|"I've had a lot of Earl Greys - a lot - but this is the first that had a gentle approach to its blend."|
The sample I had in front of me looked lovely enough. The leaves were crisp, jet black with flecks of lighter brown. I couldn't tell the varietal from sight or scent alone. The bergamot flavoring applied gave it a more citrus than sour lean, which I greatly appreciated. And, lastly, the leaves were fuller than the average small or CTC-cut. That was also a relief.
Brewing instructions called for 203-212F water and a four-to-five-minute steep. I try never to steep my black teas that long; the most I do is three. So, I went with my usual with boiling water instead; 1 rounded teaspoon-worth in 8oz.
The liquor colored to a beautiful light cherry infusion with a scent that reminded me of mandarins and chocolate. I assumed the latter nostril note came from the black tea base - simply startling. Taste-wise, wow. I've had a lot of Earl Greys - a lot - but this is the first that had a gentle approach to its blend. The citrus aspects were stronger than the sour rind ones, and they played well with the black tea blanket. Speaking of which, little astringency and no bitterness. If those are traits you desire, you probably won't find 'em here unless you steep longer. This is the best - and most balanced - Earl I've tried. It can have the monopoly for all I care.
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