Tea no. 3 in the Upton Earl Grey sampler. It’s called Earl Grey Chocolate on the sampler label but has the same catalog number as Chocolate Earl Grey.
I’ve been looking forward to this, as I am at least a 200 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of chocolate fanaticism.
I must admit to being somewhat baffled by the all the variations on the Earl Grey theme. Seems to me at some point it ceases to be Earl Grey and starts being something else, but perhaps I’m just old school. Of all the variations, this is the most puzzling to me so far. But that’s probably only because I haven’t come across marzipan-halvah-cookies-’n-cream-melba-toast-pineapple-lime-spaghetti-mutton flavored Earl Grey yet.
This is a very colorful, pretty blend: yellow, green, blue, tan and brown/black. I love anything with cornflowers in it as that shade of blue is so calming and beautiful. It smells strongly of cocoa, and the cocoa has a mint-like lilt to it which defies explanation by the ingredients. The undercurrent of the tea, by contrast, smells almost coffee-like. I am getting nothing in the bergamot or lemon department.
But after steeping, there is both lemon and bergamot in the aroma, along with unsweetened cocoa (that still has that interesting minty-upswing). The taste is very strongly of the cocoa. As with the creme vanilla variety, the bergamot’s role seems mostly to be to corral the cocoa to some extent. The lemon actually seems to be the stronger citrus note here, and seems to be helping the bergamot with the task of keeping the cocoa from turning this into a single note tea. Interestingly, the bergamot hopped onto my tongue a few minutes after my last sip and sat there for about a minute before scurrying away.
Fortunately I have more of this so I can play with it some. Right now I’m in that place where I like the idea of this tea more than I probably like the tea itself. But the idea is so interesting, I really want it to knock my socks off. Right now it’s not doing that; it’s not striking me as that much different from a pretty standard chocolate flavored tea. I’m wondering if steeping 4 minutes would make a difference. Perhaps milk and sweetener would as well.
That said, I haven’t tried any other Chocolate Earl Greys, so there isn’t one I’d choose instead of this. Nor can I say this is signficantly better than any others. It’s either this one or nothing for me right now, and for that reason I’m giving it a default very good rating.