Review: Culinary Teas Russian Earl Grey

Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Cornflower Tea, Culinary Teas, Earl Grey Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Orange Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!" I noticed the orange chunks, lemongrass, and cornflower bits amidst the black tea base immediately. It's not everyday you spot ALL the elements in a complicated cup-to-be."
Geoff’s Teaview: 8.7/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 6.6/10
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Russians like their tea like they like everything; dark, barrel-chested, and to the extreme. And with PASSION! Or maybe that's the Italians, I dunno. Point being, Russians brew their tea strong, scalding hot, and special. How special? On top of having an ornate brass water boiler - stoked by boot - additional herbs can be added to it. Of all the "zavarka" recipes I've researched, there never seems to be an exact consensus on what those herbs entail. And since I'm nowhere near Russian - either in location or lineage - I'll leave that up to someone else's guess or citation.

Culinary Teas puts as good a case as any with their Russian Earl Grey. Granted, I doubt the good Earl ever had anything to do with Russia, but the fact that this colorful batch doesn't contain bergamot oil would indicate its unimportance. Ingredients for this citrus-smelling blend were "luxury black tea, natural dried lemongrass, natural dried orange, cornflower petals, natural flavors." I noticed the orange chunks, lemongrass, and cornflower bits amidst the black tea base immediately. It's not everyday you spot ALL the elements in a complicated cup-to-be. And while the smell was not the extra-sour bergamot of Greys hither and yon, it did possess a mixture that could easily pass for it. Not sure if the "natural flavors" bit had anything to do with the false trail. We'll leave it alone.

Brewing called for 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, steeped for three-to-seven minutes. While that leaves a good margin, I would think seven to be a bit extreme. Although, I do have a friend who likes his Earl Grey extra bitter; so, to each their own. I went with a four-minute steep, given the extra herbal elements.

At only four minutes, it brewed to a solid amber with a balanced citrus nose. Floral elements from the Ceylon-predominant - and maybe even the cornflower - also showed through. (Although, I hear cornflower is only there for decoration in teas.) Taste-wise, it lent a very tasty cup - a lighter black tea on par with many Darjeelings, but with the fluttery character of Ceylon. It definitely isn't a barrel-chested Russian tea, however. But given my "delicate" sensibilities, I'll take it.

— To purchase Culinary Teas Russian Earl Grey, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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