Review: Best International Tea S. D. Bell’s English Breakfast

Assam Tea, Best International Tea, Black Tea, Ceylon Tea Add comments
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I found the milk nicely evened out the acidity of the Assam, but also masked some of the maltiness. It also brought out the fruity tones of the Ceylon. It has just the slightest background note of peaches or apricots. Prepared with my normal amount of milk and sugar, it was a really lovely cup of breakfast tea!"
Melanie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
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This is my very first introduction to Best International Tea and my first visit to their website. They bring tea from the U.K.'s S.D. Bell of Belfast teas to United States tea drinkers. "For over 120 years and four generations S.D. Bell of Belfast, Ireland has been blending exqusite black teas. The name S.D. Bell is synonymous with quality tea and is known as a worldwide leader in fine premium black teas."

The website is simple and easy to use. The main offering is S.D. Bell's English Breakfast tea and it comes in a large variety of loose leaf box sizes as well as in tea bags. They also offer several other specialty teas from S.D. Bell of Belfast, like Lady Londonderry, some Assam's, Darjeelings, China Black, a few greens and herbal teas.

I received a sample of their loose Natural Leaf English Breakfast. It smelled very fresh. This appears to be a BOP, though that is not stated in the description. The leaves are broken, not full, but not small dustings either. It is a dark tea, with a few golden tips.

The description says it is a blend of Assam and Ceylon. These are two of my favorite breakfast teas. I always begin my day with a pot of black tea. Today, I'm "celebrating" the last day of my 40's, so I also treated myself to a special Shelley Bone China Tea cup to accompany my pot of tea.

I measured 2 full and 1 scant teaspoon of tea (this is usually the perfect measurement for my teapot) and I used my basket strainer. I filled the teapot with water that had just come to boil (after heating the teapot of course). My first pot of any black tea, I always start with a 6 min steep. Sometimes I will reduce that to 5 min, or increase it to 7 depending on the tea. For this English Breakfast, 6 min was perfect.

I removed the strainer and poured my first cup of tea. It had a beautiful dark color with a slight hint of red. It smelled fresh with a hint of fruitiness. It has a gentle maltiness to it and is a bit acidic, and yet quite smooth on the tongue. I drink my morning tea with milk and sugar, but I tested this tea black, with just milk and then I prepared it like I normally do.

I found the milk nicely evened out the acidity of the Assam, but also masked some of the maltiness. It also brought out the fruity tones of the Ceylon. It has just the slightest background note of peaches or apricots. Prepared with my normal amount of milk and sugar, it was a really lovely cup of breakfast tea!

I would not say this is the highest quality Assam and Ceylon blend I have ever had, but S.D. Bell of Belfast has chosen well and created a really nice blend. It tastes just like I'm having tea in a tea room in the U.K. I feel like I need a scone and Devonshire Cream to go with my tea this morning.

— To purchase Best International Tea S. D. Bell’s English Breakfast, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Melanie Melanie
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