Talk about a blast from the past. I could recall buying a two ounce pouch of this tea back in the summer of 2016, but until last week, I was entirely unaware that not only I still had it, but that I had never even gotten around to opening it. Upon discovering this, I made the decision to prioritize drinking this one. Fortunately, the tea was still viable. I’m aware that the shelf life of loose Earl Grey is longer than many people realize, but one great thing about Steven Smith Teamaker is that their loose packs are very thick and both heat and light resistant. Since this was still sealed and stored at the very back of one of my tea cabinets away from heat and light, I noted no deterioration in the tea. I have to say that this was a very nice Earl Grey, and fortunately, I did not find it to be too heavy on the bergamot oil.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped one teaspoon of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted a powerful bergamot aroma underscored by subtle hints of malt and toast. After infusion, the bergamot was still front and center, but I could detect more pronounced malt and toast aromas coupled with traces of roasted nuts, orange peel, and caramel. In the mouth, the bergamot was particularly heavy on the entry, but the liquor soon acquired a semblance of balance due to the presence of roasted nut, caramel, malt, cream, leather, orange peel, and brown toast notes. The finish was rather powerful, as the bergamot once again reasserted itself and left a lingering citrusy tartness in the mouth and throat after the swallow.
Like most Earl Greys, this was not the most complex or nuanced blend in the world, but it did what it was designed to do. Blends like this are specifically designed for lovers of bergamot, and as this artfully showcased the aroma and flavor of bergamot, I cannot fault it much. For me, this would not be an everyday Earl Grey, but for those times when I want something a bit tarter and punchier, it would the sort of blend for which I would reach.
Flavors: Bergamot, Brown Toast, Caramel, Cream, Leather, Malt, Orange, Roasted nuts