Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tea Tuesdays: Earl Grey White Teas

I seem to recall repeating my defence a couple of times now for flavoured teas, but then I've gone and promptly described only a few pure teas and tea blends (while I admit that there is supposed to be a jasmine note in Body  + Mind, I really can't taste it, and so it doesn't count).

This time I wanted to come forward and talk about a tea that really is flavoured, though I'll admit it's not like it's flavoured with pomegranate or some other strong fruit note. It's actually an Earl Grey White... that's right, white tea with bergamot. Most people I know don't even realize that Earl Grey is blended with something. All they know is that it smells a bit like a popular breakfast cereal. Now you know!

Now, most of you seem to know me in person, but for those who don't, I tend to drink a lot of earl grey. Or at least I used to. Working at Teavana with 98 teas to blend and sample at my leisure I tend not to drink too much of any one tea anymore, except for a few favourites that managed to make the journey home with me.

Earl Grey teas are named, appropriately, for the 2nd Earl Grey, who was British Prime Minister in his day and who received a gift of black tea flavoured with the oil of the bergamot orange... which is a part of the reason for the insinuation that one does not simply add milk to a cup of Earl Grey tea. Lemon is preferred, where available, and I've even gone so far as to add lemon herbal teas to my Earl Grey (in small amounts) to get the same flavour.

Anyway, the particular Earl Grey White I have been drinking was Teavana's, but undoubtably countless other tea sellers will have their own white-tea formulation of the classic blend. It is crisp and clear, and does not want for the dryness of a black-leaf Earl Grey. It's a staple of my tea shelf and won't likely be leaving it any time soon... not even to be replaced by Phoenix Mountain Dan Cong.

Full disclosure time: I am a paid employee of Teavana Corporation in Canada, though I am not compensated in any way for reviewing their teas.  As a general rule, I feel that the more that is said about tea, the more widely accepted tea will be in the future, and the easier it will be for those of us not living in India, China, or Japan to get high-quality teas.

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