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This refers to the loose leaf version of the tea. Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey is my favorite Earl. By adding blue flowers, vanilla or cream extract, other Earls attempt to lure me away. So far, though, none has been successful.

The bergamot used by Stash is an essential oil, while many of the other Earl Grey teas are scented with an extract of bergamot. I am familiar with bergamot essential oils and bergamot extracts in their pure liquid forms and I can say that there is a distinct difference between them. Distillation of the oil removes the vegetal components of the citrus bergamia orange fruit which are present in the extract. Both oil and extract have an overwhelmingly citrus nature, of course. Besides that, high floral notes predominate in the oil while in the extract, the balance tips toward more earthy influences reminiscent of rosemary. Why do some teas use the extract rather than the essential oil? Perhaps they prefer the effects of the extract or perhaps because it is much less costly than the oil.

The black tea base is a substantial whole leaf which brews up malty and rich. Be sure to use enough tea. You’ll want a couple of rounded teaspoons to make a big mug. If your bag has been battered and the tea badly broken up like mine is, then it will be denser and so measure out less. Or just weigh it … I used 5 grams of tea per 12 ounces. I drank mine neat today and it went down very smoothly, but it holds up well on those occasions when I add milk and sweetening, too.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Note: I’m open to offers to swap tea samples. If you can’t message me, just comment on one of my tea notes, and I’ll respond.

I am fascinated and deeply impressed by the artistry and skill which coaxes such an array of qualities from one species of leaf. In 2009, I founded San Antonio Tea & Herb Enthusiasts. For intimate tastings with a small gathering, I’m practicing Asian-style tea service along the lines of Chinese gongfu cha yi. It’s a joy, turning people on to good tea! http://www.meetup.com/SA-Tea-Herb/

The most recent sign of my conversion to the deeply-steeped side: I’ve turned three large file boxes into “tea humidors” for aging pu-erh cakes and bricks at 65% humidity. Remote sensors within the “pumidors” relay the temperature and humidity readings to a base station on my desk.

I write about tea culture for the Examiner online newspaper: http://www.examiner.com/x-49007-San-Antonio-Tea-Examiner

My tea rating system:

0 – 10 … Ugh, throw it out
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81 – 90 … Wonder-full !
91 – 100 … The Stuff of Legends !

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