David’s Teaview Snapshot
|"Full-flavored and slightly smoky, with an almost buttery taste to it... one of my favorite Earls Grey."|
Earl Grey is undoubtedly the best-known flavored black tea in this part of the world; virtually every tea blender has at least one (if not more than one) version of this tea, which typically is a black tea (though now days green tea versions are often available) combined with the essential oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit tasting like a combination of orange, lemon, and grapefruit (I actually got to taste a real bergamot recently...it was really good!). In my early days of drinking black tea, this was one of the first flavored teas that I got to know and liked. Now days, since my discovery of the many other tea varieties and flavors available, Earl Grey tends to get put on the back shelf for that once-in-a-while craving. Recently, however, I made a trip to a local British market to purchase a Brown Betty 2-cup teapot and British marmalade, and although I wasn't really intending to buy anything else, the tea bug hit me (!) and I walked out with three different varieties of Taylor's of Harrogate teas, including their Earl Grey. Although I had heard of Taylor's before and knew it to be a well-known British tea vendor, I had never tried any of their tea, and I just had to! I have since learned that Taylor's is one of the most respected names in the British tea industry (and worldwide). It is still family owned and has been around for more than 100 years. I must tell you that I really enjoyed this tea...it is not the typical Earl Grey. Most Earl Greys I've tried have varied mainly in the amount and quality of the bergamot in the tea. Some use more, some less, some are of better or lesser quality in the citrus flavoring. When it comes to a flavored tea of any kind, I tend to prefer teas that balance a quality flavoring with a quality tea. I like to enjoy the interesting notes of the tea itself in harmony with the added flavoring. Often I find that the teas used in Earl Grey blends are rather uninteresting/not flavorful enough to stand up to the bergamot. This is why I enjoyed Taylor's of Harrogate's version so much. Although Taylor's states only that the leaves used here are from China, based on the slight smokiness I detected, I would guess that the blend might include some Lapsang Souchong. While the tinge of smokiness is perhaps closer to the original English recipe, it makes for an Earl Grey unlike anything I have sampled before, and quite delicious! The tea has an almost buttery quality that, together with the exquisite oil of bergamot and full-flavored and slightly smoky tea leaf, makes this Earl Grey a rich and wonderful tasting experience which goes well any time of the day :) I will definitely plan another trip to my local British store for more of this tea, and I'm going to keep it near the front of my tea shelf! If you are a fan of Earl Grey (and even if you think you're not), you really must try this tea, as it is different from every other Earl Grey that I have tried, and I think different in a good way!
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