REVIEW: Rare Tea Company – Royal Air Force Tea


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.

My comments:
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

Steeped 3 minutes




About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
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