I'm currently sat with a big mug of my favourite pick-me-up from luxury tea company Harp & Lyre. I've been trying four variations of their signature blends, the strong-tasting, full-bodied 100% Assam suitable for mornings and the lighter, fragrant 100% Darjeeling - Gold Star Winner at the Great Taste Awards 2011 and 2012 - for afternoon and evenings, in both loose leaf tea and teabags (the bags are made from a biodegradable sheer woven mesh which is much better than ordinary filter paper that contains smaller grades of ‘dust’ tea).
The family-owned company is involved at every level of the production, from visiting estates to select the finest quality tippy golden leaves picked during the peak second flush season, to working with Master Tea Tasters to create their exclusive blends. Like produce under France's AOC and Italy's DOC certification, Darjeeling and Assam are internationally protected as Geographical Indications (GI), meaning only teas made exclusively from tea gardens within these areas in India can carry the Assam and Darjeeling logos as proof of authenticity and quality. If you're a fan of a spectacular brew (I've restricted my coffee intake to post-dinner espressos only as I am far more of a tea girl), I recommend buying a crisp brown paper pouch from these guys, you can really taste the difference.