For many years, I’ve served most visitors sharing a pot of tea with me at my house my favorite British tea, Typhoo. A longtime champion of this excellent tea, I will probably continue to offer it to visitors as the default brew.
However, from now on, returning visitors may be astonished to hear me offering them the chance to try another British brand besides Typhoo: Yorkshire Gold.
This tea isn’t totally new to me, and before I discovered Typhoo on a trip to England, Yorkshire Gold had for several years been my favorite, ever since I first ran across it in a tea shop in (of all places) Akron, Ohio.
Before the Yorkshire Gold era began at my house all those years ago, my tea preferences – we’re talking hot tea here – had bounced around from one tea to another until I’d accumulated quite a hoard of different brands. Here’s what my crowded “tea shrine” looks like today:
And there’s a similarly over-stocked wall o’ tea at the cabin.
A few years ago, the extent of my home tea collection had gotten so unwieldy that, for a brief time, I handed visitors a typed-up tea menu to select from. That scheme seemed to annoy rather than delight most of my visitors, however, so I quickly abandoned the menu method of selecting the brew du jour and returned to serving various different types of tea according to my whim or mood at the moment…until that trip to Akron.
Yorkshire Gold then reigned supreme at my house until that fateful trip to England, and it’s been Typhoo, Typhoo, Typhoo for me every morning since, and for everyone else who’s wanted hot tea at my house. (I keep on hand a stash of decaffeinated Typhoo for the tea taken after sundown.)
This past Christmas, however, a friend gave me a box of Yorkshire Gold. It had been many years since I’d purchased a box of YG teabags, but I remembered the way the box looked from having seen it so often in local grocery stores – which for some reason are far more likely to stock YG than Typhoo. And I remembered, too, that I had once preferred YG to all other British brands of tea. So I duly and gratefully re-arranged my already-crowded tea shrine to make room for this gift box of YG tea bags – my stash of Typhoo having its own privileged location on the Lazy Susan atop my microwave oven and next to the electric tea kettle my friend Roger had given me for Christmas in 2013.
When I added the box of YG to the dozens of other teas in my tea shrine, I wasn’t planning to make a cup of it any time soon. One day early this month, however, I impulsively decided to brew myself a morning cup of YG as a sort of New Year experiment, expecting to return the following day to my old standby. But morning after morning, I have found myself reaching for my box of YG instead of Typhoo.
The truth is that Typhoo is stronger than YG – or, to put it another way, YG is “smoother” than Typhoo. A cup of YG has not even a hint of a bitter aftertaste. If I want a rich, full-bodied pot of tea – especially in the afternoon, or along with a proper breakfast with a visiting friend (the only time I eat breakfast at home), it’ll most likely be Typhoo that I’ll choose. But on those breakfast-less mornings when I want to start the day without something quite so strong – but with something still extremely flavorful – I may keep on preferring YG! That’s what’s happened thus far this year, anyway – and it’s already mid-January. (Incidentally, both brands are best with sugar and a splash of half-and-half.)
This recent run of morning YG has gone on so long now, I’ve begun to wonder:
• When the gift box of YG runs low, will I replace it with another box, or will I lazily return to the also-excellent Typhoo?
• If YG ends up occupying a permanent place in my crowded tea shrine, will I end up alternating between Typhoo and YG every morning?
• How many of my visitors will end up preferring the latter to the former, once they’re given the choice?
Meanwhile, you might want to give YG a try yourself, next time you espy a box of it at your local grocery. Like Typhoo, YG has an interesting history. And, like Typhoo, you can obtain it online. Finally, you need not take my word for the claim that YG ranks up there in the Top Five British Black Teas: the internet is full of dozens of reviews. Last time I checked, there were over 50 screenfuls of reviews for YG at Amazon.com, and that’s merely one review-laden site.