Ntingwe Kwazulu ~ Taylors of Harrogate

Although I don’t yet have a lot of experience with it, the few Taylors of Harrogate teas that I’ve tried have all been pretty magical. About as traditionally British high tea as you can get, they tend to be really obscure neat Black teas. Since practically nothing is known about this tea, I looked it up on Talyor’s site and amusingly all it has to say about it is: “This tea has a fresh, brisk flavour and a bright liquor. A full-bodied strong tea from Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa.”

As it hails from South Africa, I’m not much surprised that it has very little scent. South African teas tend to be leafless and appear more like coffee grounds (or grape nuts) than really anything else. Once brewed, Ntingwe Kwazulu smells faintly of bergamot and wet dog (though i’m sure that isn’t one of the ingredients).  In taste, it does actually remind me of both an average Black and of black coffee that’s cooled to room temp. The texture is very gritty, to the point where it reminds me of coffee grounds.  It falls into the category of what i like to call “alternative Black tea”, that is to say if you only ever drink Black tea, it’s subtly different but still reminds you of Black tea to where you might enjoy it on occasion. I don’t think I’d suggest it to someone trying to cut back on coffee though: it has nearly as much caffeine and really it doesn’t have that stellar of a taste.

Ntingwe Kwazulu (and the other few Taylors of Harrogate i’ve sampled) can be got in the Summer/Fall of good harvest years at By the Pound. It retails for $19.99/lb and really i think that’s fairly overpriced for what it is–you’re paying for the name and the shipping/labor overhead. I… guess I recommend it? But seriously, don’t pay that much for it unless you love South African teas.

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