Uggghhh… will to stay awake flagging… Although it’s totally that situation where I am exhausted and totally wiped because my body thinks it’s 2:30am, but I did sleep a lot last night and yesterday so I don’t know if I could even really fall asleep. And my contacts are doing that “it’s late and you should go to sleep so we’re going to dry out an make it impossible for you to see” thing that they like to do. Oh, 12hr jetlag is the worst.
I decided to delve into my Le Palais des Thes gift set, which arrived while I was away in China. I’ve wanted to try Le Palais des Thes for a while now because I love Dammann Freres and a lot of French blends, which tend to be relatively complex with lots of flavors going on. I’ve also enjoyed the Kusmi teas I’ve tried, though I’m not a big fan of Mariage Freres because I don’t like the black base blend they use, so where does this company fall? We shall see! I wanted a black tea, which narrows it down because there seem to be not as many blacks as greens in there, but most of the others didn’t really speak to me today. I decided to try this “powerful yet refined Earl Grey” as they put it on the insert. The dry leaf certainly smells bergamotty, so hopefully it will be powerful enough to keep me awake.
I steeped this at 205°F since that’s what they recommend, and if a company recommends a slightly lower temp for their blacks I know I should follow it since blacks can go too strong and bitter for me easily. The black tea base comes out to play a bit more in the aroma. It’s nice, though I can’t quite place it. Familiar but not familiar enough for me to be able to identify it. Definitely Chinese and not a Ceylon or Assam, though. The bergamot is there but it’s playing back up, bright and citrusy. The flavors are good, a nice balance of the base and the bergamot. This is pretty high on the bergameter, but the base doesn’t get lost in the process. First notes are definitely bright bergamot, and then the warm, slightly bready, slightly malty black tea base comes out. The bergamot in this one is a bit on the harsher side, almost getting that pithy bitterness as it cools, so if you’re not a bergamot fan I could see how this could come off poorly. A strong bergamot is very difficult to pull off perfectly, and this tea does a pretty good job of it, but it’s not going to replace my Todd & Holland any time soon. The really promising part of this tea is that the base is very well done, so I’m looking forward to trying their other blends.