Inspector Graham's Favorite Teas

Featured in the Inspector David Graham Mystery Series

PG Tips Extra Strong

With its deep red tone and robust, powerful taste, this consummate British favorite jump-starts and empowers anyone’s day. It drives productivity to heights previously considered unattainable. Made from the top two tender, light green leaves and buds (tips) of tea plants grown in the small town of Kericho, in the southwestern portion of Kenya, where daily showers and moderate temperatures provide ideal conditions for this Superman of tea, the leaves are then blended with other African teas to produce the bold character and malty aroma that makes breakfast worth waking up for.

Butterfly of Taiwan Oolong Tea

One sip of this tea and the tea enthusiast is transported deep into the forest. Or they find themselves as if cavorting in a field of clover across which bees busily pollinate without a care in the world. Punctuated with the scent of wood and underpinned with honey undertones, this delicate Taiwanese tea is considered the gateway to Wu Long (Oolong) tea. Careful with that first cup, as addiction to these creamy teas is a definite possibility. A hard and fast rule: no milk, sugar or lemon with this mellow one. It must be enjoyed pure.

Prince Vladimir Black Tea

Created in honor of Vladimir the Great in 1888, this unforgettable blend of black China teas has been rumored to induce swoons. Who could resist the classic, seductive, instantly recognizable bergamot scent of Earl Grey and the combination of citrus, vanilla, and spices galore that provide a barely disguised dessert in a perfectly acceptable at-all-times-of-the-day cup of tea? It has the capacity to lure one out of a warm bed with the promise of a royal start to the day. A touch of milk is always welcome with this cup of history.

Egyptian Chamomile Herbal Tea

A golden yellow, sweetly floral, apple-centric elixir that will calm nerves even as it steeps. The deepest anxiety is no match for this potion. Absolute magic, chamomile has long been celebrated for increasing serotonin and melatonin levels which means that this caffeine-free tea of Egyptian chamomile flowers will not only send one off to sleep, but also ensures happy dreams. Ancient Egyptians dedicated chamomile to the gods; insomniacs feel the same way when they drop off to sleep. In Egypt, the tiny chamomile flowers are harvested by hand or with a special chamomile rake. Add a few drops of honey to take this cup over the top.

Assam Black Tea

Sometimes the day is so long that the only sensible thing to do is have a cup of breakfast tea in the afternoon. Shocking, yes. Sensible, surely. Sensational, most definitely. Whether there’s a murder to be solved, or a toddler to be convinced it’s time to nap, tough afternoons call for a bracing yet balanced infusion of brisk Indian Assam tea leaves, straight up. Commonly blended into breakfast teas, on its own the complexity of Assam tea performs a tightrope dance of being robust yet sweet, energizing yet soothing, smooth yet textured. And if a tea can do all that, then you can surely take charge of every single thing that comes your way after you’ve downed a cup. Milk and sugar are encouraged.

Silver Needle White Tea

Smelling of fresh-cut hay, this white tea from the Fujian Province in China is the perfect delicate tea to take a special occasion over the top quite simply, it is the champagne of teas. Expensive, out of the ordinary, and brewing to a pale yellow, the leaves are picked while they are still unopened buds. Since you wouldn’t waste of drop of this nectar, sharing a pot with someone telegraphs the message that they are worth it. The lingering, mellow finish lets them know you don’t want your time together to end. Keep it simple, sugar would be redundant and milk unnecessary.

“As I write this on a narrowboat in Crick, Sonja is reading your book The Case of the Missing Letter and she is thoroughly enjoying it!”

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