Monday, September 16, 2013

Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey by JusTea

Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey by JusTea

Seller Description: Our Kathryne Earl Grey tea is whole leaf Kenyan black tea leaves cold-pressed with organic Mediterranean bergamot oil. 
Directions: 2 teaspoons per 8oz of water at 195°F for 3 minutes
Website: Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey at JusTea
Sample source: Provided

Dry leaves
Teaware: 8oz Noritake "Sterling Tide" cup and saucer
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 2 teaspoons of raw sugar

A sample of this tea came my way when the company was looking to promote their crowd-sourcing project, geared towards helping Kenyan tea farmers process their own product and cutting out the middlemen. As far as I can tell, JusTea is actually a non-profit with a host of volunteers all geared towards the goal of a living wage for these families. If you're curious, they have some good information on their website.

Infused liquor
But all the promotion in the world isn't going to help if the tea isn't tasty, and no one wants to drink it. My first sniff of the dry tea is promising. The black base is there in the background, but what dominates the aroma is the rich bergamot, which smells both fresh and pungent.

I made the first cup up following the steeping directions, and the first thing I noticed about the liquor is that it is the color of a thick cup of coffee. The flavor is dark and brisk, with an intense astringency. This tea would be good for people making the transition from coffee to tea, because using two teaspoonfuls of tea for each 8oz of water makes for a rather brisk and astringent cup of tea. It wasn't quite to my tastes yet, so I decided to experiment with quantities and steep times.

Infused leaves
For my second cup I tried reducing the dry tea to one teaspoon and steeped for 3 minutes. This time the color was much lighter, and the flavor was as well. Now, instead of a brisk and astringent cup, it's smoothed out significantly. The black tea blend still dominates, but elements of the bergamot can now make themselves known. 

If I make this again, I will definitely go with the smaller amount of tea. It tastes significantly better, and makes for a much more enjoyable experience. That way, you get to enjoy both the taste of a nice, straightforward Earl Grey and the fact that you're supporting such an important cause.

Prominent Notes: Black tea with understated bergamot notes
Aftertaste: Black tea
Overall: A nice cup of Earl Grey

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