A “better than bagged” Earl Grey offering.
This tea comes in the square Twinings tea mentioned in detail in the first review of Twinings brand. (You can read all about it in “Twining English Breakfast Tea” review.) Apart from the structure the tin’s primary color is a light yellow & cream. The middle of the tin is overlaid with a repeating pattern of western tea icons. A motif of cake plates, saucer, orange slices, tea leafs. The colors combine well with the gold speckle paint of the lid and base of the tin. The font face is easy to read in a mocha brown color. A nice tea tin.
A large portion of the leafs have breaks or tears. This tells me this tea is lower quality with not much attention paid to the nuances of the leaf. The good news there is little tea dust inside the tin. An attempt to maintain some quality. An abundance of tea dust will create bitterness which interfere with the desired bergamot flavor.
I am suspecting the tea to have a strong initial flavor and an even gibber drop off in taste after the first few brews. Using 5g of leaf in 100C water and brewing for 30 seconds the immediate sensation is bergamot. Bergamot. The color is a yellow/orange more natural than found in the other Twining tins. There is no sight of “white down” in the cup. Nor is there much tea dust. Both giving an sign this is a medium quality tea.
The second cup expands the flavors to include black tea leaf, tea oil, smoky wheat and a hint of mint. The bergamot is more controlled with no sign of bitterness. The mouthfeel is light at this point and it imparts a light astringent effect. Not at all unpleasant. The color is deep orange.
The third brew loses much of its intensity. The color turns to ripe orange and I get the impression the tea is out of energy. Bergamot is secondary to the leaf flavor. There is nothing new beyond those two flavors. Bitterness has crept into the cup but the mouthfeel remains light and pleasant. The way in which the flavors came strong and quick hints at the intended brew method. This tea is suited for a western style brew. (A long brew time, only one usable brew.) The first brew is discarded and new leafs prepared. This is unlike a Chinese brew. A method where a shorter brew time will produce nuanced increase the number of usable brews.
As mentioned in the “taste” section the first brew is intensely bergamot. So much that it is hard to detect any other aromas during the first brew. During the second brew bergamot transitions to a more mellow note. There are hints of mint on the high end, heavy leaf in the middle and dried wheat rounds out the profile. The third brew has no new offerings and the bergamot pervades each note.
Compared with most Earl Grey this is an improvement. Earl Grey in tea bags will be bitter and astringent with a smell of orange oil. But this tin is rich and complex in its tastes. Lemon or honey could add a perk but I think milk will mask most of the tea taste. Blending it with other red teas would only result in little more than bergamot introduced to the brew. It’s a nice tea for mid morning or afternoon but it lacks the character to be an everyday brew.