My saga of Earl Grey love continues with Whispering Pines Tea's Wild Grey. Knowing Whsipering Pines Tea, they strive to add their own touch of the wild to whatever they blend, and their Wild Grey is no exception. They very specifically selected a wildcrafted (click here for more information on this practice) Dian Hong black tea to form the base. Dian Hong tends toward cocoa and spicy, peppery notes in its flavor profile, an ideal selection for combining with the other main ingredient in Earl Grey: bergamot oil. Brenden of Whispering Pines describes Wild Grey as "very lightly flavored," which should allow the underlying Dian Hong notes to shine through the bergamot. Time to steep and find out!
After boiling some fresh water, I steeped one teaspoon of Wild Grey in eight ounces of water for three minutes. Delighted, I read on Whispering Pines' website that a second steep is recommended! While awaiting my tea, I smelled the dry leaves in the bag and was immediately struck by the intensity of the bergamot. It cuts right through any "noise" and straight to the nostrils with an almost-stinging, but ultimately sweet, aroma of citrus. Fascinated, I continued sniffing and realized that I could already smell the Dian Hong, almost inseparable from the bergamot aromas. The bergamot had this halo of earthy cocoa on its edges - what excellent blending!
My cup of tea ready to drink, I breathed-in its aroma and sipped slowly. At first, I thought I had the wrong cup of tea. The initial aroma from the cup was that of a deep, cocoa-noted black tea - not Earl Grey. My sip slid over my tongue and was swallowed before I stopped to think about the flavor. It really was quite light on the bergamot. The bergamot was present, but it did not take the forefront as it does in many Earl Grey blends. Rather, the citrus notes sat back and complemented the base black tea. They also made an appearance in the aftertaste, which I found interesting, as they hung-on in the back of the throat for some time.
By no means should Wild Grey be underestimated. The cup brewed here is not your typical Earl Grey blend. Rather than focusing on the bergamot, it instead frames the underlying black tea, the Dian Hong, as the hero of this cup, putting it forth and elevating it for the pleasure of the drinker. Alongside this Dian Hong comes bergamot oil to provide some citrus without being overbearing - just the right amount. If bergamot in Earl Grey tends to be too overwhelming for you, or you just want less of it, I highly recommend Wild Grey. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 5.
Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Whispering Pines Tea's Wild Grey black tea is available from their website, here.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.