Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturdays #54 & 55 -British Black Tea Blends
Since this is the last Saturday before Christmas, and the next-to-last Saturday in my year of tea tastings, I thought it would be appropriate to sip out of a Santa mug this week!
Category: British Black Tea Blends
Purveyor: Harney and Sons
Dry leaf appearance: Smallish pieces of broken tea leaf, with the Earl Grey a bit darker in appearance than the English Breakfast.
Wet leaf appearance: Both these teas had that wet mulch look.
Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 212 degrees, 4-1/2 minutes (because I'm not one who likes my tea too strong).
Scent: Dry: Earl Grey's famous bergamot scent is unmistakable. The English Breakfast smelled like strong black tea but with a hint of that "woodshop" scent I've been detecting in recent weeks. Wet: Earl Grey had the classic and lovely Earl Grey scent. The English Breakfast had a pleasant, if somewhat strong, black tea scent.
Color: Medium brown.
Flavor: While I liked the English Breakfast blend just fine, Earl Grey will always be one of my favorites. That bergamot flavor is one I love in tea, in cookies (made with Earl Grey tea leaves), whatever. Occasionally I get weary of Earl Grey and then "rediscover" it, always happy to realize that a good Earl Grey never disappoints.
Additional notes: Of the English Breakfast, Michael Harney says it "was designed as a simple tea for the average middle-class citizen to start the day." He notes that Earl Grey is one of the best-known teas in the West and says it is "a gateway tea for novice palates." I *love* that particular description because Earl Grey was definitely "a gateway tea" for my own enjoyment of this beverage!
Next week's teas: Puerhs