This is another one that came from Auggy. Slowly but surely I’m making my way through her offerings. There are definitely more tried than untried now anyway.
Earl Grey for me have always been somewhat touch and go. I won’t ever grow to love them, but I do seem to be able to tolerate them better today. Just a couple of years ago, I would say I didn’t much like it at all. I believe flavoured teas is the place where Auggy’s and my Taste Twinniness stops. We don’t always appreciate the same flavours. Or maybe it doesn’t stop as such. It just runs parallel. Even if it’s not the same flavourings, we still seem to look for approximately the same qualities. I guess ultimately it probably has to do with the balance between flavour and body, and then, when there is a difference in our tastes regarding a flavoured tea, the recent Burrough’s Brew being a good example, it has more to do with the flavour itself than anything else. If that makes sense.
Anyway, this one smells like a regular Earl Grey. Bergamot-y. That’s it. I’m not sure what the Shanghai element is at this point, and looking up the company’s description doesn’t make me any wiser. Apparently the base is Yunnan on this one, but… Shanghai isn’t anywhere NEAR the Yunnan province! They’re actually on opposite ends of the country. Unless there’s more than one place called Shanghai which I suppose is possible, but… Maybe, since the base is a purely Chinese tea, they just wanted something in the name that was very Chinese? Oh well.
After brewing the aroma is less bergamot-strong and more generally citrus-y. A bit orange-y even. Yes orange. Bergamot and orange. I skimmed through Auggy’s post on it and she mentioned that it reminded her of the Romanoff blend, and I have to say I agree. I’m glad for that orange note. It brightens it all up and makes everything lighter. Bergamot on its own is often a dark and heavy smell, but with the orange addition here it’s positively lively.
It’s still lively in flavour, although the comparison to Romanoff stops there. It’s not the rampant blend of myriads of citrus that Romanoff is, but I wouldn’t say this comes across as a regular Earl Grey either. I believe that must have something to do with the base. Hardly a regular Earl Grey base, is it? But even the flavouring seems different. Whether it just interacts differently with different bases, I can’t say, but it doesn’t have that dusty, prickly, perfume-y bergamot characteristics that are the main reason I don’t normally go much for Earl Grey. Sometimes they even taste like soap! It doesn’t actually come across as bergamot at all. Just… citrus that isn’t any of the more common citrus-fruits. Just generic citrus, with maybe a smidge of bergamot in the background. Not soap-y though.
It’s an Earl Grey that understands how not to make a spectacle of itself. In spite of its fancy and exotic name, it’s down to earth and confident in itself enough to not have to be very loud in the cup. And that is the best way for me to have Earl Grey.