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Lipton Yellow Label Tea vs. Brooke Bond Red Label

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Was at Patel Bros. in Jackson Heights and picked up a box of each on the recommendation of a lovely Indian woman. Are these really popular everyday teas in Indian households as she stated? Can I use either to make homemade chai? What proportion of tea to water should I follow in general? Is either tea brand used exclusively for a certain libation?

For my chai I used whole cardamom, clove, black peppercorn, and cinnamon pounded with my mortar and pestle, added to water and allowed to boil. Then I added the loose Lipton Yellow Label and some sugar, steeped it, added some milk and voila! Actually wasn't as good as the cups I've had in my favorite Indian places:(

Help please :)


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yellow label is MUCH better than red label. yellow label is an export brand i believe, and isn't available in india--or at least it didn't used to be. the upscale lipton brand there used to be green label. i drink green label myself, though i am approaching crisis point as i am about to run out and the local indian grocery doesn't have any in stock.

red label is cheaper and has more ctc in it, i think; whereas green label purports to be darjeeling. not sure about yellow--it may just be green in a yellow box.

Edited by mongo_jones (log)
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Around here, Lipton green label and Brooke Bond are readily available; I haven't seen Lipton yellow label yet.

Lipton green label seems to be cheap Darjeeling; it's okay but certainly nothing special.

Brooke Bond is...weird. I don't really like it much at all. I'm not even sure what it's made of; instead of leaves, it seems to consist of tea dust somehow 'glued' (well, clumped) together into crumb-like particles. Very strange looking and not particularly pleasant-tasting, to me anyway, but given it's apparent popularity I guess I'm in a minority for not liking it.

I drink my tea straight; no milk, lemon, sugar, spices, etc, BTW.

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green label is not the best darjeeling tea available, true but it is not bad at all. much better (and cheaper) than twinings' darjeeling tea certainly. yellow label, it seems, may well be ctc as well, perhaps a better grade or red tea in yellow boxes.

what other branded teas out there do people like? i like me a good estate darjeeling every once in a while (a local establishment in boulder--the unlikely dushanbe tea house--serves makaibari) but i certainly can't afford to drink a cup of estate darjeeling twice a day. let's face it the morning cup is largely for waking me up, dipping biscuits and lubricating certain passages.

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We like PG Tips. Does anyone know how it compares with these other teas mentioned?

As I mentioned in the chai thread, I boil milk together with the water for a richer taste. Lisa, you might try it that way.

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I've always assumed that Brooke Bond (Lipton yellow also?) is basically Assam, but it's probably a blend of stuff to assure a consistent taste. It's been quite awhile since I've had a really good Assam, so I can't really compare.

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Brooke Bond and Lipton are one company now, so the brands should be too - I think they're packaged as Brooke Bond Lipton Red, Green and Yellow labels. (Of course, what labels and blends they use in India may not be the same as the ones for export). I think Yellow is the most premium, then Green and Red is the most basic of all, with a high proportion of tea dust. That being said, these are all fairly mass market blends, so don't expect anything outstanding.

For chai (in the Indian, streetcorner chai seller sense) however Red label is THE brand. It is a BIG mistake to use a delicately flavoured tea for chai - you need something pretty damn strong to stand up to all that brewing and the spices and sugar and milk. In Lever's (the company that owns Brooke Bond and Lipton) Red Label is known as the chaiwallah's tea. So its harsh and strong and that's what its drunk for on roadsides, as a quick restorative along with all the milk and sugar.

For my chai I used whole cardamom, clove, black peppercorn, and cinnamon pounded with my mortar and pestle, added to water and allowed to boil. Then I added the loose Lipton Yellow Label and some sugar, steeped it, added some milk and voila! Actually wasn't as good as the cups I've had in my favorite Indian places:(

Well of course it wasn't, you're thinking of tea in the gentle steeping sense. For chai you have to boil the tea and spices and the milk and the sugar all together. And the water and milk must be in equal proportions, with perhaps the milk a bit more. And boil it all intensely - you want something strong and concentrated. Oh, and I'd add ginger, but that's a personal taste.


Edited by Vikram (log)
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  • 2 months later...

When you are making tea _without_ spices, you should pay more attention to the quality of the tea. When you are making tea with lots of spices, especially, aromatic ones like cardamom and clove, you can afford to use lower quality tea, even tea bags (gasp!). In fact, like Vikram says, when making tea with spices ("masala chai"), you are probably better off using a lower quality tea.

I like my (black tea) tea without any spices (with just milk and sugar), so I dont really like anything but Darjeeling...

Speaking of Darjeeling tea, I recently discovered an online source for Makaibari tea in the USA ... check out http://www.silvertipstea.com/home.html . Its quite expensive, but I recently tried their Second Flush tea, and it was divine. Well worth it.

Of course, if you are in Kolkata, you can go to any decent tea shop and buy similar quality tea for a much less price.

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