Historically, I have liked but not loved traditional Earl Grey, finding it less flavor-full than most of the black teas I favor. I impulsively tried Blue Earl Grey on a cold winter morning at Dawson Taylor’s a week ago however, and fell in love from the first sip. I like Earl Grey’s for the morning: most of the actual breakfast teas – see TheKitchn’s guide to the difference between English, Irish, and Scottish breakfast teas – tend to be malty and rich instead of slightly bitter as I prefer. Blue Earl Grey in particular has really hit my palate preference, being full-bodied and very strong with a resonant flavor and just a distant hint of sweetness. My love for Lavender Orange Earl Grey is well-documented (a slightly more milky/malty flavor), but overall I prefer this as my favorite of the Greys (who else immediately imagines “the Greys” as an aristocratic British family of teas?). You can order all sorts of Blue Earl Grey online ( would probably recommend this), or find it at Dawson Taylor’s if you live in the Northwest.
well-known little-known fact around these parts that I love tea.
Lupicia, which I believe started in Japan and how has branches in multiple countries (only a handful in the U.S.), is my favorite tea source; I am subscribed to their monthly mini tea magazine which also includes a sample from their latest collections. Three of these tea samples that I’ve tried are the Caramel and Rum, Jasmine Mandarin, and Calcutta.
Caramel and Rum – now, you’d assume from the title of this that it would be divine. And it smells delicious, very like caramel. And perhaps it would please someone with a different palette than mine – but I like my tea bold and flavorful, and this is very, very sweet. It’s a roobios and I haven’t had any luck with roobios in the past, I find them far too rich. This tastes very much like weak eggnog, only of course not as satisfying because well, it’s not eggnog. I can’t say I recommend it. If you’re the sort of tea-drinker who loves to load up your tea with lots of sugar and cream, however, this may be exactly what you’re looking for.
I do not like this tea at all. I bought an entire box of it at the co-op nearby and now all I can think of is how I’m going to get rid of it/actually drink it all. I love breakfast tea, and after trying a truly divine black tea called China Black at a nearby coffeeshop, I looking for something at the store that might taste similar. This is described as a “full-bodied Yunnan black tea,” which to me meant it would be strong and richly-flavored. Alas, I didn’t read the Cliffnotes, which is that this tea has a “malty” flavor with “floral” notes. I’ve never liked floral after-notes, or herbal, for that matter, preferring fruity if I must have something.
Even if I did however, what “malty” ended up meaning is this tea is fairly bland but with a bitter aftertaste – not the delicious, rich bitterness of coffee or high-quality tea but the whiny, complaining, left-too-long-in-the-sun bitterness of well, old tea. It’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but it’s not exactly a pleasant experience drinking it. Avoid.
What other Numi teas have you tried? What’s your favorite black tea?