Tea & Company Behind the Scenes7/18/2017
by Eliot Jordan
One of the pleasures of my job includes bringing you teas that will knock your socks off. You have come to know and expect excellent teas from Mighty Leaf and we are excited to bring you our all-organic Tea & Company collection of teas. Originally crafted for our high end hotel and restaurant customers, they have recently become available to our loyal customers who shop online. They include some flavors similar to favorites in the Mighty Leaf line-up, but also include fresh and new teas never before offered that we think will win you over like our Chamomile Yuzu.
NOW AVAILABLE: Tea & Company Teaser Packs
Each of the Tea & Company teas are brand new with the exception of Verbena Mint, from the former ML line. Until recently they have been available only in 100 count boxes of tea bags, but we are pleased to now offer Tea & Company teaser packs with 10 tea bags in each, offering a window into tea taste, available by tea type:
- Black Tea Teaser Pack - Emperor’s Breakfast, Earl Grey Crème, Meridian Chai.
- Green Tea Teaser Pack – Royal Passion Fruit, Chaling Jasmine, Three Rivers.
- Herbal Tea Teaser Pack – Blood Orange Rooibos, Chamomile Yuzu, Verbena Mint.
This gives you the opportunity to discover a new favorite tea. Then you can stock up on it with one of our 100 count boxes of tea bags afterwards.
How we selected our Tea & Company teas
As we began the hard decision-making process of which teas would make the cut, we blended and tasted countless versions, culling down the list to bring you the most memorable teas. Sometimes that meant learning from a weather-tested Mighty Leaf tea like our Organic Earl Grey, ensuring our Tea & Company Earl Grey Crème hit all the notes people love about our Mighty Leaf version and then exceeded their expectations. Other times, we started with a favorite blend like Green Tea Tropical and teased out some of the more subtle notes that give the Tea & Company blend a life of its own—like passion fruit becoming the star in Royal Passion Fruit. Instead of Royal Passion Fruit being a brother to Green Tea Tropical, it’s more like a cousin and is different enough you can tell them apart while offering a promise that if you like one, you will like the other.
We wanted to broaden the scope of the types of teas you could taste in tea bag form through Tea & Company and sought to bring a white tea, oolong, and Pu’er tea into the mix. This collaborative process involved my Mighty Leaf tea team as well as our tea suppliers. Because these teas are available at high end hotels and restaurants, it’s important that they are as memorable as the experiences where they are first tasted.
One tea that surprised us along the way is Blood Orange Rooibos. We knew we wanted a rooibos blend in the mix and initially leaned toward a different flavor profile but this Blood Orange Rooibos stood out time and again from the 12 contenders we taste-tested. It’s very drinkable and accessible. When you tap into a tea blend that’s both interesting and drinkable, you’ve got a winner!
Tea & Company Wins Big!
This year we entered five of our Tea & Company teas into the Global Tea Championship awards and won high marks in the single serve (commercially available in tea bags) contest where we entered them. Of the five teas we entered, four of them received the top score in their categories and one of them received the second highest score. Our Tea & Company teas are the best teas in the world if you want the convenience of a tea bag. The only reason we didn’t win more awards is we didn’t enter more teas. I was really proud of our rankings and the legitimacy of the process to identify them. I used to be a judge in the Global Tea Championship but now with Mighty Leaf entering the contest, I can’t also be a judge, but I know what goes into the methodical process. A team of four to six judges, each with about 10-25 years experience tasting teas, all cup the teas blind (but do see the cup and the tea leaves). Every tea gets a score—it’s built like a wine tasting sheet with aroma, appearance, and flavor. It’s a great honor to be recognized by the Global Tea Championship because it’s a legitimate blind tasting competition.
Tea & Company Tea Spotlights
One of my favorite teas in the line is the Vintage Pu’er. Pu’er is not widely sold in the U.S. and a lot of times people see it in brick form, which is cool for connoisseurs, but if you’re not a tea geek, you might not know what to do with it. I wanted to have a Pu’er in the line for this reason. If this was a beer, it would be a Guinness—it isn’t for everybody, but it’s distinctly rich and surprising— coffee drinkers will like it. Some Pu’er teas are really earthy, with notes of old barns or ‘forest floor’. We looked far and wide to find a mild tea for the American palate, something earthy with Pu’er character but approachable, especially if you’ve never tried this type of tea before. I have a secret hope that people will want to try something exotic, taste Pu’er, and love it. I do enjoy this unique category of teas when I’m in the mood for them. Now that we have it in tea bag format, I can take them with me when I travel or while camping (keeping with the ‘forest floor’ theme).
Another tea that surprises me still is the Meridian Chai. It’s an interesting approach to the large category of chai that typically offers a zillion variations. I’ve always liked the Calcutta-style chai—available in our Masala Chai. Our new Meridian Chai is different and fun with an interesting developing flavor. A key ingredient is licorice root—it smells great and has a unique character. I’m a chai traditionalist typically, but this is a nice self-drinking cup that doesn’t need milk or sugar, though it does taste great with both. This blend kept emerging through the cupping process and is quite memorable.
Speaking of another memorable tea in the line, our Three Rivers Green Tea is a pure green tea unlike any you’ve probably had before. Our Mighty Leaf line offers both an Organic Green Dragon, which is made in a traditional Chinese Dragonwell style, as well our Organic Emerald Matcha, a combination of Japanese Matcha and Sencha in tea bag form. Instead of trying to bring those same flavors of teas to Tea & Company, we sought a pure green tea with a different character, found in Three Rivers green tea. It gets its name from the Yunnan province area where it’s grown and where three major rivers of Asia are each separated by a narrow mountain range. This tea tastes more sappy, wild, and has a nice honeydew melon note to it, while maintaining a classic Chinese green tea flavor.
Whichever tea you try first in our Tea & Company teaser packs, you’ll taste teas meant to be memorable, that will make you want to linger over your cup.