Finally got around to trying this today, I had picked up a few samples of EGs from Upton when I ordered the British Blend sampler tins. I’m not usually a big fan of Earl Grey, as I think most EG blends available in American groceries are far too heavy on the bergamot. Add to that, I was “traumatized” back in college by someone brewing up Republic’s Earl Greyer – except the person used about 3 times as much tea leaves as necessary and let it steep for about 10 minutes. No wonder I was turned off EGs for so long!
The sampler bags from Upton are cute, if impractical for storage after opening. A nice compact little silver bag, blocks light and nearly all odor from escaping or intruding; but there is no way to seal it back up after opening. I folded down the top several times and placed a binder clip on it.
In the tin/bag: The scent was very much what I expected of an Earl Grey – bergamot blast. The leaves are nice and long (whole, I suppose) and dark.
In the cup: I steeped this for only a little over 3 minutes, in case it was too bergamot heavy, and had a pale brown/dark gold. The scent of bergamot remained. The flavor of bergaot (or what I equate with EGs) was present, but not overwhelmingly. I did add two small spoonfuls of sugar, since I just can not seem to drink tea straight. Maybe one day I’ll get there. I never add milk to an EG (except Cara/Adagio’s Reichenbach Recovery, but that’s a special case).
I did not taste the lemon in the blend until I was about halfway done with the cup and then it was a fight to see which flavor was stronger – sometimes it was the lemon and sometimes it was the bergamot.
I did get out my fancy-pants little “tea for one” set, just to use it. You know what I’m talking about – a tiny little 8-9 ounce teapot with a 6-8 ounce cup that it sits inside of in the cabinet. More hassle to warm before brewing and clean up after drinking the tea than I want to deal with most days, but for a tester cup, it worked (though for the rest of my samples from Upton, I’m using my Teavana TeaMaker).