A relenting fan of tea for over twenty years, I’ve consumed perhaps fifty cups of National Cup Orange Pekoe & Pekoe Cut Tagless Black Tea lately. They poured orange pekoe versions of black tea everyday during meals at my high school, and Mom drank it daily as my siblings and I grew from children into adults. Occasionally, Mom made a pot for us all when we were good. A wonderfully rewarding drink for good behavior indeed. National Cup black tea rivals the best I’ve tasted. I love looking through its clear, deep orange-red color in a glass tea-cup, and tasting the virtually no bitterness. National Cup, as with most black teas, sweetens right up with stevia or agave nectar. For a name brand tea, this black tea is a bit costlier than the store or local brands, as one would expect, but not offensively so. Plus, it stock piles well, for years, in a cool, dry pantry. Note that orange pekoe tea is a particular rendition of black tea. So orange pekoe tea is indeed black tea. I have here a 6.4-ounce, 100 tagless tea bag box of this intensely flavored black tea for review. Find my impressions of it next.
Benefits And Features
- This tea resembles the Red Rose Original Tea (reviewed here) in terms of taste, aroma, and appearance in the cup. For most intents and purposes, this tea appears to be priced on par with Red Rose. These two teas are virtually equivalent.
- This black tea keeps for years without noticeable flavor degradation, as the box comes wrapped in virtually air-tight cellophane.
- This tea works well as an appetite suppressant, although not as well as green tea for me.
- This blended tea sweetens quite easily with stevia. Stevia sweetens without destroying the signature orange pekoe tea essence.
- Unlike the green teas I’ve wetted my tongue with, you can put lots of honey into this orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea without obliterating its not-so-delicate and indeed muscular flavor. Adding a bit of half and half also compliments the flavor here.
- This high quality yet low-cost tea has considerable caffeine. So it will indeed jerk you awake in the morning, or save you from those 2:30 PM after lunch blues at work.
- This is a low-priced yet excellent tasting beverage for both hot tea and iced tea situations. Each serving costs less than three cents.
- The tea bags are not individually wrapped, and are tagless. That is, they have no strings or attached tags. This makes this brand of black tea perhaps a bit greener than those that incorporated tags and strings; though somewhat less convenient in that you must fish the tagless bag out of your cup when steeping is complete. So here, you get some green-ness but lose some convenience.
- The bags are laid flat in the box in two rows of 50 teabags each in this 100 tea bag box. They are attached to each other in pairs, but easily separate into single bags when you can do without that extra strong cup of tea.
- This product contains no artificial colors or flavors, and is gluten-free.
- The taste of this black tea product seems unaffected by long steeping times except that it simply becomes stronger and darker in the cup. However, bitterness does not increase, unlike in many green teas.
- This tea may not stay fresh as long as others, that feature the individually wrapped bags. But then again, individual wrapping seems to benefit black tea less in this regard than green tea or the herbal teas. So the absence of tagless bag wrappings is probably no big deal in this case.
- Particularly when I’ve not taken any tea in recent days, I can become “wired” when I again consume it, and can feel sick when riding in a car after drinking it. It can make me feel quite nauseous when I’m gone without it for several weeks.
- Being darker in color than most green teas, especially when you steep it for many minutes, this beverage can stain clothes if you accidentally spill it on yourself. If this happens, rinse it out with clear water right away if the affected clothing can be washed.
Each tea bag makes one cup of black tea.
By The Cup
- Boil enough fresh water for the number of cups of this tea you wish to brew.
- While waiting for the water to boil, separate 1 National Cup Tagless tea bag for each cup you’re making.
- Put the bags into each cup.
- When water boils, immediately pour it into the cups.
- Steep for three to five minutes or until it becomes strong enough for your taste.
- Remove and discard the tagless tea bag(s).
- Sweeten tea as desired and/or add lemon to taste.
By The Pot
- Use hot water to rinse out tea-pot prior to brewing, to warm it.
- Again, determine how many cups of black tea you wish to make.
- Put the desired amount of fresh, filtered water in your kettle or pot.
- Put the kettle on your stove and activate the heat.
- While waiting for the water to come to a rolling boil, separate the desired number of tagless tea bags from each other.
- When the water achieves a rapid boil, immediately add the tea bags into the pot.
- Remove pot from heat and turn off the stove.
- Allow bags to steep in the pot for three to five minutes.
- Remove the bags from the pot with a straining spoon and discard.
- Pour the tea into cups, sweeten to taste, add milk, lemon, lime, or orange as desired, and enjoy.
For Iced Tea
- Separate 4 tea bags.
- Put these teabags into a tea-pot.
- Then, in a separate container, boil four cups (1 quart) of fresh, filtered water.
- Once the water boils, remove from heat and turn off the heat source.
- Pour this water into the teapot, over top of the tea bags.
- Steep for five minutes.
- Remove and discard the tea bags with a straining spoon.
- Add sugar, lemon, orange, and/or lime as desired to the brewed tea.
- Fill desired number of glasses with ice.
- Pour steeped tea into these glasses.
In closing: This beverage is simple to brew, easy to flavor, and quite pleasant tasting and smelling. Plus, it’s quite cheap. It’s a perfect calorie-free beverage and a great buy. So I’d therefore rate it at 99 out of 100.
Where To Buy National Cup Orange Pekoe & Pekoe Cut Tagless Black Tea
Look for this black tea in the black and red box with the white print and a picture of the tea in a white tea-cup, at larger grocery stores.