A more recent addition to the high quality unflavored loose leaf tea products produced by Satemwa Tea Estate near Thyolo, Malawi, are the flavored or herbal tea blends known as the “Fusion” products. I recently received three of the Fusion products, including the Green Earl Grey (723), which is the focus of today’s review.
To learn more about Satemwa Tea Estate, please click here to be taken to the informational page on The Tea Journeyman Shop website. The Satemwa Antlers White Tea and Bvumbwe Peony White Tea are currently offered at the Tea Journeyman Shop, so please check these products out! They are the best selling teas on the website for a reason. You can find a link to The Tea Journeyman Shop website on the menu bar at the top of this page.
The sample packet has been opened, and there is definitely a unique aroma to this Green Earl Grey. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves are mostly very dark forest green, with a few being a lighter shade of green. There are also a few blue cornflowers and citrus peel pieces in the mix. The leaves are medium to large fragments, and are lightly rolled. The leaves are light and crispy, so they crack easily but do not crumble. No buds are immediately visible, and there are a few stems in the mix. The aroma is dominated by scents of bergamot and lemon, with perhaps a light touch of vanilla. If enough effort is put in to smelling the dry leaves, the natural aroma of the tea leaves can be felt, giving faint earth and grass scents.
Twelve grams of dry leaves were placed in a twenty-four ounce (700 ml) ceramic teapot. Purified water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for 2:00 minutes. I suggest using these same parameters for at home preparation. Use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Expect three infusions out of the same serving of leaves. The bergamot and citrus flavoring will diminish significantly after the first infusion, but the natural character of the tea leaves will be more noticeable.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright greenish-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has dominant scents of bergamot and citrus, with lighter scents of vanilla, grass, and earth. The body is light-medium, with a smooth, gentle texture. The taste is also dominated by notes of bergamot and citrus, with lighter notes of grass, earth, and vanilla. The aftertaste is sweet and citrusy.
The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. Leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, but an occasional whole leaf can be found in the mix. There are some stems, most of which display a two leaf and small bud pluck. There are a few small buds in the mix. The leaves have a soft, velvety texture. The aroma is dominated by scents of bergamot, citrus, with lighter scents of vanilla and fresh grass.
The Green Earl Grey from Satemwa Tea Estate is nicely balanced in the cup, with dominant, but not overwhelming scents and tastes of bergamot and citrus. I personally enjoyed the second infusion the best, as more of the natural character of the green tea became evident, while enough of the bergamot/citrus flavoring remained to create a very nice blend. The tea leaves themselves are of good quality, and appear to be the Zomba Steamed TSFOP Green Tea from Satemwa. Although I have not had many Earl Grey style green teas, so my basis for comparison is limited, I certainly do recommend giving the Green Earl Grey from Satemwa Tea Estate a try. Good balance of scents and tastes, good quality tea leaves used, and it comes from an estate that produces some of my favorite teas, those are three good reasons to try this tea.
Thank you to Ross at Finlays Tea for providing this sample! Cheers!