Monday, June 9, 2014

Review #41 - Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey (bagged)

I'll admit it, now that the weather has turned really nice I've been spending alot of time outside which has delayed my reviews. Funny thing though, while over a friends, they wanted to try one of the teas I had reviewed and instead of finding one I had reviewed, I found this one. Funny how that works out huh? Onto the review.


With many of the teas I review, in order to fully enjoy the aroma it requires you to take a decent inhale. That is not the case with this tea. From the minute you rip open one of the individually wrapped tea bags you are overwhelmed with the smell of bergamot. To give you an idea just how strong an aroma this tea has, even after taking the tea bag out, the remaining wrapper was still stronger in the aroma department then half the teas I've reviewed. There is only one problem with all that aroma. You can't smell the tea.  When Stash says Double, they meant Double. This is by far the most bergamot fragrant tea I have ever tasted; period. Now that I've told you about the aroma lets cover what's inside and the packaging.

As stated above each bag is wrapped and nicely sealed. I know they are sealed because there is no hint of anything until you rip the bag open. When you do open a bag up you'll find no staples what so ever which is great to see. On the topic of ingredients, here it is, straight from the Stash site:

Ingredients: blended black teas, bergamot extract

Personally I'd like to know a bit more about their "premium blend of black teas" but I understand company secrets are exactly that. I did have to laugh at some of the writing on their box. It states "The bergamot imparts a light citrus note" which I totally disagree with. There is nothing "light" about this tea.  The bergamot imparts a lot of both flavor and aroma.

Steeping Method

Directly from the Stash site:

Steeping Instructions: 3-5 minutes at 190-209 degrees Fahrenheit

All the bases were covered so that's what I did.

The Results

Being who I am I went straight for the 4 minute steep time and to be honest I shouldn't have been
Pictures shows how dark re-steep is
surprised by the cup I got. The color was very dark and the amount of aroma coming out of the cup was overwhelming. At full temperature I got more bergamot then I have ever tasted before. I allowed the tea to cool a bit and the bergamot kept coming. The flavor had a bit more sweetness to it but to be perfectly honest, I really couldn't taste any of the black tea. In the past I have used wine to help describe how some Earl Greys can be lighter or darker yet still be Earl Grey. I don't think I'll be doing that today.

I then paused, took a step back and tried the 5 minute steep time.  If I thought the 4 minute time was heavy on the Bergamot side, this time cemented my feelings with this tea. In the past I've talked about balance and how the tea and bergamot working together can create a good cup of tea.  I don't think Stash was going for balance when they made this tea. In my totally uninformed,  completely made up opinion, Stash decided it was sick and tired of people complaining how their Earl Grey didn't contain enough bergamot. I can see the board room now as one of their top tea blenders stands to address the others. The blender states how they have every intention of adding X amount of bergamot to their next Earl Grey blend which is met with gasps of "You can't do that!" Seriously, at the 5minute mark the color was even darker, there was -more- aroma and there was even ---more-- bergamot flavor. I've used the word before so I'll use it again, it was overwhelming.

I then decided it was time to try the 3minute steep time in hopes of taming this Double bergamot infused Earl Grey beast. Thankfully this time provided a bit more balance but you had to work for it. The aroma was still as strong as when you first open the wrapper but in this case you could actually pick up on the black tea. It wasn't much but it was there. When I let the tea cool a bit, the sweetness actually allowed some of the black tea flavor to come through.

This is going to sound strange coming from me but for this tea, I enjoyed the 3 minute time the most given it had a better balance.


Even though this tea over powered me, the fact that it comes in bags needs to be kept in mind. While testing the re-steep I was expecting tons of flavor in the re-steeps but failed to obtain what I thought might happen. I obviously was wrong and needed the logic and facts to take over. If you like the 4 -5 minute steep times, forget re-steeping. But if you are like me and enjoyed the 3 minute time, you are in luck. The second steep isn't bad if you go 3 minutes on the first and 4 minutes with the second.

Final Thoughts

So what am I going to use to help describe this tea? Hot Sauce. Some sauces bring the heat but don't do it at the expense of flavor. Then there are the sauces that are just so hot that unless you are an avid chile head, all you'll get is the overwhelming heat. That's how I felt while drinking this tea. If you love bergamot, then this is your tea. Put your timer to 5 minutes and be ready to get all the bergamot you can handle. But if you like a bit more balance, then crank down on the steep times and you should be ok. If you are the type of person who never really liked Earl Grey because you found other brands too sweet, then to use a famous catch phrase.... "This is not the tea you are looking for."