Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea is feted by many as the best national tea brand, which it officially became in November 2019 according to official sales figures, overtaking rivals Tetley and PG. Although first marketed in 1977 with the words ‘Yorkshire blend for Yorkshire people’, it is the brand served at Salem Chapel, which was originally located in Yorkshire. It is even stocked in my own tea cupboard, despite my red rose sympathies. When anyone visits my home who has little discernible taste, who says "I don’t mind what I drink", or whose company may prove tiresome and their welcome likely outstayed, I serve them Yorkshire Tea. It goes very well, I think, in the second-best china.

Impressively, Bettys & Taylors Group, its manufacturers, make a special version of their tea in green packets for those parts of the country that suffer from ‘hard water’, which contains an excessive proportion of chalk or limestone. We Lancastrians who travel to more southern counties are often struck by the unpleasantness of the tap water; Yorkshire Tea has adjusted its blend to accommodate this detail, ensuring its flavour can be enjoyed despite the local conditions. Credit where credit is due! In much of the world, however, it is not the hardness of water which spoils the drink, but the cleanness. Even Yorkshire Tea cannot clean that which comes from a polluted well or soiled spring. For others, the very absence of water is the issue; dying of thirst, a bag of black tea does little good. Fourteenth-century Yorkshireman John Wycliffe once translated a conversation between the Lord Jesus and a Samaritan woman:

Jesus answered, and said to her, Each man that drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall not thirst without end; but the water that I shall give him, shall be made in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.

The woman saith to him, Sire, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. (John 4:13-15)

Yorkshire Tea, for all its popularity and soaring sales, cannot assuage thirst forever; some of the earth’s water is too hard, and some too dirty or too scarce to offer even temporal refreshment. The Lord Jesus, who is the water of life, however, will satisfy us forever: ‘God’s refreshment for weary, sinful people’.