This is the last of the three mini tea tins I’ve got from New English Teas to review. So far, the quality has been middling and the flavours have been pretty good. But with New English Teas English Afternoon Tea follow the trend? That’s what my tea review is here to find out.
Below you’ll find my tasting notes for this CTC black tea, including the aroma and flavour, plus some tips on how to brew it. You can also learn a little bit about New English Teas here as well. To buy this tea and try it for yourself, I’ve included some links to help you find it on Amazon.
English Afternoon Tea at a Glance
Full Review – New English Teas Afternoon Blend
- Type: Loose leaf
- Tea: CTC black tea
- Origin: Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
- Flavour Notes: Plain black tea, tannins, bitterness
- Aroma: Bright tannins, Ceylon tea, rich
- Milk or Lemon: Milk and sugar
- Where to Buy: New English Teas or Amazon
The initial aroma of this tea was kind of disappointing. It smells just like any old Ceylon black tea. Usually that would be quite nice – the bright tannins and smoothness – but for an Afternoon Tea you want something a little more delicate and refreshing.
New English Teas English Afternoon tea brews into a very dark peat brown tea colour after only a minute. The more you brew, the darker it gets. As for the aroma, it’s the same bright Ceylon scent as the initial dry aroma but just a little bit richer.
And then we get to the flavour. It’s a plain black tea with pronounced tannin notes and bitterness. It’s obviously the kind of tea you should drink with milk and it has very little complexity or depth. I didn’t find it very interesting.
With an afternoon tea, you want something a little exciting but also quite refreshing and light. Whittard of Chelsea’s afternoon tea is best without milk. Jasmine green tea can also be a nice afternoon tea, and numerous other fruit and black tea blends are popular as well.
But a plain black Ceylon tea of this strength? Save it for breakfast.
How to Brew Black Afternoon Tea
This is a plain CTC black tea, which means it is designed to brew quickly and easy. Just add a teaspoon (approximately 2g) of the tea pellets to your infuser, pour over boiling water, and let it brew for 2-3 minutes.
3 minutes worked the charm for me, when I added milk and sugar to brighten and sweeten it. I wouldn’t recommend drinking it black. Even with very short brew times of about a minute, the tea is still too dark.
This would be a good tea to pair with heavy foods. Jamaican ginger cake would be a good choice.
Why New English Teas Alice in Wonderland Tins?
I received these mini tins as a thoughtful gift, with no idea what to expect. The leaf used for the English Breakfast and English Afternoon teas is CTC, which stands for cut tear curl. This refers to the processing of the leaves. It results in a pellet-shaped leaf that brews very quickly and releases a strong, bold flavour.
These are the kinds of teas you should always drink with milk. Personally, I think this is the wrong choice for an afternoon tea.
New English Teas was established in the 80s and they seem to just create the same tea blends but in different novelty tea tins. The Alice in Wonderland collection is cute, but I like the Peter Rabbit and Lowry painting versions more. I remember studying Lowry in art class at school, so that tea tin brings back good memories.
I just wish the tea inside the tea tins was a bit better!
Although this English Afternoon tea is rather plain, it’s still pleasant and certainly drinkable. It’s not a classic light afternoon tea, so don’t expect something you can drink delicately with little cakes and sandwiches. Instead, this is a hearty and simple brew to have with a few biscuits or at breakfast time.
If you want the opposite of plain, then go for a more adventurous tea. Or even try pairing unusual foods with your tea. I recently wrote a quick guide to Chocolate in Tea and Chocolate with Tea that will whet your appetite.