Backlogging this one! Surprised I haven’t done this one yet but then I don’t drink it all that often; being the first tea I bought on my pilgrimage (yes, my cultural, romantic, artistic, linguistic, idealistic pilgrimage) to Paris, and to Mariage Frères beneath the Louvre, I tend to guard it preciously and use it only for special occasions.
Hooowever my manager asked that I complete the last exercise of my tea training workbook today, which involved comparing two teas of different grades, so I compared this one to Whittard of Chelsea’s Afternoon Earl Grey, also with cornflowers. But French Blue will always come out on top, for me!!
Something always tells me not to brew this one for too long but it’s never come out badly for it; the floral scent is consistently amazing without being terribly pungent all through the steeping and, with the leaves carefully measured, never brews to any darker than the richest amber. (I do feel like I’m writing a love letter to this tea.) It’s dry on the tongue but so, so good for it- the bergamot and the china black tea and the cornflowers all come out separately, strongly, and so deliciously, none of this merging of flavours that tends to make the ingredients indistinct from one another. Being able to taste all the different harmonious elements here really works to its advantage.
I’ve had this one with milk before but unless you’re not a fan of the dryness, I’d recommend it black, to be treated as you’d treat a First Flush Darjeeling. This one is such a great classic!