Sebastian took pains to explain the different types of ways of cutting the leaves, and how the quality of a blend is graded by assessing the tea leaf and tea liquid using a unique language called UHURU. It almost sounds like these tea people are from a Star Trek series.
What's ethical tea partnership? Well, Tetley is one of the founding members of the Ethical Tea Partnership, helping create a thriving, global tea industry that is socially fair and environmentally sustainable. Considering the painful process of plucking only the young buds, it's not really a job that can be easily mechanised, so it is exceedingly labour intensive.
This however applies to black teas only. Green teas are not given the milk treatment.
And every Tetley Master Blender tastes 40,000 cups a week. Their bladders must be flushed!!
At the end of the session, we were given some additional stuff for a blending competition, to see who could come up with the most original enhanced blend, given the four ingredients shown below (Basil, Ginger, Strawberry and Lemon) plus honey and sugar, and milk. Of course, it was amusing to see some people add milk to their lemon, which curdled the mixture.
To end it all, a typical English High Tea spread, sandwiches, prawn cocktail, scones with cream and jam and sweet cakes... all washed down with any Tetley tea of your choice.
The inevitable groupie shot.. I have to say it was a pleasant way to spend the morning.