Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Smoked Earl Grey by Tao of Tea

Smoked Earl Grey

Seller Description: "A blend of organic Indian black tea from Nilgiri infused with natural bergamot essence and organic smoked tea from Fujian Province in China. The smoked tea is better known as Lapsang Souchong in China."
Directions: 1 teaspoon per 8oz, steep 4-5 minutes
Website: Smoked Earl Grey
Cost: $8.75/3.5oz tin

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

My freshman year of college, I enrolled in a "rocks for jocks" class, both to meet some requirements and also because in high school I just couldn't wrap my head around plate tectonics. After a few "ah ha!" moments which were course related, I noticed something that had nothing to do with the curriculum: that more than one of my classmates smelled like a campfire nearly every day. It wasn't until that point that I actually understood that while I might live in a very small city, just off campus there were people living in dry cabins. No running water, and wood stoves for heat. I lived in Alaska for six years, and I have my share of weird and wacky memories, and I had to ask myself which century it was more than once!

Of all those, that moment sticks out for some undefinable reason. This tea reminds me of that. The blend tastes almost identical to their Pine Smoked Black, and the bergamot notes are very difficult to identify, if at all.

I was not able to finish the cup, and my husband (who usually is happy with any tea I'm not) actually struggled to finish his. It's just too much of a single note, and the smoky flavor overwhelms everything else. This doesn't taste like an Earl Grey to me, so it will not be moving forward.

Prominent Notes: Campfire smoke
Aftertaste: Black tea and campfire smoke
Overall: This will not be moving forward in the Battle of the Earl Greys.

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