Sunday, January 10, 2016

Downton Abbey Republic of Tea Tasting

We are anxiously awaiting episode two of Downton Abbey tonight.  In preparation, the teapot and I did a bit of a tea tasting this afternoon.  The Downton Abbey gift assortment by Republic of Tea contains six teabags.  Four of them are black, and two are herbal blends.

I sampled all six teas and ranked them from least favorite to my number one selection.  I tried to select teacups that reflect the personality of the character for whom the various teas are named.
The teabags are individually wrapped.
Coming in at number six is English Rose Herb Tea.
Herbal teas are not a favorite of mine.  I do enjoy some herbal mint teas from time to time.
This tea is tart from the hibiscus, but the color is amazing.  I also detect a bit of raspberry.
 In this teacup, it was very beautiful, just like Lady Rose.  (Although I don't think the tea is named after that character.)
This teacup is Royal Albert's "A celebration of the Old Country Roses Garden".
I selected this cup because a rose garden seems just the place Lady Rose may have slipped away with a gentleman friend.  Now that she is married, I hope she will return to England and have a wonderful gardener to tend a beautiful rose garden on her estate.
Fifth is Lady Cora's Evening Herb Tea
I am not a fan of chamomile.  The hints of citrus with the chamomile make this tea tolerable.  
Lady Cora is refined and feminine, so I selected this Limoges teacup from Haviland, France.
Even though she appears delicate, she is very strong, just like this cup.  
The pink flowers are dainty and seem to be everywhere.  From the saucer, to both the inside and outside of the cup, they have a presence, but are not obtrusive.
Mrs. Patmore's Pudding Black Tea ranked fourth for me.
It tasted of vanilla and caramel, just as described.  I just wasn't in the mood for a good pudding today.
This Royal Albert teacup and saucer is signed by A Wagg.  The gardenia has a real presence, just as Mrs. Patmore does in her kitchen.  
The flower in the bottom of the cup could symbolize Mrs. Patmore's ranking in life, but she shines through everything above her and enhances their lives.  
Without her, dinner would simply be a plain cup of tea.
Bates' Brambleberry Tea came in third.  The tea is very fruity, and today, it just wasn't what I desired.  I enjoy Bates and his humor on the show.  I selected this cup, because it is stout and strong, just like him.  This pattern is used at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  It is made in the USA by Syracuse China.  There is nothing dainty and feminine about this cup, but it does have that simple flower, just as Mr. Bates has a soft side.  Anna has certainly brought out the best in him.  You just have to look beyond his plain exterior.  One of my favorite parts of the show was when Mrs. Hughes took him to the pond to toss his leg brace.  How freeing that must have felt!
Number two is the Downton Christmas Black Tea.
I tasted spices and a hint of apple.  It seemed hauntingly like another of the Christmas blends by Republic of Tea.  I did enjoy this cup.
I selected this Royal Ardalt cup with white roses to symbolize the purity of Christmas.  The cup is elegant although simple.  Compared to the celebrations of today, Christmas at Downton Abbey was elegant and refined.  I can only imagine what a treat it was for the staff to have the day off, while the elite from upstairs, served themselves for the day.  The Christmas trees are always amazing.  I can only imagine what it must be like to see them in person. 
And coming in number one is Grantham Breakfast Blend.  I actually did enjoy this tea the most, and I thought how fitting that it was a traditional tea over the teas with additional flavors.  Sometimes in life, we need to enjoy things for what they are.  Plain and unadorned can still be wonderful.  
I selected this Imperial China cup designed by W Dalton.  The mark also has Japan and Whitney.  This set is from my husband's grandmother.  It may not be as fancy and adorned as some of my other cups, but it is treasured far more.  She was a wonderful lady who lead a very simple life and was very contented in life.  She accepted change, but continued to live life as she saw fit.  She never spoke ill of anyone and was one of the sweetest people I have ever known.  Lord Grantham seems to finally be accepting that life is changing and he is making the most of it.  He accepted Branson into the family, and what better way to honor Sybil's memory.  Hopefully, Branson and his sweet little girl will be returning from America soon.  Lord Grantham is beginning to accept that life and his role in it is changing.  It will be interesting to see how the show ends.

So that concludes my tea tasting for today.  Winter has finally hit in Ohio and we are headed ice skating for a bit.  But this evening, you will find me in front of my television, enjoying another episode of Downton Abbey.

Sips and Smiles,


  1. I so enjoyed your rankings and matching of the cup and saucers.
    Rochelle, ATAA

  2. love your pretty teacups and each sentiment they hold. thanks for the downton abbey tea review - I really want to try the show!

  3. Wow Teresa! You took tea tasting to the next level with your selection of paired teacups!! I certainly enjoyed this. BTW, I have the same sample packet coming soon as a free gift included with my PBS purchase of Downton Abbey. I look forward to doing something similar. Perhaps I will borrow your idea and try to match my cups appropriately. RE: the brambleberry tea. Upon reading reviews on it a couple of days ago, several stated it was not very good UNTIL they added sweetener which was recommended and really brought forth the intended flavors, and then everyone was raving and hoping Republic of Tea would continue it, even after the series ends.
    ~Heather, ATAA

  4. Great post, and wonderful teacups! I liked the Downton Christmas tea best, but am a also not much of a fan of the other flavored teas....liked the Grantham blend too.