Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nina's Teas USA, Earl Grey

Nina's Teas USA Description:

Bergamot from Sicily 
The smoothness of Keemun together with the freshness of bergamot. An ancient recipe that was handed down by a high dignitary of China to Earl Charles Grey. A classic that definitely shouldn't be missed.

Sample provided by Laurent at Nina’s Paris Tea Store USA.

My Review:
Nina's Paris has been around for over 300 years. Just recently they have begun to sell tea in America. You can find at least some of the offerings on Amazon. They also plan to open an ecommerce webstore at ninasteastore.

I received this as a total surprise! I am one blessed tea drinker. The picture does the leaf justice. What it can't give you is the heavenly aroma of the bergamot. I am a sucker for bergamot. Earl Grey just happens to be my weakness. It also is the one type of tea where I know exactly what I like. I can be hard on companies that tamper with the classic. If what is in the cup is something besides tea and bergamot I expect the company to call it something besides Earl Grey. Nina's Earl Grey passes the first test. This is Earl Grey.

Most Earl Grey teas I have use Ceylon as the base. This version uses a keemun tea that makes for a very smooth base. There is no hint of smoke. There is no astringency. I steeped this for 3 minutes. I believe you could steep this 5 minutes and it still would not get bitter or astringent. The bergamot is just a touch lighter than I prefer, but just a touch. It has a wonderful aroma and pleasant taste. The cup seems very slightly creamy with the mildest hint of vanilla. It does not contain vanilla so it is just a natural part of this tea/citrus combination.

I tend to be a bit of a barbarian when it comes to my Earl Grey. I like the base tea to fight back and I like the bergamot to pack just as powerful of a punch. Nina's Earl Grey is much more refined than my usual tastes. Don't misunderstand - I definitely like it. I would love this with a fine meal or while chatting with friends. I think this blend was designed for those who dislike all the brutish qualities that appeal to me and yet demand a quality cup of Earl Grey. If you normally think Earl Grey is a big cup of 'ick' this might well appeal to your more sophisticated palette. It is nicely done.

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