Harney & Sons HT English Breakfast Tea

Harney & Sons HT English Breakfast Tea

The first thing I noticed when I open the tin of Harney & Sons HT English Breakfast Tea is a pleasant, distinctive fragrance. Ceylon (Kenilworth Estate) and Kenya (Milima Estate) comprise the mix. Missing are the usual suspects, Assam and Keemun, which usually form the basis of such blends.

The tea comes in pyramid-shaped sachets which I really like because the tea leaves can be seen, and what you see inside are real tea leaves, not dust or fannings. The end result comes closer to that of loose leaf tea than I’ve ever gotten from a tea bag.

Back to that fragrance I mentioned earlier. I would describe the aroma as sweet, somewhat citrusy (but not as much as other Ceylons) with other fruit fragrances like plum and raisin. I also detect honey and toast. PG Tips this is not.

Though it doesn’t brew ask dark as other breakfast blends, HT English Breakfast’s full body stands up reasonably well to milk. The color is an attractive reddish amber.

When brewed according to the directions (add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes) the result is a bright, clean flavor from start to finish, with a little of that brightness lingering a while in the mouth. If over steeped, this tea gets bitter. A little splash of milk, if any, is all that is needed. Sweetener is also optional.

Harney & Sons HT English Breakfast Tea has become a gratifying morning ritual for me since I bought a container at Target the other week. It offers the convenience of a bagged tea and an experience close to what you’d get with loose leaves in a teapot.

Aroma: Sweet, citrusy, honey, raisin, honey, and toast
Body: Full
Flavor: Bright all the way
Color: Reddish Amber

Pete Best’s Life Lessons

John, Paul, Pete and George

One of music’s saddest figures has been the focus of my attention lately. There’s so much to learn from the story of Pete Best, I felt compelled to write about it.

Best was the drummer for the Beatles from 1960–1962. Blindsided by his abrupt dismissal from the band shortly after they landed a recording contract, Best lost three good friends — never to speak with any one of them ever again — and watched their blistering rise to stardom.

It certainly wasn’t the first or last time something like this happened. Many bands see personnel changes before finding the right combination. Pete Best just happened to the guy who got booted from the most influential band in rock ‘n’ roll history at the moment in time their train to fame was seriously picking up steam.

Although a myriad of reasons for Best’s dismissal persist, it should be obvious to anyone who considers the evidence that his band-mates found a better drummer and Beatle personality in Ringo Starr. Pete was, in a sense, a historical placeholder.

Best managed to irk out a 20-year career in the UK Civil Service. By all accounts, he is a happy husband, father, brother, grandfather, and gracious human being.

He returned to music in 1988, touring all over the world. His band, The Pete Best Band, put out an album in 2008 that rivals anything Paul and Ringo have produced in recent years. Sure he relies heavily on his Beatles connection to fill rooms, and why not? Paul and Ringo have been doing it since 1970.

Lessons applicable to modern, workaday life can be gleaned from Pete Best’s story. We can learn about what pitfalls to avoid and how to overcome the most adverse circumstances.

Practice your craft

Perhaps things would have worked out better for Pete had he worked on his chops, and maybe that other Liverpudlian drummer wouldn’t have entered the story.

Show up for work

Maintaining a low level of absenteeism is a good idea if you care about your job because somebody more talented may likely take your place. Pete called in sick one to many times, the band called on Ringo to fill in, and the rest is history.

Secure employment does not exist

Pete claims he was blindsided by his firing from the Beatles. Many of us have experienced the same in the corporate world. Don’t forget you’re expendable. Be prepared for a job loss.

Do your best (no pun intended) in the face of adversity

Pete was devastated personally and humiliated financially after being fired from the Beatles. He continued in the music biz for a while before quitting. He then worked at a bakery until he landed a civil service gig. The point is: keep moving forward even if you find yourself without direction. Do what is necessary to survive. Hang on to your pride.

Be your own boss

I’ve tried this two times and failed, but I don’t regret it for a minute. If you want to prevent yourself from getting fired, consider starting your own business and working for yourself. Pete has his own band now with his name in the title; they can’t give him the boot … without changing the name.

It’s never too late

Whether it’s learning something new or resuming a pursuit long ago abandoned, any time is the right time. Pete returned to music in his mid-forties and has been making a living at it ever since.

Does Adding Milk Reduce Tea’s Health Benefits?

Tea with Milk

Tea is loaded with healthy antioxidants. Green tea has more, but black tea has plenty. And antioxidants are believed to improve vascular function in humans and other animals. So all this time, I thought I was doing well for my arteries when I enjoyed a cup of black tea with milk.

If you like your tea with milk too, you may be disappointed to learn that a certain type of protein in cow’s milk may negate the benefits of the antioxidants. At least, this is the conclusion of a 2007 study conducted in Germany.

In the study, 16 healthy females were given tea, some of which contained 10% skim milk. A high-resolution vascular ultrasound was administered to the subjects right before and two hours after consuming the tea. Those who had tea without milk showed improved flow-mediated dilation (FMD) while those who had tea with milk showed no FMD improvement.

Despite this study’s results and all the negative things I read about cow’s milk lately, my staunch love for milk — by itself or in combination with tea — goes on. But I do limit myself to one cup of black tea per day (ok, sometimes two), opting instead for a green or oolong tea in the afternoon, which can only be enjoyed sans milk.

If this information regarding the relationship between tea and milk is a hard pill for you to swallow, just do a little internet research on fluoride levels in tea. You may find yourself giving up the Camellia sinensis plant (and the red bush) altogether.