Monday, December 5, 2011

Empire Tea Services Earl Green

I just recently started this blog and am still in the process of moving my comments here from an older website and Steepster. As such I am several months behind, which works out great as I get to combine several tasting notes together for this review.

A wonderful blend of Emperor’s pride leaf & whole bud green tea from China with bergamot and orange peel. The dry leaf smells of bergamot and tea. The leaf varies from tannish to dark brown. There are bits of orange peel in the blend. According to Empire Tea Service’s website this is good for multiple steeps. I used 1tsp of leaf – approx 2g and I use sweetener. My mug holds 12 ounces.

First steep – 3minutes. The leaves did not appear to have completely opened but this is a full leaf tea. The clarity of the brew is amazingly crystal clear with only a mild amber color. I thought maybe I had not used enough tea or needed to steep longer. Tasting says otherwise. The bergamot is more flowery than citrus and very strong. I couldn’t separate the orange from the bergamot in this or any of the subsequent steeps.

Second steep – 4 minutes. The leaves have opened all the way. The brew is still crystal clear and very light in color. Bergamot still strong.
Third steep – 4 minutes. Starting to taste tea. Bergamot is less intense. This is the best cup so far. A little sediment in the bottom of the cup.
Fourth steep – 4 minutes. Surprised how much the flavor is still present.
Fifth steep – 5 minutes. Very light color. Still flavorful.

Empire tea says 1 tsp will make six cups. They probably mean 6 or 8 ounces per cup but I am using 12. Even so, I am fully convinced this would go another steep but my bladder is not up to the task.

I bought this tea at Empire Tea Service’s warehouse. It had just been blended. As I stated the bergamot was very strong. I learned a valuable lesson in the weeks following my initial tasting, that was confirmed by the writing of another reviewer. This person wrote they avoided flavored teas until they have been out a few weeks so the flavorings have time to soak into the leaf.

At first, the bergamot seemed overwhelming. To tame it I was cutting this tea with my Ti Kuan Yin. The intensity of the bergamot has since balanced so this is no longer necessary. I did learn to appreciate the Ti Kuan Yin (also Empire Tea Services) from this experience and was really glad when I could start enjoying it solo.

Now that the Earl Green has had time to settle, the emperors pride leaf is more pronounced (and delicious) and I realize it is in part responsible for the perfume notes. This is a more flowery bergamot more than it is citrus, even though there is orange rind in the mix. With a little age on the batch this has become a very good tea and a good cup of tea is like a hug on a crappy day. I sometimes need at least three cups.

One of my favorite teas. Earl Grey was my favorite tea for years until I discovered Earl Green. Empire Tea Services is my current favorite. Find Empire Tea Services here.

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