Seeking Comfort in Second Cup’s English Breakfast Tea

Second Cup's English Breakfast Tea

Battling boredom and loneliness before departing from MontrĂ©al-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, and after doing several laps through the terminal and grabbing a bite of sushi, I needed another diversion. Lester’s smoked meat was tempting, but I had already gotten my fix a few days earlier at Snowden Deli. What I needed was a warm cuppa.

Second Cup, Canada’s answer to Starbucks, has a competing kiosk in the airport. I expected something comparable to the tea I would get at Starbucks (typically Tazo Awake) if I got tea at Starbucks (which I don’t).

English Breakfast was one of the options. Unlike Starbucks, all Second Cup teas — 10 varieties total — are packaged with the company’s own label. Second Cup’s website claims all its teas are whole leaf and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and describes its English Breakfast as a blend of Indian (Assam) and Kenyan teas.

I placed my order and watched with disappointment (but not surprise) as my tea was steeped in hot instead of boiling water. Preparation method notwithstanding, the tea was good — something I attribute partially to the whole leaf tea and fat pyramid-shaped tea bag combination.

The tea was full bodied and stood up to milk very well. In addition to the familiar malty Assam, I detected a citrus-like aroma which I figured had to be the Kenyan. It had a bright finish and hit the spot.

Who servers better tea, Starbucks or Second Cup? Second Cup all the way. Go Canada!