Saturday, August 10, 2013
Empire Tea Services, Earl Grey Supreme
A blend of Ceylon teas, Bergamot flavoring and Orange peel. Outstanding!
If you have been reading this blog for long, you know I love Earl Grey. I also love Empire Tea Services. They were my introduction to quality loose leaf tea. My wife and I have tried several of their teas, including three Earl Grey varieties - Green, White and De La Creme. Some how I have never gotten around to Earl Grey Supreme, until today.
This is one of their micro-blend teas, which means it is blended 10 pounds or less at a time. It is fine cut CTC leaf with visible pieces of orange peel. The picture represents this well, except it can't give you that wonderful aroma of bergamot and orange that is trademark to Empire's Earl Greys. For the uninitiated it is quite strong. If you only like a touch of bergamot in your cup, just move along as this is not for you.
I used about 3g of leaf steeped in my press with boiling water for about 3 minutes. The result is a pleasingly dark cup of bergamot scented bliss.
The sip bergamot and orange. Not overwhelming (by my standard) but very intense. The Ceylon is hiding in the background. It pops out of hiding more as the cup cools. This is not the least bitter but it is a touch drying. I added Splenda and it is almost too sweet even for my sweet tooth. Note to self - hold the sweetener! One thing I have learned with Empire's micro-blend line is this will mellow out as the leaf ages a few weeks. I recall when I first tried their Earl Green, I mixed it with another unflavored tea for a while to tone it down until it aged. Another thing I have learned is their teas re-steep well.
Cup two was steeped around 3 1/2 minutes. I didn't really time it. The brew is deep red. Very pretty. The sip is still bergamot and orange but there is a peppery quality about it. I can feel it on the sides of my tongue. The Ceylon base is more obvious in this cup and it is very smooth. No bitterness, slightly drying. This is classic Empire Tea Services Earl Grey.
Cup three (yep, from a CTC Ceylon!) is lighter and reminds me of Twinings at this point. Well, except the base tea is better. I sipped part of the cup, then added ice and enjoyed a chilled bit of refreshment. Iced Earl is quite delicious.
This is a tea for bergamot lovers. By adding the orange bits it does take it of center just a bit. Sometimes when a company messes with my earl, by adding things to it, I get a little bent out of shape. Here it still remains faithful enough to the original that I enjoy the change.
Empire Tea Services lists this tea on their Tea Temptations web site.