Empire Blend Tea (courtesy of Fortnum and Mason): 2013


There is no question that Fortnum and Mason does a great line in tea towels.  I know it is an extravagance to have so many from one shop but they are all so different (and to be fair I bought them at different times, for different reasons).  This tea towel is one of my favourite tea towels from my collection because of the vibrant colours; the colours and the pattern draw you in, make you want to look at the detail, make you think about where tea comes from, it’s history.  I love it.

In 1934, the Empire Tea Growers Association blended this tea in order that it could be presented to Queen Mary; it was created with teas from Ceylon, India and East Africa (from the Empire). The blending provides a smooth and flavoursome tea, not too strong but a good colour.  After a while, the Empire Blend was replaced with other new blends but the ‘recipe’ was still in the Fortnum and Mason archives.  More recently this blend has been revived.  It comes in a retro-style caddy, part of the Fortnum and Mason Decorative and Heritage Tea Caddies.  The Empire  Blend Caddy reflects exactly the tea towel that was brought out in celebration of the relaunch of the tea.

I remember buying this tea towel in Fortnum and Mason’s branch on Piccadilly.  I saw the tea on sale and thought I would like to try it and then spotted the tea towel and thought ‘I can’t buy the tea without the tea towel’ and thus it came into my collection.  I can’t use it without thinking about how amazing the process of tea blending is, how the careful balancing of teas can just create such a variety of taste.  Fortnum and Mason do many different blends but none with an accompanying tea towel.

Click below to return to the Virtual Tea Towel Museum



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