408 Tasting Notes
Last one for the backlog. This one is strictly so-so for me, but I think my opinion of it is tainted by my first couple of experiences with it. The hotel restaurant seemingly didn’t have much experience making tea, so I only got one teabag for two cups of water, and it was pretty much impossible to get anything out of that that wasn’t lightly scented water or sludge.
My next experience with it was better. This is a good earl grey, firmly on the citrus side of bergamot and a little astringent. I think there are better Harney EG blends, but it was fine for breakfast and helped wake me up the last couple of days of our trip.
Backlog. This was actually my favorite tea from vacation—the mint is light and sweet, and the verbena adds a nice citrus note to the cup. It’s a simple combination but it’s one of the most pleasant mint teas I’ve tried. This seems to be one of Harney’s staples, so I’m actually surprised I haven’t tried it before now!
Backlog from vacation. This was pretty good for a bottled tea. The honey flavor was very assertive; instead of the generic, sweet, “honey” flavor many bottled teas use, this was identifiably the good stuff. Somehow that managed not to overwhelm the tea base despite being the dominant flavor, and the lemon kept it from being overly sweet (although I reached for it because I wanted sweet). I think I’d like to try the dry version of this so I can control the sugar content myself, but it was a pleasant surprise when I had to grab something quickly in the airport.
I brewed this a little lower than I would normally brew a rooibos, which turned out to be a happy accident: this tastes exactly like a chocolate covered strawberry. It’s a little sweeter than I would have expected, but the chocolate is assertive like few teas of this kind achieve and the fruit still manages to come through. This is definitely one of the better Republic of Tea flavors I’ve tried.
This smells wonderful and tastes…not so wonderful. I’m not sure what it is about this but I’m really not liking it. It’s too herbal. The blackberry isn’t assertive enough at all despite being very present in the scent, and oddly the sage isn’t taking over either. What I’m left with is a sort of watery, fake-grape flavor that I have no intention of drinking again.
This tea seems to be one that tastes completely different when drunk at different temperatures. Last time I had it when it was lukewarm, and this time I tried it before it cooled completely. There’s some citrus to it, but mostly it’s like clover honey, with a strong scent of sweetgrass. I’m still not getting much EG out of it, but this tea is really unique and delicious.
Sipdown! I grabbed this because it was an earl grey, and yet this doesn’t taste much like an earl grey at all. It’s more like a breakfast tea with a sweet burnt sugar/apple aftertaste. It’s actually kind of watery, and I’m having trouble thinking of it as an EG at all. It’s fine, but I don’t think I’d reach for it again.
I’m slowly working my way through all the earl grey bags my grocery store has to offer, because I like to take a few with me whenever I travel and I want to figure out what I like best. I think it’s safe to say that this is not it. The bergamot is way too floral for me and the tea itself gets bitter fast. It’s really hard not to oversteep this one, which is a shame because it’s not too bad when it’s done right. I can only seem to get a good cup out of it about 1/3 of the time, though, usually because I’m distracted. Since it’s so sensitive I might try brewing it at a lower temperature next time.
This is an okay earl grey. After the last cup I wanted one that actually tasted like EG, but sadly this one isn’t as fruity as I’d like. The tea base is assertive and the bergamot is floral without being too much, but there’s something missing and I think it’s the fruitiness that I associate with my favorite EGs. In this case it’s completely a personal taste thing and nothing wrong with the tea itself; it’s drinkable and smooth, and I’ll have no trouble finishing off what I have. It’s doubtful this will go on the list to buy, though.
My dad got me this as a surprise a couple of days ago, and since I’m generally open to trying any and all earl greys that cross my path I didn’t turn it down. This one is interesting, because the taste doesn’t scream “earl grey” to me at all. It’s a little spicy in a peppery way and there’s a darker, almost chocolatey note to it that reminds me of mocha instead of tea. Definitely good but not at all what I was expecting!