Fortnum & Mason’s Royal Blend

I’m sure that after Kate Middleton has her baby she’ll be back to having a cup of Fortnum & Mason’s Royal Blend.  This classic British tea makes the perfect accompaniment to English tea time snacks such as Battenburg Cake or scones, cutting thorough rich baked goods with strong assertiveness and bold flavor.  Fortnum’s, built in the early 1700’s, officially provides their beautiful tea and other specialty products to the British Royal Family, as they are “Royal Warrant holders.”  If you want a drink that is quintessentially English and relatively easy to get in the U.S., this is it.  This tea was first blended for King Edward the VII in the early 1900’s and endures to this day as the company’s signature tea.

Royal Blend tea in a robin’s egg blue bowl, the classic color of Fortnum’s

Tasting Notes:

BREWING TIPS:  4 minutes @ 212 degrees F.  I think 5 minutes to brew this tea is a bit too long and starts to draw out bitter tannins.  So, 4 minutes with some agitation of the leaves will give you the best brew.  As it is, this is some robust tea…or as the label reads:  “stronger tea.”  Brew it just right and it will be bold without being brash.

Check out this link from the Fortnum & Mason site, which explains how to brew a perfect cup of their signature Royal Blend tea:  http://www.fortnumandmason.com/c-46-the-perfect-cup-of-tea-fortnum-and-mason.aspx

THE LEAF:  Black tea made up of Assam and Ceylon teas from India and Sri Lanka.  Short, twisted leaves with flecks of light brown.

THE SCENT:  A modestly fragrant tea.

THE STEEP:  A coppery and brilliantly clear amber.  This is a full-flavored, bold English tea. The bright Ceylon tea leaves balance out the malty, darker Assam.  Take the edge off with a splash of milk and it’s just perfect.  Some sugar or a slice of lemon also make nice additions. This is a tea that would be a good replacement to coffee.

GET IT:  William Sonoma, in stores or online at www.fortnumandmason.com.

Jane Pettigrew, British tea specialist and author, wrote this gorgeous piece on Fortnum & Mason’s refurbished tea salon, which celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  You can read it in the June 2013 issue of TeaTime Magazine.  I was so thrilled to meet her a few weeks ago and get my copy signed!

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