This tea bag is a funky little thing. I was expecting the silky bag type that so many upper end vendors seem to be using but it is a rectangular, loosely woven muslin bag, more like Kusmi’s but bleached rather than off-white. (Well, the box says unbleached but it is much whiter than Kusmi’s unbleached…) The bag also really plumps up when steeped and I can’t help but think that is a good thing – it means there might be some real leaves in there! I’m going to have to cut a bag open at some point…
The scent of the tea is rather interesting – it’s Earl Grey but there is also a note in there that reminds me of yuzu. It’s all in the citrus family so I suppose that works. The scent is rather strong but not unpleasant or fake.
The flavor is a bit surprising. The scent is so strong, I was kind of braced for a bit of a perfume shock. But there wasn’t one. Sweet and smooth on the front end, the dominant flavor is definitely the Earl Grey, but as strong as the smell and flavor of the EG is, there is no unpleasantness associated with it. I don’t feel like I’m breathing perfume and there is zero astringency or roughness. The mouthfeel is really quite silky.
I’m finding that I am having difficulty figuring out the proper words to describe the EG taste. It’s like a silky, sophisticated peel of some citrus fruit mix (mandarian with yuzu, perhaps) but without the bitterness or tartness associated with citrus peel or pith.
I can’t honestly say I love Earl Grey as a tea entity unto itself (but the husband does so I’m always on the lookout for a good one) but this one is really lovely. I feel kind of sophisticated drinking it. I’m actually sitting here in my silky monkey pajama, but I feel a bit like I’m having tea with Jane Austen. Or Mr. Darcy. At Pemberley. In full period dress.
The second steep (5:00) isn’t quite as sophisticated feeling as the first. There is a little prickle on my tongue that shows up at the end of the sip. It stays small, though, so that’s good. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the tea is astringent now, but the silky mouthfeel is missing. The flavoring seems sweeter now, but it is still in the citrus family – a navel orange, perhaps. The slight prickle brings to mind orange pith a little, that kind of tongue tingling/numbing sensation pith can give. (Or is that the center of a pineapple?) Anyway, the first steep is definitely my favorite. (That being said, the second steep sure disappeared quickly.)
(ETA: I cut open the bag after the second steep. The leaves are broken but probably some of the largest leaves I’ve seen in a teabag. Here’s a pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aug3zimm/6332730588/ )