Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: New Mexico Tea Company
An interesting twist on the traditional Earl Grey, this tea is made with Chinese Lapsang Souchong to add a savory smoothness to the citrus notes of Bergamot. Best in the afternoon, and suggested without milk.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ve tasted many variations on the classic Earl Grey tea, but, of the many different takes on the favorite, I can’t recall having a Smoky Earl Grey Tea like this one from New Mexico Tea Company. I may have had one or two other smoky Earl Grey teas with a strong smoky essence like this tea possesses … but they were apparently not very memorable because they’re not coming to mind at the moment.
But this Smoky Earl Grey is memorable. As I’ve attested in the past, I’m not a big fan of the smoky teas … and I used to shy away from Lapsang Souchong tea because the smoky quality tends to be a bit too much for me. I have since learned better ways of infusing a smoky tea, and this has lead me to have a more enjoyable experience with the heavily smoked teas. And I am glad that I’m able to bring that brewing knowledge to the teapot for this Smoky Earl Grey, because I’m really liking the result. It is indeed smoky, but, the smoke does not interfere with the tangy/sweet quality of the bergamot. Instead, they intermingle quite nicely … and create a rather unique, delicious flavor that I’m enjoying quite a bit.
The key is to “reawaken” the leaves … or do a pre-rinse of the leaves when you steep a Lapsang Souchong. Pour just under boiling water on the leaves, allow them to infuse for 15 seconds, and then strain the leaves and they’re ready to brew! I then brewed the leaves for 3 minutes. This produced a flavorful cup that is smoky … but not overwhelmingly so. The level of smoke does not overpower the flavor of the bergamot. The bergamot tastes sweeter in the presence of the smoky characteristics of the tea … I notice more of the sweeter notes of the citrus fruit than I might experience with a traditional Earl Grey.
A very enjoyable cuppa – if you’re a fan of Earl Grey … you should try this interesting twist on the classic!