I can’t believe I didn’t try this one sooner. I love Earl Grey, and I love Harney’s Earl Grey Supreme, but their standard Earl Grey just fell through the cracks with me. I was always aware of it, but for some reason, I never made a point to try it. Obviously, that has changed. I ordered a sample of this tea with a recent order and worked my way through it during on-call duty. I found it to be a very respectable traditional Earl Grey.
I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion process I tend to favor for non-Chinese black teas and many black tea blends. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves gave off a wonderfully clear aroma of bergamot. After infusion, I continued to note a pronounced bergamot presence that was joined by traces of malt and toast. In the mouth, the bergamot was very clear from the start. Around mid-palate, I noted subtle notes of malt, toast, leather, and wood coupled with what may have been a touch of caramel. The finish was tart and zesty, continuing to emphasize the bergamot flavor underscored by subtle malt and toast.
I’m a little perplexed by some of the other reviews of this tea. It seems that a number of other reviewers found this Earl Grey lacking in a distinct bergamot presence, but I did not find that to be the case at all. In my experience, the black tea base was mild enough to clearly highlight the bergamot while simultaneously being just strong enough to provide some balance. As far as standard Earl Grey blends go, I found this one to be very solid and to skew toward the fruitier, tarter end of the spectrum. To be clear, it does not pack the bergamot punch of Harney & Sons’ Earl Grey Supreme. I do not, however, think it is all that much of a step down from that blend. I think that fans of traditional Earl Grey and/or flavored black tea blends may find quite a bit to like with this one.
Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel, Leather, Malt, Toast, Wood