H. R. Higgins Afternoon Blend Tea Review

H. R. Higgins Afternoon Blend Tea Review

An afternoon tea should be delicate, refreshing and stand up to the mellow flavours of an afternoon tea platter. H. R. Higgins Afternoon Blend certainly does that! Available in loose leaf format, this black tea blend draws on the flavours of three different origins, with a touch of bergamot for a citrusy edge.

I was gifted this tea by H. R. Higgins but the review remains unbiased. You’ll find links below to purchase the tea directly from the website – these are not affiliate links and I don’t earn anything if you make a purchase.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get brewing.

H. R. Higgins Afternoon Tea at a Glance

Izzy's Rating
  • Blend: Black tea from Assam, Darjeeling and Sri Lanka with bergamot
  • Flavour: Exceptionally mellow, soft and slick with hints of malt

This is a high-quality afternoon tea made with excellent quality tea leaves. The aroma is brisk yet the flavour is surprisingly soft and crying out for a slice of lemon. So close to perfect!

higgins afternoon specialty tea

Full Review – Afternoon Blend Loose Leaf

Izzy's Rating
  • Type: Loose leaf
  • Tea: Black tea from India (Assam and Darjeeling regions) and Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
  • Additives: Bergamot
  • Flavour Notes: Mellow, soft maltiness, slick, light, refreshing
  • Aroma: Malty, tannins, fresh, subtle citrus kick, brisk, astringent
  • Milk or Lemon: Black or with a slice of lemon
  • Where to Buy: H. R. Higgins Teashop

Opening the double-sealed tea tin (a great way to keep your tea leaves fresh for longer) the initial aroma of this tea hints at a brisk and refreshing flavour. It’s slightly malty with notable tannin aromas and a fresh citrus kick – it’s by no means an Earl Grey, but it’s enough to play up those refreshing afternoon tea vibes.

Once brewed according to instructions, this tea is a soft tawny amber shade. It’s very clear and light, which is an excellent indicator that no milk is needed!

As for the aroma, it’s warmer, brisker and more astringent. This might be too harsh on your stomach in the early morning but as an accompaniment to sticky sweets and filling sandwiches in the afternoon, it is spot-on.

The flavour, however, is not what you expect. Rather than transferring that briskness to the flavour, it’s surprisingly mellow. It is a gentle black tea with soft maltiness and a slick texture. Any citrus hint has died down too, so it’s crying out for a slice of lemon of extra pep.

Ultimately, this is a lovely refreshing and soft afternoon tea. I wish it had a little more astringency in the flavour to wash down your afternoon tea snacks, but adding a slice of lemon will help you get there anyway.

h r higgins black afternoon tea blend

How to Brew an Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea blends are typically consumed black or with lemon – they are refreshing rather than punchy. So, shorter brew times are key. H. R. Higgins recommends a 3 and a half minute brew time, then serving either black or with lemon.

For this review, I followed the instructions exactly. 3 and a half minutes, using 1 teaspoon of tea leaf and boiling water, yields a soft and gentle brew.  Adding a slice of lemon is highly recommended.

As for what to serve with this tea, a few biscuits are a must or whatever snack is on the agenda for your afternoon tea break. If you need a tea for a tea party of high tea event, then this is the perfect choice too. I have a guide to What to Serve with Afternoon Tea if you need a little extra assistance.

Why H. R. Higgins?

H. R. Higgins are a high-end tea brand operating in Mayfair, London. They have a rich history and an even richer selection of teas to try. I was sent this afternoon tea blend along with their Earl Grey, Blue Lady, and Mayfair Tea – so far, they are all very high scorers in my Tea Review Index.

Looking at the tea leaves, you can see the quality of the leaf pieces – there are even some golden tea tips among the larger leaves. Not only does this add more depth to the tea but it’s also more expensive to source. And of course, while whole or large leaf takes longer to brew, the complexity and depth of the flavours is typically much better than finely chopped or teabag-quality tea leaves.

fine loose leaf tea leaves

As for the flavouring, Higgins are using just a touch of bergamot. If you look at an Earl Grey tea (like BOH Earl Grey) you’ll notice that there are white flecks among the tea leaves. This is bergamot flavouring, and it’s notable absent from Higgins Afternoon Tea. This leads me to believe that H. R. Higgins are using real bergamot oils rather than flavouring. Bergamot oils are not cheap!

As for the packaging, you can either purchase this tea in a metal tea caddy (highly recommended) or in paper bags for refilling your caddy. One thing I have noted about H. R. Higgins is that the delivery is usually quite fast and the tea arrives smelling very fresh.


This is a wonderful, supreme-quality afternoon tea from Mr Higgins. It doesn’t quite have the briskness, astringency and refreshing qualities you need in the flavour, but the aroma is divine. Adding a slice of lemon transforms this tea from a 4.7 rating to a 5 star rating! You can only buy this tea directly from H. R. Higgins’ website or by visiting their store in Mayfair.

afternoon tea caddy with flowers

Tea-Ware Recommendation

This tea is only available as loose leaf. Rather than buying paper teabags to fill separately, why not try a reusable tea infuser to save money over the long run? I have a Buying Guide for Tea Steepers that you might find useful.

Isobel Moore

Isobel Moore is a quiet, quirky and creative “human bean” whose favourite pastime is curling up with a cuppa and a good book.

Over the past 5 years, her tea reviews at Immortal Wordsmith have helped thousands of readers choose vibrant tea blends and single origin selections from fine, organic, and responsible tea companies.

As a professional content writer with a qualification in digital marketing, Isobel has worked with market-leading tea brands around the globe to develop their content marketing campaigns and gain exposure. Her professional portfolio can be found on Upwork.

Besides a deep-rooted passion for tea, Isobel writes on topics ranging from food and travel to wellness and literature.

Favourite Quote: “Manuscripts don’t burn” – Mikhail Bulgakov

Leave a Reply