EARLIER THIS week I was invited to the UK’s first fully solar powered tea factory to sample 13 award-winning teas.

Birchall Tea Factory, in Amesbury, uses over 460 solar panels to make their speciality and black teas which combined have won 91 Great Taste Awards.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a big coffee drinker. That said, I can be partial to a cup of tea.

So, as you can imagine, I was looking forward to trying a wide range of teas to find what I liked best, and perhaps even cut down on the coffee.

In light of this, I rated my top five Birchall teas from my very British morning of tea tasting, led by marketing manager Alex Snowden, assistant brand manager Tim Hughes, business development executive Finlay Maclaren and of course, managing director Daniel Graham.

Great Rift Tea

Salisbury Journal: Great Rift tea compared to other English breakfast teas

It’s no surprise that this breakfast tea has won a Great Taste award for 13 consecutive years, as when compared to a major supermarket brand, you could really taste the difference.

It was a darker tea for one, and had a stronger taste, even when milk was added.

The tea itself is from East Africa and it really boasts an incomparable flavour. If you’re looking to up your breakfast tea game, look no further.

Green Tea and Peach

Salisbury Journal: Green tea and peach

This tea appealed to me just from the name. I’ve never come across a peach green tea before, and after looking online, there are few brands that do this type of tea.

It was lovely – not too strong – and one I can imagine would be a tasty evening warmer.

As well as being beautifully fragrant, the combination of green tea and peach made a juicy and floral flavour.

It wasn’t overpowering or too sweet, so it really was an enjoyable drink. In fact, this might be my favourite.

Virunga Earl Grey

Salisbury Journal: Virunga earl grey

Even just from the smell, I knew this tea was strong – and I really loved that about it. Some people may find this earl grey too strong, but as a coffee drinker, it was perfect for me.

Finlay explained to us how brewing the tea for different time periods is the best way to adapt the cup of tea to your taste.

The longer it’s left to brew for, the stronger the taste, so tea can be really versatile to your preferences. In my case – the longer the better!

Red Berry and Flower

Salisbury Journal: Red berry and flower

This tea had a vibrant, red colour to it, which reflected the taste I was about to enjoy. Being naturally caffeine free, this tea would be a great afternoon treat. The tea balances strawberry with elderberry and hibiscus flower, and despite its sweetness, has no sugar.

Lemongrass and Ginger

Salisbury Journal: Lemongrass and Ginger

I’m not particularly a fan of ginger, but I didn’t find it to be overwhelming in this drink. Instead, the zesty, citrus taste from the lemongrass was what came through most, both as a refreshing taste and fragrance.

This drink is also naturally caffeine free, but would certainly have no trouble in waking up the senses. I can imagine this drink would be the perfect start to a summer morning.

Birchall currently sell their products at retailers including Ocado, Cote and Booths, as well as on their website: https://birchalltea.co.uk/