Another sample from Elmstock. I told you they were generous.
I went into this basically expecting not to like it, which should surprise no one given how I felt about the last smokey Earl Grey. This tea is black tea blended with Lapsang Souchang, and bergamot. When dry, I could smell bergamot along with the bergamot.
4 min steeping as suggested, and no sugar as also suggested in the information about the tea. Once steeped, the smoke was much more obvious than bergamot. In fact, it was so smokey that I could not drink it… and tipped it down the sink. I’m sure that someone who likes Russian Caravan or similar would really like this, but that person is not me.
Kappy sent me a few samples, which was super generous. One of those was their Ceylon Earl Grey.
This has a very rich bergamot scent when dry – it’s very pleasant! 3 min steeping and 1/2tsp sugar, it’s not quite as strong when steeped.
It’s a nice tea, although it’s not going to be one of my favourites. It’s a bit more on the savoury side than I had expected from the scent.
Another gift from Gill! Although this one is not from Fortnum and Mason, but from Dammann Freres, in Paris. SO very fancy. She had many options and went with the Kerala. The website calls it “Bergamot and neroli mingled with a Kerala tea : a highly original combination.” Dry, it smells nice enough, although not very strong.
At first I went with 3 min steeping, but didn’t think it was especially flavourful. So I tried it again at 4 min steeping, which was better. (1/2 tsp sugar both times.)
I don’t know what neroli is meant to taste like; I couldn’t taste anything especially different or interesting along with the bergamot. It’s ok as a tea, but not especially exciting as an earl grey. It’s not overly savoury, nor spicy, and certainly not floral.
I don’t remember where I got hold of this; it might have been at the tea festival some time ago. I like the packaging a lot – Impala and Peacock use similar cardboard tubes and I really like them. So, go Endeavour for that.
4 min steeping as recommended, 1/2tsp sugar. This is one of those earl greys with cornflowers so if that offends, definitely avoid it. Which would be a shame, because this is quite a nice tea. I found the 4 min steeping was a little bitter for me, so I made another cup and brewed it for 3 min, which was much more to my tastes. When brewed that bit shorter, this became a tea that’s high up my list. Very nice indeed.
I had a feeling that where the Smokey and the Green were not my thing, this would be more up my alley, and I was exactly right. This is a variation on Lady Grey, which I have always loved.
It’s a lovely-looking tea, with flecks of colour. It smells wonderfully orange, with maybe a touch of lemon in there too (except not, according to the F&M notes).
3 min steeping, 1/2 tsp sugar. Smells as good when steeped as it does when dry. The citrus notes are strong but not overwhelming. In all this is truly a splendid tea and if I had easy access to it I would be buying more! I could easily drink this most days.
Another Fortnum and Mason from Gill, which again we tried together, as a small pot of tea.
When dry, it smelled very bergamot. When steeped, it smelled much more green and the bergamot was quite reduced, although still just present.
In the end, this is a green tea, and I just don’t love green tea. I drank my cup but I didn’t love it. I imagine that for someone who likes both bergamot and green, this might be quite welcome as a brew.
It’s fun when friends get into the act. When Gill sent to the UK, she went earl grey shopping. She discovered that Fortnum and Mason have a very wide range of loose leaf teas, and that you can get really quite small samples for very reasonable prices. So she got me a few, and we tried some of them together.
Firstly, we tried the Smokey. Gill and her husband don’t mind a smokey tea. Me, though: I would definitely rather not drink a bush fire. But I thought that trying it with bergamot would be worthwhile. So we made a small pot of tea – 2tsp; it was very smokey when dry, and very smokey when steeped. There was a bit of an orange scent but the smoke was overwhelming.
This was most certainly not my thing. I added 1/2tsp sugar which cut through the smoke somewhat but it didn’t bring out any more of the bergamot. Interestingly, Gill also didn’t enjoy it.
The packets look a bit like this: