British tea importer and blender All About Tea recently launched a special blend for sailors, branded with their ship name. Royal Navy Teas are designed to provide depth, color and flavor to tea made from reverse-osmosis purified water.
All About Tea’s HMS Bulwark teabags, named after the British Royal Navy’s fleet flagship.
The blend contains teas from Ceylon, Assam and Africa. According to All About Tea founder Andrew Gadsden, the Ceylon is the key to a nicely flavored soft water tea. “The African gives it lots of color, which people like, and the Assam just gives a little bit of depth,” he said, quoted on motherboard.vice.com.
The reverse osmosis method of purification is standard on warships; it enables seawater to be transformed to potable water. Not the best tasting, perhaps, but certainly in plentiful supply.
“This produces a water that has very few minerals in it; it’s very pure water, which means it’s very soft water,” said Gadsden. Soft acidic water makes tea brew quickly, but this can draw out too much flavor from harsher blends. “That is why a ship is a very special situation for producing a tea blend,” he said.
Gadsden, who in 2011 garnered publicity for creating the world’s largest teabag, is a former Royal Navy officer whose Portsmouth-based company imports, packages and sells tea and tea accessories worldwide via its All About Tea website. He also writes a tea news blog and runs The Portsmouth Tea Factory, a warehouse, factory shop and popular local tea room.
HMS Bulwark at sea.
The Royal Navy Teas are designed for sailors and “friends and family of sailors – and for old shipmates,” according to the company website, and each package can be customized to feature a specific ship’s official badge.
“When you’re away for months on end at sea, it’s the little things that make a difference to your day,” said Gadsden. “Standing on the bridge at 3 o’clock in the morning during the middle watch, a cup of tea makes all the difference, and if it’s something that really tastes good — which, frankly, MOD-supplied tea doesn’t — it’s one of those little things that can make a huge difference.”
Sources: All About Tea, motherboard.vice.com