Appearance: Deep black leaves slightly curled.
Dry leaf aroma: This tea smells like Early Grey. The package says “A secretive tea, scented with essences of citrus and other fruits, dotted with silver needles.” There is definitely bergamot and lemon peel, maybe even lime? I don’t see any silver needle though…hmm.
Covered the bottom of gaiwan, water at 208F. 1st steep 3 mins. 2nd steep 2 min. 3rd steep 2 mins.
As I mentioned, this tea seems to be an Early Grey. The aroma is all citrus: lots of bergamot, lemon peel, a bit of orange and perhaps lime. (It honestly reminds me of the yellow Trix cereal). The tea itself has a nice balance, although maybe a bit too much bergamot for some. The liquor is a little bit sour, which I like as it blends with the citrus note in the aroma. The color of the tea is beautiful. A firey red-orange. The tea is smooth with little rough edges (the leaf is of better quality than many blends I think).
The aroma is still quite strong. The tea is a bit less lemony and the taste slightly less sour. I think the 2nd steep is very similar to standard Earl Grey’s (think Twining’s). Color is still a deep orange.
STILL a deep color. A surprisingly sophisticated flavor remains…the tea has sweetened up a bit and the balance of citrus and the body of the tea are in a nice place.
If you like early grey, you should try this. No doubt, Mariage Frères makes high quality tea. The blends are sophisticated and the tea itself is of really nice quality. While I don’t often drink blends, this is a company that seems to do them right.
Listening: was feeling dramatic: put on Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 during this tasting.