste) is the quality of the raw materials. There has been no compromise on their quality – no concept of “It’s only a blend so we’ll use some ordinary tea…”


Our next blend is Moroccan Mint. Again, this is a simple blend of outstanding Gunpowder, which was specially made for Jing from the first green tea picked in spring of 2006. This in itself makes a huge difference – ordinary Gunpowder is so bitter, dark and earthy and has to be sweetened to be enjoyed. Then I took some really excellent peppermint chosen from many different grades. The two are blended in a proportion to give the rich, smooth sweetness of the green tea set against the fresh, cool bite of the peppermint.


Our Rosebud Gong Fu was specially made to offer the ultimate Rose tea imaginable. We blended different grades of Keemun (including some of the highest grades), to give a light but clear, precise flavour. Then, instead of taking rose petals or even rose scent, both of which fail to deliver the perfect sweet-softness of real roses, I used whole rose buds. These offer the best flavour as well as the best appearance. We also offer a White Peony and Rose for those who want to have a low caffeine rose tea to drink in the evening.