“The British Empire was built on tea” is the sort of glib slogan you may find adorned on a mug in a staff kitchen, but there is some substance to this bold claim. We are a nation of tea drinkers and, aside from the marketing illusion that tea plants grow in Yorkshire, it is generally accepted that a good, old-fashioned builders brew is our national drink. However, this has only been the case for the last one-hundred years or so. Before then, it was actually this wonderful tea that we consumed in abundance and defined our tea-drinking reputation. A hugely popular product imported from Russia at the time, this delicious tea fell out of favour due a variety of theorised reasons and has since been confined to the enjoyment of foragers and their afternoon tea guests.
Rosebay Willowherb tea is made using the same fermentation process that oxidises regular tea from green to black, and has similar earthy flavours to match. We find the ‘freshness’ of this tea more suitable to being enjoyed without milk, although when served at the start of one of our workshops, this still goes down a treat with a dash. There should be enough for a few portions or one strong teapot.