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I received this as a sample with the “Blue Knight Special.” It’s my first green Earl Grey.

In the sample packet, there’s a definite bergamot smell, and some lavender, and something that seems almost like vanilla. The tea may be there, but I can’t smell it for the other fragrances.

It brews to a clear light yellow. The aroma of the tea is mainly a green, vegetal sencha. Not particularly on the buttery side, with a sharp note that reminds me of bok choy. There’s the tiniest bit of lavender detectable, but I can’t smell bergamot?

Taste. Hmm. This isn’t what I’d call a flavorful tea. There is some slight vegetal flavor, a cool character that seems attributable to the lavender, and a very hard to find citrus note. It isn’t bitter, but it’s the first green tea that has given me a grab at the back of the throat. Which makes me wonder how green the Assam component really is.

I have some of the sample left, so I can play with it some and see if I can improve it, but after this first tasting it’s not selling me.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 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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