With all the blending that goes on here, from selecting teas from up to thirty different gardens for Yorkshire Tea, to finding the very best in the world for our luxury blend Yorkshire Gold, a lot of different tea samples pass through our tasting room.
Once our expert tea buyers have a well-earned break from ‘cupping’ and assessing teas, they collect what’s left of some of the more interesting samples together and have a little fun.
“When we’ve a break, we take it in turns at getting really creative. It’s like ‘Ready, Steady, Cook!’ but with the best teas in the world – anything goes” enthused Kate, one of our expert tea buyers.
Every day, hundreds of 20g samples arrive in envelopes from far-flung places such as Kenya and India and some were growing on the tea bush just four days before we receive them. Many of these fantastic teas are used by our tea buyers to do a little informal experimentation.
“Around 3pm, we often put a hand blend together. Maybe a pinch of this, a dash of that and a sprinkling of the other. Then we see what the rest of the team think. They’re not all successes by any means and they’re quick to say if it’s not right” said Kate.
“Henry might magic up a really refreshing white tea blend, or Simon a really beautifully balanced one with a hint of Jasmine.“
This is actually how one of the more unusual Taylors speciality tea blends are created. For example, our Bettys Celebration Blend – which people ordered for weddings – was a blend of second flush Darjeeling and orthodox tippy Assam teas with a scattering of rose petals
You can actually give blending a go yourself, even with tea bags. “My mum likes to makes a pot with two Yorkshire Tea bags but also pops in an Earl Grey. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (Kate really did say that), she just likes a hint of it”.
When the buyers buy a tea that is so fabulous that they can’t wait for it to be shipped over – like a Rwandan Gisovu that’s in Yorkshire Gold, or a dry weather East of Rift Kenyan tea – they’ll often grab what’s left of the tasting sample and make a pot. As Kate always says of really great teas “They taste so fantastic, it’s like they’re singing in your mouth”.
So there you are. Our tea buyers don’t sit around drinking tea all day (actually they stand when they’re tasting), but when they do get a break, they blend tea. Now that’s dedication.