Monday, July 29, 2013

Earl Grey Black Tea by EnjoyingTea

Earl Grey Black Tea by EnjoyingTea

Seller Description: "This tea is made from top grade orange pekoe Ceylon black tea scented with the elegant fragrance of bergamot. The Ceylon tea is grown at the altitude of 7000 feet above sea level from the Sri Lanka region. When brewed this tea produces a bright coppery color liquid with a piquant and refreshing taste."
Website: Earl Grey Black Tea
Cost: $5.99/4oz

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug with lid
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 4-5 minutes
Additives: 1 tablespoon of Sugar in the Raw

This was a huge surprise, and I was very impressed by it. For years EnjoyingTea has been my go-to place for teaware, but I haven't really explored their black teas before - just the greens. While I was still in Alaska I bought one of their green tea samplers, and this sample came in the same adorable tin. I've actually considered buying some empty ones from from the company before; they're only $0.65, the tea is protected from air and moisture, and there's no garbage to throw away because you can recycle them so easily - in the bin or by filling it with new tea!

Opening up this tin, the smell is delightfully pungent - wonderfully sharp and sweet. I wasn't able to find the directions on their website, so I just followed the customary 1tsp/8oz for 4-5 minutes.

When I'm unsure about a steeping time, I prefer to start shorter and then add time as needed. Unfortunately, this time I forgot to set the timer and went straight for the full five minutes. At the first sip I could tell that a shorter steep would have been a lot better, because it had a slightly bitter bite.

Initially I added just one tablespoon of raw sugar, but the over-steep made an additional tablespoon a must. It helped ease the bitterness, and left me with a surprisingly good Earl Grey. It was nicely balanced, and the cornflowers added an interesting kick; slight enough to add layers, but not so much as to detract. There was some noticeable astringency, which left me with a mid-range dry mouth. To smooth that out I added a dash of milk, which served to both cut some of the astringency and to highlight the fresh flavor of the cornflowers.

Before cleaning up, I did attempt a re-steep, and while the color was lighter the flavor held up gorgeously. I would not hesitate to re-steep this one in the future.

But I couldn't leave off there. Because of the timing issue with the first cup, I wouldn't feel right posting this without trying a shorter steep.

I am so glad I did!

The four minute steep had all of the strengths of the five minute steep with none of its issues. There was no bitterness, only the slightest hints of astringency, and it tasted even smoother. I can totally see myself curing up with this and a book!

Overall, I'm very impressed with this tea, and I look forward to seeing how it will do when it goes head to head with other varieties in the Battle of the Earl Greys!

Prominent Notes: Black tea and bergamot
Aftertaste: Cornflower
Overall: A truly enjoyable cup of tea!

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