After a week of some very bad news (RIP, Queen Elizabeth II) reviewing a regal and elegant tea like Whittard Piccadilly Tea seems like the right move. It’s a black tea blend and part of Whittard’s permanent range – it’s even available in those beautiful caddy tins, if you use my links below to find it on Amazon.
Fair warning – it’s heavy on the flavouring! Usually, Whittard pop in natural ingredients in their blends, but not today. So, I’m curious to see what Whittard Piccadilly Tea will be like.
This review covers what the tea tastes like, the best method for brewing it, some info on the ingredients, and the best places to buy it online.
Whittard Piccadilly Tea at a Glance
Full Review – Whittard Piccadilly Blend
- Type: Tagged paper filter teabag
- Tea: Black tea
- Additives: Hibiscus, cornflower petals, flavourings (rose, strawberry and lotus)
- Flavour Notes: Bitter, fake sweetness, fake berries
- Aroma: Rose, light sweet strawberry, summer berries, tannins, refreshing
- Milk or Lemon: Neither
- Where to Buy: Whittard of Chelsea or Amazon
The initial aroma from the teabag is quite light and refreshing. There’s a semi-natural strawberry note and a tint of rose, that really works well together. With drying tannins, I can see that this could be a great afternoon tea.
After brewing it according to Whittard’s instructions (see below) this Piccadilly tea is a dark black-brown colour that I’d usually add milk to. However, as this tea has both fruit and floral flavourings, I’m holding back for now.
The aroma from the brewed tea is only slightly fruity, with a note of mixed summer berries, and is very tannin rich. You can already tell that it’s going to be a bitter affair.
And I was right! It’s a bitter black tea, very strong in flavour yet completely lacking in body. It has no depth. You cannot taste anything of the hibiscus, which should give it a nice warmth and tartness. Instead, the flavouring Whittard uses creates an unnaturally sweet fake berry flavour. It’s generic and uninteresting.
As for the mouthfeel, it’s slick and drying which is exactly what you want at afternoon tea. I can certainly drink this brew if I’ve got cakes and sandwiches to consume alongside it. However, there are far better afternoon tea blends available, and I can’t whole-heartedly say this is even in the top 10!
How to Brew Whittard Piccadilly Tea
Whittard recommends brewing 1 teabag (or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf) in 200ml of freshly boiled water, for 3 to 5 minutes. This is the standard recipe for nearly all black tea blends, and it will usually make a good cup. If you’re brewing a larger mug (closer to 300ml) you’ll want to use a generous heaped teaspoon instead.
I brewed for 3 minutes for my review, but I’d brew for just 1 minute if I drank this tea again. The flavour would be much lighter… and hopefully the bitterness would lessen too.
Shortbread is the recommended food companion for this tea. I agree with this, but I think any tasty afternoon tea snack would go well with it – anything to add some richness.
I still don’t think milk would be a good addition to this tea, and it’s plenty sweet already without a teaspoon of sugar.
Why Whittard of Chelsea?
Whittard create some of the most quintessentially British blends – Whittard Piccadilly Tea is supposed to be one of those classics. It’s inspired by walking down Piccadilly Street, and the ingredients were selected to bring together Western and Eastern tea traditions (I’m not sure how).
Unfortunately, the main flavours that Whittard describe this tea as having – rose, strawberry, lotus – are all added through flavouring. Why?! I’ve seen dried strawberry pieces and rose petals in other blends, so why couldn’t they be used in this blend?
Nonetheless, the leaf quality is pretty great for the loose leaf blend. I’ve got the teabag blend to work with, which is lower quality. If you have to choose, go for the loose leaf blend.
Whittard don’t have any organic or Fairtrade certifications, but they are one of the most trusted tea brands in Britain and have been serving up tea blends for over a century. They have my respect.
Overall, this is a weak link in Whittard’s range of delicious British tea blends. They usually nail the afternoon tea vibe, but Whittard Piccadilly Tea falls short. Nonetheless, I do acknowledge that it has favourable reviews at Whittard and on Amazon, so it really comes down to personal taste. If you think that Whittard Piccadilly is your cup of tea, you can find it using the button below or links above.
If you want to enjoy tea on-the-go, which I highly recommend, then my Bubble Tea Flask is perfect. It’s made with borosilicate glass which is highly insulating and is also an excellent alternative to plastic travel cups.