Twinning Earl Grey
An article about twinning Earl Grey by Man O Tea.
Ah, my tea of choice... Twinings Earl Grey. It seems that no
matter what new-fangled tea I try, or whatever brief infatuations I may
have with one or another flavors, I always come back to this most
favorite of teas. There is something about the aroma of bergamot oil
that gets my juices flowing. (I've actually long-harbored a secret
desire to wear bergamot-scented cologne... if anyone happens to know a
brand, hook me up!)
I've tried many, many Earl Grey teas - generic, famous, cheap and
expensive alike - but to date I've yet to find one that's as nicely
blended as Twinings. Working with bergamot is apparently more difficult
than it seems.
Most Earl Greys smell roughly the same, heavily scented with that
flowery, fruity aroma we all know and love. (There truly are few joys
in this world that can compare to stuffing one's nose into a
freshly-opened tin of Earl Grey and inhaling deeply for fifteen
seconds). But Earl Grey is one of those complex teas that smells
entirely different from how it tastes. You rarely taste bergamot -
instead I've found many Earl Greys have a decidedly smoky, robust
flavor which is completely at odds with the lighty and fruity taste
promised by its odor. This has always perplexed me. I don't
particularly mind smoky teas, but in an Earl Grey its completely
wrong... its like inhaling tobacco smoke in the middle of the
Nordstrom's perfume department.
That wonderful aroma of bergamot promises something much more, and once
I've got it in my nostrils I want to taste something that compliments
the experience. This Twinings does very well. You can taste just the
slightest hint of that fruity flavor, really just a tiny, tiny amount,
but its there all the same and enough to satisfy. The tea goes down
smooth, with little or no aftertaste or bitterness. Not smoky, not
overly robust, just a light tea with the perfect little dab of bergamot.
Of course, there is such a thing as too much bergamot. Adagio's Earl
Grey immediately springs to mind. Drinking that stuff is akin to
downing a cup of heavily-scented liquid soap.
The only problem I've ever had with Twinings is consistency. Every now
and again I get a box or a tin which lacks that special something...
usually its a bit smokier and less flavorful. Ever since Twinings
started individually sealing its teabags that's happened a lot less,
though interestingly enough (especially for those
"only-loose-tea-for-me" snobs) I've found the Twinings loose-leaf tins
to be quite less thrilling than the bagged variety.
Twinning Earl Grey to Chinese Green Tea Main Page
reviews various brands and blends at Tea Reviews. You can visit him at