A tea up to the rigours of life in the Capital.
This is a man’s tea – my man’s tea, to be precise. T Leaf T’s Wellington Breakfast tea came into our lives in February, when I went to Wellington’s Kelburn Kiosk (officially now the Kowhai Cafe) to see where my great grandmother used to brew tea for the masses, and to be interviewed by the Stuff news service on why tea drinkers are demanding a better deal from cafes.
Afterwards, I wandered around the neighbouring cable car museum and bought a tin of Wellington Breakfast as a souvenir.
Described as a “strong and flavoursome” breakfast tea, and a “good strong tea to stand up to the job of living in one of the world’s windiest cities”, it seemed like the sort of gutsy tea that would appeal to my beloved.
It does, and I am tasked with replenishing supplies every time I go to the Capital.
So how does Wellington Breakfast differ from the more common English Breakfast?
A chap at T Leaf T puts it like this: “The difference between our English Breakfast and the Wellington breakfast is that the English Breakfast is broken-leaf style, with teas originating from both Nilgiris region and Assam region in India. The Wellington Breakfast also originates from Assam but is a CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) processed tea, which results in very tight little balls of tea leaf.”
Broken-leaf tea is (generally) black tea made from leaves that been torn or broken into largish bits. Think orange pekoe.
The CTC process, on the other hand, is a more industrial process started in the 1930s which involves passing the leaves through toothed rollers that tear it and roll it into tight balls, and which creates a dark cup of tea after a short brewing time.
Assam tea, however, comes from the north-east of India, near the Himalayas, and is the classic black “breakfast” tea.
Wellington Breakfast comes as a loose-leaf tea, but because my beloved prefers making tea with bags (I know, I’m working on it), I buy the packets of pyramid teabags made from cornstarch. T Leaf T says the tea in the bags is proper loose-leaf tea, not fannings.
Cost: $0.68 per cup (a packet of 20 teabags is $13.50).
Best time to drink: During the first break in the working day, when you’ve got time to contemplate.
Bought from: Initially the shop at the Cable Car Museum in Wellington, then at the TLeafT shop in Willis St, Wellington.
Available online? Yes.