My new favourite teas


I swear this post is library-related. Before attending library school, I’d heard all the stereotypes about librarians – they sit behind a desk wearing big glasses, high buns and cardigans, talking about cats and drinking tea. Well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly fit a few of those stereotypes – while I rarely find myself behind a desk these days, high buns keep the hair out of my face during story times, cardigans are perfect layering pieces for unpredictable weather days, I love everything about cats except the way that they aggravate my allergies and asthma, and if I didn’t have decent enough vision I’d happily add glasses to my look.

That brings us to tea! I have always been a tea drinker – tea warms you up, cools you down, wakes you up, calms you down, and is perfect for soothing your sore throat after a marathon of singing and picture book reading. Unlike coffee, tea comes in a plethora of varieties – black, green, oolong, rooibos, herbal, flavoured, unflavoured, caffeinated, decaffeinated – and you can drink it hot or cold, with milk or clear, sweetened or unsweetened or with lemon. The possibilities are endless!

All of this is to say that I’ve just discovered a delicious pair of black teas that are making me smile, even on the darkest, dreariest of mornings. I’ve always preferred black tea with milk, it’s what I grew up drinking and it’s what I’m most familiar with. Typically I reach for Earl Grey or English Breakfast, pretty boring but it does the trick.

On a recent trip to New Zealand, my parents brought back these beauties for me:

Twinings New Zealand Earl Grey

Twinings held a “Great Earl Grey Taste Off”, inviting consumers from across New Zealand to vote on their favourite new Earl Grey tea blend, and this delicious tea was the winner. As a life-long Earl Grey aficionado, I’m pretty picky about my tea, and this one is a real stunner. I prefer it with milk but without sugar, as the sweet orange blossom and citrusy bergamot essence add a subtle sweetness that is just enough for me. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each box also goes to charity, which is a nice touch.

New Zealand Breakfast Tea

Another twist on a classic, New Zealand Breakfast Tea is of course a variation on my other favourite tea, English Breakfast. Sorry England, the colonies have you beat yet again. This simple black breakfast tea is delicious. Definitely a bolder tea than the Earl Grey, this produces a darker, stronger tea that still isn’t bitter. According to the box,

“Inspired by the magic of birdsong in the bush, as day breaks over the land, this delicious tea has been specially crafted to get New Zealand off to a great start every morning. New Zealand Breakfast tea is a full-bodied and satisfying blend, with generous malty flavours. You will taste a little smokiness, reminiscent of campfires and billies coming to the boil, offset by subtle floral notes. This is a truly unique blend, unlike any other in the world.”

Well, I honestly can’t say I’m of birdsong in the bush or billies coming to the boil when I drink this tea, but it does produce a very tasty brew, and I do love that it reminds me of New Zealand every time I grab for the box.

That’s a tui on the front of the NZ Breakfast box, which is a much beloved native bird (my parents once had a cat named Tui, though he was a Canadian cat, and would not have been likely to run into any of his namesakes).

Alright Twinings, you’ve given New Zealanders two delicious teas that celebrate their beautiful country, and given this librarian something unique to drink at her desk. Now, what about us Canadians? I think a Canadian Earl Grey is order, though please don’t think about adding maple flavoring to it, yuck!

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