There are a number of Harney teas I really love, but for some reason I’ve never been a fan of their Earl Greys. I pretty much ordered a sample of every EG they had when I put in my first order with them, and the only one that’s on my reorder list is the Winter White, actually. Nevertheless I want to love their Earl Greys, so I continue to try them. I picked up a sachet of this at the New York Coffee and Tea Festival ages ago (right before I joined Steepster!), and this morning I figured I’d give it another shot.
The sachet certainly smells lovely, with plenty of sharp bergamot aroma. In the brewed tea it’s more subdued, and I pick up more of the black tea base, which smells a bit malty and a bit bready.
Overall… too much black tea, not enough bergamot for me. Also it has that black tea base I’m not really a fan of. I’m starting to think it might be Keemun, actually, since I identify it as an “English Breakfast” flavor and I know many EB’s are 100% Keemun. I’m not sure what it is about it, but I have some kind of knee-jerk, gut negative reaction to it. I do not remember having that when I tried Keemun Mao Feng at the Soho store, which is part of what is confusing me. Then again, some EB’s are a blend of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan leaves. I’m pretty sure I like Ceylon, and I don’t think I like Assam, but I’m pretty sure there’s not Assam in this tea. I can identify the smell and flavor of that black tea I don’t like, I just can’t figure out what exactly it is since I’ve only encountered it in undifferentiated blends. Anyway, someday I’ll figure it out.
Back to this tea. Besides the tea base that I don’t really care for, the bergamot is very bright and a touch astringent. It’s not floral, but more citrusy, including the slightly bitter citrus pith. I suppose it’s now confirmed: this one’s not really for me. I’m a fan of so many other Harney teas that I don’t really understand why the Earl Grey and I can’t be friends (especially since I like Earl Greys), but so it goes.
ETA: According to Harney, the makeup of the black tea base in this one is Keemun, Ceylon, Assam, Oolong, with Keemun being the primary ingredient. That is nearly identical to Paris, except Paris also contains Hunnan as another predominant base.