79

In the tin, the leaves smell strongly of bergamot, but fortunately strongly does not equate to perfumey in this instance.

After steeping the tea smells sweet and malty and the bergamot has all but receded into the wings. There’s a faint, orangey smell but not a lot of bergamot in the aroma.

It makes a return in the taste, but not in an overpowering way. The tea is fairly smooth and is mild but flavorful. It has some natural sweetness, but it doesn’t taste as malty as it smells.

Basically this tastes very similar to the Blue Knight Special by TeaFountain in terms of the balance of flavors. The main difference is that the TeaFountain has a lot of rough edges, whereas they’ve been filed down here for the most part (there’s still a sneaky little bite at the back of the throat that can happen sometimes but it’s not consistent). The mouth feel has some substance to it, which I like.

It’s a very no nonsense Earl, no variations, nothing frilly. A very purely Earl Earl. But fortunately lacking the major thing that can ruin an Earl Grey for me — overpowering, perfumey, volatilely alcoholic bergamot.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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