Tea of the Week for February 26, 2018: Earl Grey Cupcake (Black Tea)!
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Tea Description: I've never kept it a secret that one of my all-time favorite teas is Earl Grey - I love bergamot! I haven't made (nor do I plan to make) a simple Earl Grey because I feel like there are so many out there that my contribution to the heap of Earl Grey teas that exist would not be unique - and we like to keep things unique here!
Instead, I decided to do an Earl Grey CUPCAKE tea. I started with black teas: Yunnan & Assam - with just a touch of Vietnamese Black to help round out the flavor a bit. Then I added some bergamot along with vanilla bean and some additional essence to create a cupcake-y flavor in your teacup. And since we're talking cupcakes, what cupcake would be complete without some festive sprinkles? These sprinkles are vegan, gluten-free & nut free - so no worries!
A fun way to enjoy your bergamot!
ingredients: vegan candy sprinkles (sugar, potato starch, coconut oil, maltodextrin, spirulina extract, carnauba wax)
organic ingredients: black teas, bergamot, vanilla bean & natural flavors
I have been excitedly awaiting the taste test for this tea. As I said in the above description, I love me some bergamot! Of all the classic teas out there, Earl Grey is probably my fave, so I like to experiment with it now and again. Now and then, I'll come across an Earl Grey cake recipe while browsing the web and I'm always intrigued. I haven't actually tried an Earl Grey cupcake, but I have had Earl Grey shortbread cookies and I loved it. The Earl Grey was delicate and didn't overpower the cookie but the distinct brightness of bergamot would shine through every bite.
So that was my approach with this tea - I didn't want the Earl Grey to be overpowering, I wanted it to be subtle. I wanted it to be a gentle Earl Grey with just enough bright, beautiful bergamot to shine through to let you know that the Earl was there. I wanted the creamy notes of vanilla to play the highlighting role with notes of freshly baked cake present.
And that's exactly what I'm tasting. The bergamot is distinct but it isn't so strong that the other flavors become muted. With every sip, it's clear to my palate that I'm drinking a bergamot tea - but the vanilla is well-defined and the cake-y notes come through nicely. It's a pleasant cuppa - something that I think is strong enough to be a mid-morning cup and smooth enough to be a lovely afternoon cup.
I think I'm in love!
to brew: I've played around with the leafing a little bit on this one and I found that if you go with just a little more leaf, you get a bracing cup and if you keep the leafing at just 3g or even just a little less (a leaf or two less) - it's a smoother cup although lighter in flavor. I find that the best cup was right at 3g or maybe a little more (3.2g) - but more than that, I found it to be a tad astringent.
So I recommend keeping it at 3g to 12 ounces of nearly boiling water (205°F) and let it steep for 2 1/2 minutes. Strain and allow to cool for about 10 minutes if you can (the scent of bergamot is an irresistible fragrance for me, so I'd understand if you started sipping right away - but the cool time does help the flavors to develop). I found this to be quite nice served straight. A wee bit of sugar will bring out more of the cake-like flavors while a wee splash of your favorite milk product will enhance the creaminess of the vanilla. Experiment to find the way you like it best!