|"Alternatively sweet, floral and lemony, a potent bergamot flavouring is paired with a pleasantly dry finish, with a hint of muscatel to it. The taste of the tea base is quite mild however and overpowered by that of the bergamot oil."|
The scent is more on the lemony side than that of other Earl Greys I've tried before. I can see why another reviewer thought it was on the masculine side: there is something almost cologne-like about this tea's aroma (in a good puts-hair-on-your-chest-while-at-the-same-time-clearing-your-sinuses kind of way). The leaves are of varying sizes, ranging from khaki green to charcoal coloured, in the expected Darjeeling fashion. As KTeas doesn't include brewing instructions on its website, I've been experimenting with a few different parameters. My preferred infusion mixed a teaspoon of leaves with 8 ounces of water boiled to 205 degrees Fahrenheit and then steeped for 3 and a half minutes. I tried longer infusions with success as well. This tea doesn't seem to be very fussy and can infuse for quite a while without going bitter, a thing that can be a great asset when not quite awake in the morning. Bearing an inviting rich cinnamon colour, the infusion is sweeter and gentler smelling than the dry leaves. The clean, fresh scent of the brew prepares the palate for the citrusy brew to come. Alternatively sweet, floral and lemony, the bergamot flavouring is quite potent. The finish is pleasantly dry, with a hint of muscatel to it. However, generally speaking the taste of the tea base is quite mild and mostly overpowered by that of the bergamot oil. I may be just a creature of habit but I wish the leaves' flavour were a bit stouter to balance out such a strong, distinctive taste. A second 4 minute infusion yields a brew where the strength of the tea base and the bergamot flavour are more evenly paired. Still highly aromatic but smoother and less astringent, this is an equally enjoyable cup. Since the bergamot is still very present, I decide to see what this tea will deliver on round three, after another 4 minute infusion. The tang of the bergamot has now been diminished to a light tingle. Although this is again a pleasant cup, still redolent with hints of spice, muscatel and of course citrus, it seems like the best has now been drawn out of the leaves.
I commend KTeas for wanting to put a new spin on this classic brew and providing a quality product. In terms of the bergamot scenting, it's one of the stronger blends I've tried in a while, which is a good thing in my books. However I did miss the sweetness of the malty notes from the usual Assam tea base. It seems to be a better match, especially when paired with such a strong bergamot flavour. Also the bergamot masked most of the subtler notes one would enjoy from a fine Darjeeling tea, so this combination may not be the happiest in the end. This tea is definitely enjoyable as a novelty but I'm not sure if I would seek it out again. For those that may be curious, it's so reasonably priced that it's certainly worth experimenting.
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