Thursday, June 27, 2013

Citrus Paradisi Earl Grey Blend by Simpson & Vail

Seller Description: "Citrus Paradisi is a citrus lovers delight. We've combined our best selling Earl Grey black tea with natural grapefruit oil to create a taste sensation. The tea brews to a dark amber cup with a hearty, full bodied taste. The aroma and taste of this blend is captivating and refreshing. Earl Grey tea is a favorite with bakers in many culinary recipes. It goes especially well with cakes, cookies, confections and any recipe with chocolate!"
Classifications: Kosher
Directions: Brew tea at 212º - steep for 3 minutes. 
Cost: $7.20/4oz

Citrus Paradisi Earl Grey Blend
Teaware: 16oz tetsubin and depression glass cup
Measured dry: 1 tbsp
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 1 tbsp Sugar in the Raw

This is the second tea from the sample set Simpson & Vail were kind enough to send my way. I felt like something a little summery this morning, and the dry smell of this tea seemed like it would hit the spot quite nicely!

Dry, this tea smells more like an herbal - the grapefruit and other citrus flavors nearly jump out of the bag and dominate your senses. I couldn't smell the black tea blend at all, and had to give the package's label another glance to make sure it was, in fact, an Earl Grey blend!

Steeped, the pendulum swings and the citrus flavors surrender to the demands of the black teas. The citrus notes fade into the background and it's difficult to pick them out at all. I have to sip them extra slowly, and let the tea linger on my tongue in order to taste the grapefruit at the tail end, while I still can't pick out the bergamot which is supposed to give Earl Grey its distinctive flavor.

First and Second Steeps

As you can see from the image above, the first and second steeps were very different. While the wet tea leaves did continue to smell like grapefruit throughout, the second steep is a much lighter cup - both in color and in flavor. The bergamot does finally come out to play, and the grapefruit is diminished. At this point it actually begins to taste like an Earl Grey, albeit a watery one. Because the flavor does wane in the second steep, I will treat this as a single-steep tea in the future.

When you wrap it all up, this is an interesting blend - I've never had one play such games on me! First you've got a tongue-in-cheek game of Got Your Nose! with the dry smell, and then you play Hide & Seek with the flavors in the steeped cup. While I do enjoy it, and will be happy to finish the pot, this will not be moving forward in the Battle of the Earl Greys because it simply doesn't taste strongly enough like an Earl Grey.

Prominent Notes: Black tea blend
Aftertaste: Grapefruit
Overall: A playful cup

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