Today, this is much better. I used a little extra leaf and it really made a big difference. This is really delicious, a lovely take on the classic Earl Grey.
The citrus notes of the bergamot are really emphasized with the addition of lemongrass and orange peel. Almost to the point of the uniqueness of the bergamot fruit is sort of overwhelmed by the orange and lemongrass … I notice less of the distinct flavor notes of the bergamot: the sharpness, the slight floral note … and am instead treated to a citrus punch of sorts. It’s delicious, but, I feel like this blend may have taken its intention a tad too far.
The black tea base even seems almost a little overwhelmed by the fruit notes, which is actually contrary to the description, but, it is true in the case of this tasting. I love a good Golden Yunnan, and they are typically quite robust but, the strength of the fruit notes seem quite powerful here. As I continue to sip, I notice more distinct tea notes, I notice a sweet, honey-esque tone that verges on a caramel-ish taste, and I notice the rich flavor of the Yunnan with hints of pepper that bring the cup to life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying this. There is a lot of complexity to the cup, and its one that is worth examining. I taste the black tea – and these notes are especially noticeable after your palate has become accustomed to the strong citrus notes. The vibrant peppery note of the Yunnan, and the hint of honey really add a pleasing dimension to the cup.
I also taste the bergamot, it’s just that I taste these other notes even more, and they seem to throw the balance off just a bit, robbing the tea of it’s Earl Greyness. A very good tea, but not a Great Earl Grey, and because of this, I find it difficult to rate. If I were to rate it on the basis of an Earl Grey tea, I’m afraid the rating would be rather low, but, if I’m to rate it on the basis of enjoyment – casting aside the name of the tea and forgetting that this is a twist on the classic, beloved Earl Grey, then the number would be much higher. Since I generally base my ratings on my enjoyment at the time of the cup, I will go with that, and rate it with how much I’m enjoying the cup rather than the fact that it’s quite a departure from Earl Grey.