English Breakfast - Organic

Picture of English Breakfast
Brand:Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Co
Style:English Breakfast
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Region:Nilgiri, India
Loose/teabag:Sachet
Product page:English Breakfast

Ratings & Reviews

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Link Link to This Review
Reviewer pic64 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
(225 reviews) on

For a simple tea, this has to have the most convoluted backstory for any I've tried. First, the tea itself: it had remarkably weak dry-bag and wet-bag aromas for what seemed to be a high-quality, single-estate tea, though in-cup, the smell was richer and fairly basic. The flavor wasn't particularly strong or bold, but was pleasant, and surprisingly sweet—one of the most naturally sweet black teas I've had. I add the same dosage of the same sweetener at all times, to all teas, and this one stood out. In both cups, the sip started somewhat astringent and woody, evolving into a mildly bitter aftertaste, with a straightforward, moderate tea taste comparable to some Darjeelings I've had. All in all: a good tea, certainly above average, but still rather plain...didn't wow me in the experience, and somewhat below expectations for an "artisan" tea. It does seem to contain a decent caffeine kick.

A note on the photo: normally I'm lazy and use the image from the manufacturer's website, if it has one. However, I took a phone shot of the sachet and used it here. Vermont Artisan's onsite picture is of wretched quality—small, dark, low-res and fuzzy, with blurry-looking loose leaves piled inside cupcake paper in one corner of the shot. That's not a helpful way to exhibit one's tea!

A note on confusing (re)branding: I stumbled into a bizarre situation regarding this tea. If you'll indulge the story...I first had (apparently) this tea in a vacation residence in Colorado, labeled as "The Woods Tea Co. Vermont Blend", with Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea's name and web address in small print on the packaging. Stated source was the Iyerpadi Estate. [I now wish I had taken a picture to upload here!] Get this: "The Woods Tea Co." is the name of a music band based in Vermont, not an actual tea company. At some point in place and time, Vermont Artisan marketed the tea, apparently as a specialty run commemorating the band, and it found its way to a house in rural Colorado at 9,700 feet of elevation. I can't find the "Woods Tea Co. Vermont Blend" anywhere on their website, despite the web address' being on the packaging. And how can it be a "blend" if it's one tea type from one estate? I didn't know what to do yet with this peculiar arrangement, so I wrapped a sachet tightly, took it home, shelved it, and didn't rate it yet, pending more information.

As it so happens, a few weeks later, I was in Vermont for a conference, found a sachet of their English Breakfast, also sole-sourced from Iyerpadi Estate, and took it home. I later drank both teas, back-to-back, and they look, smell and taste the same. It took fortuitous travel from Oklahoma to Colorado to Oklahoma to Vermont and back, to deduce this. So after the ordeal, here's my educated guess: they indeed are the same tea, just repackaged as a single-source "blend", for some unknown occasion, related to a folk band that's named after a nonexistent tea company. Wow.
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