|"An Earl Grey for black tea lovers, the bergamot flavour is not as strong here as in other blends. It shares the stage with the delicious tea base rather being the sole star of the show. "|
At first glance, the dried tea is a mix of smallish, deeply oxidized purplish-black leaves, interspersed with cornflower petals. The scent is surprising: other than the sweet and spicy smell of the citrus oil, there is a definite warm pine needle aroma present, which adds a wonderful dimension. I followed the directions provided by Jing, brewing one rounded teaspoon of leaves in 8 ounces of boiling water for 3 minutes. The water became a rich mahogany colour almost as soon as I dropped in the leaves. The scent of the cup is less sophisticated than that of the dry leaves, but it's fresh, lemony aroma is enticing nonetheless. What is most immediately striking is that the taste of the leaves really shines through. Stout cream, tobacco, burnt sugar and malt notes make themselves known alongside the bergamot. The tannic, metallic finish of the Ceylon mingles with the citrus freshness of the bergamot beautifully. Quite amazingly, despite the strength of the tea base, there is no bitter edge whatsoever. This blend can definitely take milk and sugar. However the leaves provide such a velvety texture that the addition of a creamer is not absolutely needed. The bergamot flavour is not as strong as in other blends but it delivers a persistent and enveloping presence. It shares the stage with the tea base rather being the sole star of the show, as in other Earl Grey blends. After a second 3 minute infusion, the tea is thinner and more focused on the bergamot. The flavour of the tea base is still present, providing delicious toasted bread notes, but slowly receding into the background. A third 3 minute infusion is rather watery and not very interesting, especially compared to the first two.
Jing makes good on their promise of a superior leaf. Deeply satisfying and expertly blended, this offering will please black tea lovers as well as Earl Grey fans. Well done!
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