Recent Tasting Notes
I think I’ll work through some of the top Earl Greys from my sampling a couple of weeks ago and try them again, this time as a full cup. This is a tea that when I first had it in a tea shop in London I loved (which is why I bought a pouch), but when I came home didn’t live up to my memory at the brewing parameters I used. I did enjoy it in the side-by-side tasting, so let’s hope the steeping parameters are good this time.
Hmm, still not quite right. I still get a hint of bitterness in the cup that I never did in London! I also didn’t get it in the tasting where I used these same parameters. Weird. Maybe I need to go a shorter steep time as well for a full cup. I can taste the Ceylon base and a slightly floral bergamot, but then there’s a pithy bitterness that comes up and really puts a damper on my enjoyment. If nothing else this makes a really nice cold brewed Earl Grey, so I can use up my pouch of it that way.
Another tea from the first round of my Earl Grey tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.
This tea seemed the most floral of the samples, but at the same time it also had a decent helping of citrus pith to the flavor. It has an intriguing flavor that’s a bit different from the more straight bergamot teas in the round, but I couldn’t quite suss it out in my small sample. This is one that I have 75g of, so I will definitely have plenty of opportunity to try it again.
Cold steep tea of the day: this Earl Grey! I hadn’t had an Earl Grey iced before, but I have enough kinds that I wanted to try it out. When I first had this tea in Covent Garden, I detected a floral note to it, so I figured it might be a good candidate for cold steeping to try to bring those floral notes out.
The liquor reached a light amber color after about 20 hours. The bergamot really comes on strong when cold brewed; not for the bergamot averse! It was even shockingly strong for me, and I love bergamot (down to buying “bergamottes” hard candies in Paris!). But it’s not astringent or bitter, just powerfully bergamotty. I bet it would taste just like the bergamottes candy with a little sweetener! The floral notes definitely do come out more in the cold brew, but because there are also orange peels in this one, there are distinct citrus notes as well. The best of both worlds! The bergamot is so strong I can hardly taste the tea (not the case when brewed hot), so this one also might be a good candidate for mixing in some plain black when cold steeping. In any case, I’m enjoying it!
I had a pot of this tea at the teapod tea shop in Covent Garden, so I’m interested to see how it brews up at home now. This time I can smell the dry leaf: very fragrant, and a bergamot that’s on the floral side, which matches up to the taste of the cup I had last time. There’s also that warmer, rounder orange aroma in the dry leaf (no doubt from the bits of orange peel in the mix).
The aroma of the brewed tea is primarily of the Ceylon base with the high, bright, somewhat floral note of the bergamot overlying it. This cups seems a tad oversteeped; perhaps I put too much leaf in, or the water in the tea shop wasn’t quite boiling, or somehow I steeped it longer. There’s a touch of bitterness now, and that lovely floral bergamot is more astringent and overwhelmed by the black tea base. Well, I guess this is one I’ll have to play around with to get right, but I know it has the potential to be delicious!
Backlogging… I had a pot of this yesterday at the teapod shop in Covent Garden. After a full day of running around to tea and record shops, it was just what I needed. I let it brew for 3 minutes but I think it was probably going for at least 30 seconds before she brought it out to the table.
The brewed tea had a light aroma that smelled primarily like black tea with a hint of citrusy overtones. The taste, however, was full and rounded. Lovely rich bergamot taste that was very floral, with a light lemony overtone that was no doubt coming from the lemon peels in the mix. The tea wasn’t bitter at all, and was pretty light tasting for a black; overall I enjoyed it a lot, and ended up a buying a pouch to take back with me!