About This Tea
Ingredients: Cornish Grown Tea, Smoked Assam, Bergamot and Manuka Flowers.
Tregothnan is one of those tea companies that are so bewildering to me, managing to successfully marry a unique signature trait (manuka flowers) with luxury, in a with a seemingly minimalist effortlessness. Seriously, if Tregothnan has not yet hit your radar, then you have been both missing out... and living under a rock. More importantly though... you're in for a treat!
Tregothnan is a living and working Cornish estate, home to; the largest botanical gardens in Cornwall, holiday cottages, manuka and wildflower honeys, jam, sustainably coppiced charcoal and finally, tea. That’s right, British grown tea!
This tea in particular is a special blend, created in partnership with Chef Raymond Blanc for Eurostar Business Premier, and draws upon the natural resources available on the Tregothnan estate. The Assam is smoked, using the estates sustainable wood and manuka woodchips, then blended with the plantations own tea, bergamot oil and manuka flowers, which are grown right next to their tea bushes! <-- Click to learn more about Tregothnan Tea!
The teabags emit a classic earl grey perfume of bergamot, which is fairly strong and, obviously, beautiful. As they steep, the aroma becomes instantly rich, with notes of sweet honey.
Unfortunately, there were no steeping instructions with the sample, nor any listed on the website. Part of me finds this upsetting, perhaps because I like to brew to supplier specifications first, and then adjust to my preference, if needed. Silly... I know! So instead, I used my tea drinker "experience" (making an earl grey isn't rocket science, right?) and brewed to my preference. I don't like strong black tea, so I steeped the silky pyramids for 2.5 minutes at 95°C.
The result was beautiful! When first taking a sip, it's quickly apparent that the honey notes really dominate the bergamot, perhaps not ideal in an earl grey, but tasty all the same. There’s also a beautiful malt flavour and slight smokiness (which I love!), but I really thought this particular note would be stronger, because of the emphasis on it being a smoked earl grey. Finally, the Assam seemed much smoother, with a heavily reduced astringency in the finish; compared to other Assam I've tasted, again really enjoyable.
All the combined notes in this tea create a really rich and complicated type of earl grey. Whilst the bergamot is blindingly obvious in the dried aroma, there's less to be found in the steeped cup. I'd have liked to have tasted more of this, with an added punch of smoke, and dare I say it, less of the signature Tregothnan manuka. But, let's bare in mind that's just what I want, judging the tea on what it actually is, I still can't say that I'm disappointed. The tea is absolutely beautiful; the flavours are subtle, but spectacular. Some earl greys are bold and boastful, but the Tregothnan blend is eloquent and graceful.