Sunday, August 25, 2013

Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea

The Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea

Seller DescriptionA unique Earl Grey made with Tieguanyin and laced with saffron and frankincense....We start not with a black tea, but with our famous Hand-Picked Tieguanyin to give the bergamot a cleaner base to integrate with, and reinforce the floral citrus notes. We draw out the citrus sweetness with a uniquely creamy and rich orange peel, and crystallize the florals into a prominent position with jasmine blossoms.
Ingredients: Autumn Harvest Tieguanyin, Organic Orange Peel, Organic Jasmine, Wildcrafted Frankincense Resin, Organic Goji Berry, Organic Saffron
Directions: 5g per 8oz of water at 212°F for 2 minutes
Website: The Earl of Anxi at Verdant Tea
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 2 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

When I'm enjoying tea, I will often close my eyes and venture to the tea's perfect setting. This one takes me straight to Christmas Mass. A lot of that has to do with the smoky Frankincense, but it's also the brightness in this tea that, in the darkest part of winter, promises the spring will come.

I was given a sample of this for the Battle of the Earl Greys, with the understanding that it was quite different than the traditional Earl Grey flavor profile. The black tea has been replaced with a green, the bergamot with orange, and additional notes (like the Frankincense!) have been added. It's such a special blend, though, that I knew I had to include it anyway, and I am so glad that I was able to.

When I opened the sample I had a quick flashback to opening my package of Hand Picked Autumn Tiegyanyin, as the delicate dry smell of the tea comes primarily from its green base. Gradually that changed, as hints of the orange peel, jasmine, and Frankincense did begin to introduce themselves politely. 

Steeped, the aroma is nearly pure Tiegyanyin, and I have a difficult time locating the other notes. They come out and play in the actual flavor more than the aroma. This is not a brisk tea, ready to shake the last of the sand from your sleepy eyes. It's more of a soothing hand rubbing your back when things seem overwhelming. 

This blend uses my absolute favorite green tea as a base and just stacks different elements and nuances onto it. With one sip I'm hit first by the Tiegyanyin and orange peel, then it almost feels like I'm breathing out Frankincense and jasmine. It's incredibly fresh, very silky and creamy, and there is only the tiniest of the astringency I often find in my morning teas. 

An additional bonus is that it also holds up well upon re-steeping. After three minutes it is nearly as strong as the first steep. All the elements are still there and some of the smaller notes, like the saffron, are actually peeking out more.

That said, I can't quite imagine myself making a cup of this to jump-start my hectic school day. It deserves, no, demands, the time to really sip and savor it over multiple hours and many steepings. This is more of a weekend winter morning tea, and I think I will continue to enjoy it as such.

Prominent Notes: Tiegyanyin, citrus, and jasmine
Aftertaste: Frankincense
Overall: A very tasty, comforting tea

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