I haven’t had an earl grey of any stripe in months. I remember being on a comparative earl grey tasting tear at one point, but sadly after all that work I can’t remember much about what I tasted or what I liked without referring back to my own notes. Yay for Steepster, for remembering when I can’t. I wish I could download my tasting logs. If anyone knows a way, please tell me as I can’t find one.
Looking back on my logs, it seems I haven’t logged many earl grey cremes. The front runner among those I’d tried was Upton’s, though I also liked TeaFrog’s blend.
This one has a delicious perfume coming from the dry leaves. Lots of vanilla and not too strong on the bergamot. The leaves are dark brownish with cornflower blossoms adding color to the mix. I’m such a sucker for those little cornflowers! Is it wrong to wish they were in every tea just for the cuteness factor?
The tea is a crystal clear cinnamon brown color with a hint of orange and it smells divine. There’s a very light malty substrate to the aroma. Sweet creamy notes predominate, but a light citrus takes the edge off and add some depth.
The tea has an interesting thickness, or perhaps I should say creaminess, to the mouthfeel which really suits the vanilla cream flavor. The vanilla cream is the dominant flavor I’m tasting, but its also a delicate flavor, not at all overpowering. I’m partial to beany vanilla more than to creamy, but this is quite nice as creamy goes.
I don’t like strong bergamot in my earl grey. I prefer just a hint, enough to wave and say hi and then fade into the background. After reading some of the notes I thought I might not like this one much, but I don’t get strong bergamot. The citrus is there, but it’s sweetened and somewhat diluted by the cream, like lemon icing or the orange in creamsicle.
It could also be that the bergamot mellowed while this tea sat on my shelf for a while. It was sealed before I opened it today, and the aroma didn’t seem stale, but maybe bergamot is volatile and fades over time? Perhaps that accounts for the difference. If so, then it worked to my benefit, because I find this quite nice. The longer I drink it, the more I can discern the bergamot, a tiny “gotcha” at the back of the throat but not in a bad way at all. It also shows up some in the aftertaste, a little cut to keep the cream from becoming too much.
Some earl greys can do a number on my stomach. The bitterness or harshness of the bergamot, which seems sometimes to have a synergistic effect on whatever bitter or harsh notes are in the tea itself making them more pronounced, can leave me feeling like I need something to coat my stomach lining. This isn’t doing that. The tea base plays a supporting role here, and I mostly taste it at the edges of my tongue during the sip and in the aftertaste.
Having been away for so long I no longer have an intuitive feel for what I meant when I established my ratings, so I’m rating this on an absolute rather than a relative scale. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good and something I’ll look forward to drinking.