The moment I opened the tin, the fragrance of bergamot filled the air around me. The aroma of this tea is very strong, lively and beautiful – and very Earl Grey! The raspberry scent is not as apparent in the dry leaves; however, you can detect the raspberry once the tea has been brewed.
And the flavor! The tea used in this blend is a very brisk tea, with no indication of bitterness. The bergamot is rich and flavorful, and the raspberry adds a certain sweetness to the tart citrus-y bergamot. Raspberry and Bergamot seem to be a perfect pairing, as evidenced in this tea.
And what is bergamot, exactly? As a tea artist, it’s something I’m asked on occasion. Bergamot is a fruit, more specifically, it’s a variety of orange that doesn’t look like an orange at all, but more like a lime or perhaps even a green pear. It is grown primarily in Italy, but is also grown in Brazil (although, the Italian grown fruit is the most prized). The bergamot orange is a highly fragrant fruit, and the oil extracted from the peel is often used in perfume, as well as in aromatherapy. For those of us who flavor tea, we use the essence that is extracted from the fruit to provide the unique flavor of Earl Grey.
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea describes their Raspberry Earl as…
The floral aroma of juicy raspberries is perhaps the perfect complement to the sweet citrus and full-bodied flavor of Earl Grey. This more exceptional version of this classic tea is artisan hand-crafted in small batches and infused with only top-grade essential oils of real fruit to brew a sweet, succulent cup.
Ingredients: Ceylon & Indian Black tea, with Italian Bergamot, Freeze-Dried Raspberries & organic Raspberry flavor.
This tea is also quite delightful chilled. The bergamot becomes a bit more mellow as the tea cools, and you can taste more of the raspberry flavor. As with all flavored teas, a small amount of sweetener does help to bring out some of the more subdued flavors in this blend, and helps the raspberry flavors shine through, which may otherwise be masked by the very strong bergamot.
Overall, this is a very beautiful variety of Earl Grey tea: the flavor is exquisite, not overwhelmingly sweet (which is often the case with berry blends) and not at all perfume-y in flavor (which is sometimes the case with Earl Grey blends), but instead offers a very interesting balance of pungent bergamot, bold tea, and a hint of sweet fruit. Delicious!