Cornwallis receives The Tiger of Mysore’s Sons

Robert Home’s oil painting of Lord Cornwallis, Governor General of India, receiving the Mysore hostages in 1792 reflects a new British zeitgeist in India and Cornwallis as generous and civilised, dispensing justice with mercy to his adversary. Very different to his predecessors.

(Read our story about the Tiger of Mysore and how taking hostage the children of his opponent was considered benevolent!)

Robert Home cleverly captures both the renewed British sentiment of benevolence and also that of conquest. A prolific, skilled artist he spent the last four decades of his life in India and travelled with Cornwallis’ army in the 3rd Mysore war, hence being on-the-spot for this key moment.

We’ve used this bold picture on our equally bold First Estate Assam Caddy in our Signature range.


The First Estate Assam Loose Leaf Black Tea Caddy 125g

Net Weight: 125g

Celebrating the first teas from Assam to be landed in London in 1838, this is our classic rich and malty full-bodied indigenous Assam tea. Enjoy with a sweet biscuit or a square of Swiss milk chocolate.

The East India Company - Lifestyle


By the middle of the 18th century, the British had a serious Chinese tea habit, but it was expensive and not sustainable due to the Chinese monopoly. When the East India Company lost its own trading monopoly on tea in China, it looked elsewhere.

A wild tea variant had been discovered by Robert Bruce in hot and humid Assam, and with some cross-breeding with Chinese plants that had been smuggled out of China, the company was able to start growing tea in Assam.

12 chests were sent in triumph to the London tea auction in 1839 - the Assam tea industry was launched. Our Signature Assam tea is named after this First Estate.
From that first discovery, Assam is now the largest tea growing region in the world. It lies in the north of India, either side of the Brahmaputra River, which carries rich minerals to the fertile plains on which tea is grown.

It has a monsoon climate, which the indigenous Assamica tea plant loves, with the tea being grown at sea level – a key difference to the Chinese tea plant, which enjoys a little more altitude and cool weather.

Assam teas, key components of breakfasts teas, are wonderful. They have a malty, rich, caramel flavour and are thick and full of body [important in English Breakfasts blends].

Our First Estate blend is a classic blend of fine second flush Assam teas.
The dry large leaf tea leaves are a warm brown colour, flecked with golden tips.

In cup, the liquour is a dark brown, coppery colour.

Aroma is strong and aromatic.

And the flavour is classically rich and malty.
A cup of Assam tea with a good splash of milk is accompanied very nicely by a buttery biscuit, like our rather indulgent Butter Shortbread and Clotted Cream biscuit.




Brewing Time



Black Tea


Store in a cool, dry place avoiding direct sunlight and strong odours.


Tiger of Mysore

The loss of the colonies in America led to national self-reflection and a new feeling of intolerance to what was now perceived as corrupt practices [the Tea Act of 1773 which caused the Boston Tea Party, itself a catalyst for American Independence].

Lord Cornwallis, fresh from Britain’s last failed defence of the American colony, became the Indian army’s new commander in chief in 1784 (and later the Governor General of India). He set the tone immediately by foregoing his annual salary of £6000.

Such was his positive impact in India, it was said that while Cornwallis lost a colony in the West, he won one in the East.

So the new zeitgeist in India: Duty, service and high moral ground.

Not without challenges though.
Tipu, the self-styled “Tiger of Mysore” was a protonationalist hero in Southern India, fond of tiger motifs worked into his uniforms, cannons, cane handles, bed hangings, swords and thrones. It all created or perpetuated perhaps a myth of a tigerish personality, which caught popular imagination in both Britain and India. He has caught our imagination too - we’ve even named one our ‘tigerish’ Signature coffee blends ’Tiger of Mysore’!]

However, he habitually defeated the British, treating prisoners cruelly. Cornwallis defeat of Tipu and capture of his capital Seringapatam in the 3rd Mysore war therefore was acclaimed in Britain and the Treaty that followed strangely included taking Tipu’s sons hostage - as a guarantee of Tipu’s good behaviour. Even though they were treated with great kindness, this was seen rather differently back in the day than would be the case today, as an example of British benevolence.

Tipu’s final defeat and death shortly afterwards in the 4th Mysore war laid the old enemy to rest.

See our Behind The Craft Story of “Cornwallis and the Mysore Hostages” and our use of the painting by Robert Home on our Assam Signature Caddy.

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  • FAQ

    Does this tea contain caffeine and is there more or less than in coffee?
    Yes, all tea like coffee, contains caffeine. The amount in both teas and coffees does vary, depending on the type, but typically Sri Lankan black tea is lighter than other teas in caffeine content, usually between 50 and 90mg for a normally brewed 230ml serving. This compares to about 95mg for a normal cup of coffee. The best advice is to treat tea and coffee similarly if you need to manage your caffeine intake.

    I’ve heard that tea contains theanine. What is it and what does it do?
    Tea does indeed contain theanine, which is an amino acid [the building blocks of proteins]. Tea is one of only a few sources of theanine. It represents about 1% of dry weight and is at its highest concentrate in shade-grown teas like matcha and gyokuro. Whilst not yet proven in scientific studies that would permit specific health claims to be made, it is believed by many to be able to reduce mental and physical stress, promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. But not only that, it is more recently being thought to aid cognitive function. It’s one explanation for tea’s famous ability to create calm in a crisis [the Great British solution to all problems – ‘putting the kettle on’] and to stimulate when a little boost is required.

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