what would jane austen drink?


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Postby Victoria » May 22nd, '08, 17:50

I have never heard of blending green with black. Have you read the book Tea with Jane Austen ? I'm sure you will find some insight there.

I would think a blended black would be in order. According to the book she took it with sugar, but no cream, and from a Wedgwood cup. Perhaps Earl Gray, you can't get more English than that.
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Re: what would jane austen drink?

Postby PolyhymnianMuse » May 22nd, '08, 18:28

jane-ite wrote:I'd like to put together a blend of teas similar to what an upper-crust but not extremely wealthy English lady would serve around 1800. (we're not a very wealthy group ourselves.) Maybe Dragon Well and a WuYi Oolong?


I just want to clarify what kind of tea you plan on making. You mention a green and black tea blend, is that what your aiming for?

I'm also concerned about how long to brew it, as black teas seem to need a longer brewing than green teas.

Green and Black tea mixed together in a blend is not something that is widely sold but of course it can be found. From what I've seen of them, along with my own insight, it would probably be better to brew these kinds of teas more towards the green tea side of things. Brewing green tea as a black tea wouldn't turn out too well I would think, but theres always experimentation :twisted:

I also understand that drinking cream/milk with tea is not appropriate unless it is a very strong Assam. What about lemon and sugar?


What is or isn't appropriate is really up to you and those around you anyway. Its true a lot of us really into tea like it pure, without any added sweeteners and such, but theres no definite rule. Drink your tea the way you like, afterall tea is all about enjoying it.
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Postby Pentox » May 22nd, '08, 20:17

I'm not sure how appropriate it is timewise, but I know Lapsang Souchong was a tea primarily produced for export for the British by China.
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Postby Mary R » May 22nd, '08, 23:39

Lapsang would probably be a time-appropriate tea, but I would be hesitant to serve it for a Jane Austen gathering. It's a bit too, er, masculine.

Since the earliest reports of a native tea in Assam date just at 1815, it's pretty safe to assume that the only tea Jane Austen would have been acquainted with is Chinese tea, so cross anything Indian or Sri Lankan off the list. I would also go on a limb and say that Jane would have only known Chinese black tea--it was what the Chinese primarily traded and it had a better chance of holding up through the voyage around Africa than green.

Most references you'll find to tea around 1800 call it Bohea, but that's not really Bohea as we know it today. Back then in Western parlance, it really was a catch-all term for tea. I think that today, black teas from the southeast of China would most closely fit the profile of the general selection available to the early nineteenth century English upper middle class.

From Adagio's selection, I'd likely choose their Golden Monkey. It is a Fujian black that really does have a wonderfully full flavor, and it is quite cost-effective if you buy it in larger amounts. If you'd like to offer a black, oolong, and a green, I'd suggest adding a Wuyi oolong and a longjing (dragonwell) green. Oolong really wasn't a known thing back in the Regency days, but it would be a nice thing to offer a modern crowd. Longjing, too, is a bit of a stretch. It's not really what Jane's crowd would have had if they were able to try a green, but it's not entirely off the mark and it is what modern drinkers expect out of a Chinese green.

I wouldn't try to blend them all together because--without a lot of care--you'll just get a bitter, undrinkable mess. In my experience, greens do not work and play well with others.

If you would like teas that are actually called 'bohea' and 'hyson,' Upton Tea Imports sells a couple reasonably priced Chinese varieties by that name.

As far as adding milk, lemon, or sugar...I've hosted a lot of shindigs in my time, and outside of my stint as my college sorority's Mistress of Etiquette, I've found that it's just better to overlook slight gaffes. Make all three available to whoever wants them, whether the tea calls for it or not.
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Postby Pentox » May 27th, '08, 19:03

Mary R wrote:college sorority's Mistress of Etiquette


Quite the title you've got there.
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Postby tenuki » May 27th, '08, 19:56

Mary, you are a scary person.
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Postby Mary R » May 27th, '08, 23:21

That I am...I make no pretensions otherwise. :)

As far as "Mistress of Etiquette" goes...the girls all called me "Miss Demeanor" (clever, clever), but the actual title position was "Director of Social Awareness." I took it thinking "Social Awareness" meant things like environmentalism and charity work...ah, no. My major task was to throw an etiquette party every year.

Fun times...but I learned how to whip together a mean crudité spread in under 10 minutes, so it wasn't an entire loss.
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Postby edkrueger » Aug 4th, '08, 11:20

I'd go with a lapsing souchong a.k.a bohea. In modernity bohea is rarer with most not actually made in Lapsang, or with good leaves. Here are some good ones [I have heard, never tried]: http://sevencups.com/tea_shop/home.php?cat=298

One more thing: 2006 was a really, really, really bad year for lapsang oolong, so be I'd careful with the blacks too.
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