Yakushima "Earl Grey"
Yakushima Island, Japan
This is one of five teas I sourced from my journey to Yakushima Island in January 2023.
“Earl Grey,” perhaps the most widely recognized tea in the Western world, has come to refer to any black tea scented or combined with citrus oil – most often, that of bergamot. This tea, that the cultivars named Earl Grey, is a special and highly localized take on this popular combination of tea and citrus, and the only Earl Grey that Cultivate will carry.
Yakushima Island is famous for the range of fascinating varieties of oranges and pomelos that grow there. When I visited in January, it was the peak season of ponkan and taikan. Having been completely enchanted by the qualities of these fruits, I was excited to see an Earl Grey made entirely of what grows on Yakushima.
The tea used to make it is Benifuuki black tea, and it is scented with essential oil naturally extracted from the citrus fruit, bergamot. Bergamot is originally from the Mediterranean, but grows in the subtropical climate of Yakushima with ease.
The result of this combination is a delicious and refreshing Earl Grey: refreshing in that it is uplifting, and also that it resets our impression of what an Earl Grey can be like. It brews a dark amber colour and carries a well-balanced, full-bodied with smooth mouthfeel. The bergamot oil blends so well the tannins of the Benifuuki tea, neither overpowers the other, and after a few sips one lets go of trying to taste them apart. Together, their complementary qualities emulsify to yield a sweet, bright, and naturally creamy tea.
Net weight 100g
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|10 sec - 90 sec
|No. of infusions