|""...this tea is elegant, in both the usual and the technical sense.""|
That position will have to change if this tea is available. The dry leaf itself was black, short, conservative, business-like, nothing flashy. There was a pleasant, not sharp aroma of bergamot, which I expected, but then it is Earl Grey tea.
What I didn't expect was to become enamoured with this tea. My review sample bag is going to be drawn from sparingly, late at night, when I've done something good and I deserve a reward. I'm glad I used my standard tea mug, a .5 litre (17oz.), heavy gray stoneware beer stein. I brewed a double cup, two tsp. of tea to .5 liter of water at a rolling boil. I let it steep, covered, for 4 and a half minutes. I prefer tea (and my life) sweetened and I made no exception here.
Balanced and tidy are the first words that come to mind. I have images in my mind of John Steed and Mrs. Peel sitting quietly and sipping as they await their next assignment. Would I think that if I didn't know this came from Harrod's? Probably not, but it certainly adds to the fun.
I say balanced and tidy, but really, this tea possesses elegance, in both the usual and the technical sense. There is no wasted space, no flavor that doesn't belong and isn't neatly tucked in. The background is a solid black tea with a surprising, very subtle smoky element. The bergamot isn't overwhelming, it's just enough to dance charmingly with the other flavors. Is there tannin? Of course, this is black tea, but even the tannins are balanced against the other flavours. Some Earl Grey fanatics would probably want more bergamot, so keep that in mind, but this works beautifully for me.
I just finished my first mug. I saved the leaves to brew a second later this evening. That will either work or it won't. I have to say, I don't really care. I am thoroughly satisfied with this tea. Well, there is one small problem. The tea is a bargain at £6.50, $9US for 50 teabags. Of course, I prefer loose tea, but beggars, wot? Unfortunately, shipping and admin costs come to £24.61, just over $35US. I will exercise restraint with this treasure.
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