Hey tea-lovers, it’s time for another Teatime Tuesday! This week I’m featuring a classic blend named in honor of one of London’s most famous political hostesses, Lady Londonderry, that inspired many tea companies to create blends to honor British royalty!
This tea is popular at tea parties, and I actually first sampled it at the library lunch break tea party! I couldn’t help but think, when I decided to do iced teas this month and next month, “I wonder what Lady Londonderry would taste like iced?” It seemed a good candidate, so let’s find out!
This is a popular tea blend and can be found from various tea providers, but my leaves came from Tea Chai Te in Portland, Oregon.
They sell their Lady Londonderry blend for $2.99 an ounce on their website, and you can buy a single ounce as a sample, or purchase 2 oz, 4 oz, 9 oz, or 1 lb. size options. I purchased one ounce so I could sample this tea, and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I have decided to replenish my supply from English Tea Store, which sells the blend in a 4 oz. bag for $5.39. I haven’t received English Tea Store’s version of the blend yet, so I don’t know if it’ll hold up in quality, but it is certainly a good deal if it does! Do you have a favorite brand of this blend?
This black tea from Sri Lanka is infused with lemon balm leaves, dried strawberries, and natural lemon and strawberry flavoring. The leaves have a lovely lemony scent, with just a hint of sweet berry!
I steep this tea for five minutes with boiling water, and it is a light-bodied black tea that actually has a yellowish-red tint to its light brown color. It has a lemony scent with just a hint of berry. Sipping this tea leaves a pleasant lemon flavor on the tongue, like flavoring a cup of black tea with a lemon wedge or lemon juice. The tea has a natural sweetness from the dried strawberries, though their flavor is a bit lost behind the citrus notes; occassionally you can catch a bit of sweet berry lingering on the back of the tongue. The tea itself is light so the citrus flavor can flourish! This is one of my favorite black teas I have ever tried! The flavors are distinct, but the tea itself does not feel overwhelmed with its infusions; it is light and sweet, and I can easily drink it without the need of any sweetener!
Though I love a nice hot cuppa of this tea, I’m not fond of it after my cup has gone cold like I enjoy some of my green teas or oolongs, so I started to have my doubts about this tea as an iced tea. Still, I had set forth to try it!
Around the time I made this tea, I received an e-mail from Rishi Tea on cold brewing with some tips that said “Japanese greens, whites, and oolongs are best suited for cold brewing. If using herbal tea, black tea, pu-ehr tea or other blends, first fill to just cover the leaves with 200 F hot water. Infuse hot for one minute, then fill with cold water.” I decided to try this out with this tea, after I wasn’t all that impressed with how the cold brew of the Blueberry Fields from last week turned out. I was still curious to see if a black tea could cold brew, or if I should just always hot brew it, so I figured I’d try this “warm rinse” method out.
I put four teaspoons of Lady Londonderry leaf into my mason jar, added one cup boiling water, sealed the jar, and let it steep for the one minute as suggested. Then I added the remaining three cups of cold water to get my quart, and sealed back up the mason jar. Since the glass was a bit warm, I carefully moved it to the fridge using a towel/pot holder, and let it cold steep over night. When I returned to work the next day, I strained all the leaf off with a fine mesh strainer, so the tea was left in the glass pitcher above. I was very pleased with the initial color and smell! A quick dump of the leaf from my mason jar and a good wash with soap and water, and it was all ready to steep a new batch of tea!
So how did it turn out? Unlike a warm cuppa, which I can drink happily unsweetened, I did need to add some of my handy Kelly’s Delight Liquid Sugar to my cup, but it was fantastic! It was so cool and refreshing! The fact the tea is already so light made it just perfect for an iced tea, and the natural sweet citrus infusion gives it that lemony flavor that is already a popular additive in iced tea! I absolutely loved it! I’m not sure if the “hot rinse” was necessary to bring out the infused flavors, but the flavors from the hot cuppa definitely came out well in the iced brew, even from that very quick hot steep and allowing the rest of the tea to cold brew. This may have worked so well because the tea itself is such a light-bodied black tea to begin with that doesn’t have much of an astringent taste. In any event, I can say with confidence that a quick “hot rinse” followed by a long overnight cold steep works marvelously on this particular tea, and it makes a fantastic iced tea!