Canton English Breakfast: origin and flavour
When you set out to create your own blend of a tea with such a popular following, finding a new approach that respects the tradition is very important. Thankfully, the ingredients we’ve brought together for this blend are very special. Once you’ve tried Canton English Breakfast, you’ll never go back to an ordinary version.
Our challenge was to find teas that had the strength for a breakfast blend but also the flavour and high notes to allow it to be enjoyed without milk if desired. We based the blend around teas from the highlands of Kenya, including two very special sources. The first is one of the few gardens that produces the large twisted leaves that we needed for their special flavour. The second is a personal favourite of the blend’s creator – Phil Mumby, Rare Tea Hunter. It comes from a group of smallholder farmers near Mount Kenya, who grow tea amongst their other food crops. They group together to sell their tea under the name Makomboki and have a close personal connection with Phil going back over many years.
We then turned to another part of Africa – Rwanda – to unlock the rich flavours the climate offers. The climate is not the only noteworthy thing about this area. Though Rwanda’s people and economy faced great struggle during the ’90s, tea has been part of the nation’s recovery. The conditions for growing are impeccable – with high altitude, hot temperatures and volcanic soil, the tea itself is beautiful.
Yunnan tea is sourced in China, and this addition was to add Canton flair as our history sourcing teas really began in Asia. Grown in the mountains of South West China, where tea has been cultivated for hundreds of years, the leaves are harvested with knowledge passed down from generations.
The final piece in our English Breakfast puzzle is the assam sourced in India. Many English Breakfast teas draw on assam as the basis for blending, so it was an almost essential ingredient for us. We opted for a high-quality, small-leaf tea harvested in the early season, as the flavour can tend towards bitterness if picked too late. This particular tea comes from a producer Phil has visited several times in his constant hunt for the world’s incredible teas.
Each region where the teas originate brings a unique characteristic to the brew. The Kenyan leaves have depth to them and give the liquor a beautiful gold colour. The assam adds a maltiness and the Rwandan tea makes the blend rich and smooth. Yunnan Chinese black tea weaves in a really unique dark cocoa flavour and all these elements come together beautifully with hints of malt and fig too.
The blend delivers a lively, full-bodied tea with a bright, fresh satisfying flavour to delight every lover of this traditional tea. As he devised this blend, Phil was also determined to ensure that the blend could be enjoyed as a black tea without the need for milk to soften its flavour. If you were to add milk, it also shouldn’t take on a dull brown colour, it should have a gorgeous golden colour. These goals were achieved to create this immensely popular blend that tips its hat to the original while existing in a class of its own.