Ok, I hate doing this. I really do. But here goes…
Opening a tin of this Earl Grey Choice by Zhi Tea can be best described as being totally steamrolled by lavender! Overwhelming lavender. I get nothing that would suggest an earl grey in the scent, no bergamot, nothing. Just lavender! Reading the list of ingredients on the tin, it does not mention any lavender at all. Odd, I would say. So I brew this tea, and surprise, surprise, the liquor has an extreme lavender smell as well. Upon sipping, I can barely muster the energy to send it down my throat. It tastes soapy. But, in truth, describing it as soap-like is way too kind. I would find difficulty serving this tea to my most villainous enemies. Just having it in my mouth, I almost want to gag. This is not earl grey. Frankly, I don’t know what sort of monster this is.
So, I emailed Zhi Tea and asked them if maybe I recieved the wrong tea, or if potentially it’s a bad batch. Let me first say, the customer service at Zhi Tea is top-notch. I was responded to quickly and politely. They get an ‘A’ for customer service. I was told that they use an organic bergamot oil in this tea that has a lavender-like scent. I was also told that I can leave the tin open to air-out and maybe it will help lower the lavender-like intensity.
Let me say this, as a frequent earl grey drinker, I love trying interesting and creative versions of earl grey. This is not an interesting or creative version. This is a mistake. Zhi Tea needs to go back and reassess this one. It’s very possible that I just got a bad batch of it, a batch with an unfathomable amount of this organic bergamot oil. I’ve had an otherwise positive experience drinking Zhi’s teas, but this one is simply undrinkable.