– Tea: Black tea from the Makaibari Estate in India and the Satemwa Estate in Malawi.
– Purchased at: Waitrose in Caterham, Surrey (March 2013).
– Retail price: £5.00 for 50 gram tin.
– Link to RAF tea on Rare Tea Company website.
The dry leaf of this tea is predominantly made up of moderately broken leaves. Some larger leaves are present in the blend, which is probably the Malawian tea. At first glance and smell of the dry leaf, you will instantly be aware of the dominant role that the Darjeeling tea plays in this blend: many of the leaves have a greenish tint and the tea has an unmistakable muscatel aroma.
I did not do research on this tea before purchasing it and just assumed it was going to be a bold, strong tea. With its military symbolism, and the fact that many Brits believe that tea helped win the war, I expected a hearty cuppa that needed a good splash of milk. After seeing the dry leaf and brewing my first pot, I realised that this is more of what I would consider an afternoon tea. The Darjeeling gives the brewed tea a prominent muscatel flavour, which means it tastes better steeped light (3 minutes) and drunk without milk. The brewed tea has a rather dark liquor that tastes remarkably smooth and refreshing.
This was the first time I tried a tea by the Rare Tea Company and was very impressed. I would recommend Royal Air Force Blend to anyone who likes Darjeeling or afternoon teas. Aside from it being a tasty tea, I will have to say that I am grateful to be able to find a tea of this quality in one of my local supermarkets, and at a reasonable price. Of the loose teas in my local supermarkets, this one is in a class of its own.
My review: 3.75/5