I read E Alexander Gerster’s review here, and I either got the same shipment or this tea is just bad to start with.
The leaves looked just like Samovar’s Breakfast Blend, but there was a weird yellow tinge to the packet. I didn’t think much of it and assumed it was from the bergamot oil.
I opened the packet and took a deep whiff. Phew!! What is this? It smelled heavily of lemon-scented, toxic cleaning chemicals. Not what I was expecting from Samovar, and I had been warned by the reviews here that it’s heavier on the lemon than most Earl Greys.
Now let me explain the setting when I first tried this tea. I just received a permanent job offer and have to attend a New Employee Orientation. It’s 5am, and I am not a morning person. The only reason I’m ever up this early is if I never went to sleep in the first place.
So, it’s 5am and I am in dire need of caffeine! I decided on a classic Earl Grey & steeped this for 3 minutes. I was already wary from the aroma of the dry tea leaves, but I took a tentative sip. Blech! It was extremely bitter and nasty and had no redeeming qualities. I added a little bit of Stevia and it only made the toxic lemon bitterness more pronounced. I added some milk and literally had to force myself to finish the cup. After all, I needed the caffeine.
So now it’s two days later, and I’m brewing the second half of the sample. I made myself follow the same steeping parameters. It yielded a gross, bitter cup of toxic lemon. I promptly poured it out and went on to the second infusion, hoping it would be better.
Well, it is a little bit better. I only steeped it for 2 minutes this time and immediately added milk, no sweetener. The toxic lemon effect is less pronounced but still present. It’s much easier to drink this cup without gagging.
But really Samovar, what happened? This isn’t Earl Grey; it’s Hurl Grey.