Duchess Grey

Picture of Duchess Grey
Brand:Williamson Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Product page:Duchess Grey

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Reviewer pic76 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
(170 reviews) on

Inside the box, the fifty round, tagless teabags are stacked in a sealed Mylar pouch. They're not individually wrapped.

Upon opening the pouch for the first time, the citrus aroma is wonderful and intense. The teabags themselves appear to be sprayed with citrus oil (presumably bergamot, but it smells a bit sweeter than bergamot normally does to me) as they're distinctly a pale orange color (I added a picture of the Duchess Grey teabag next to a teabag of Williamson Tea English Breakfast). Since that's not possible with a loose tea, I'd be curious to compare this with the same flavor of loose tea. The tea itself is granules of CTC black tea.

Everything about this tea is intense. Once brewing starts, the aromas of the citrus and base tea are both powerful. The marketing copy for this tea claims that it's "more fruity" than their regular Early Grey. I don't have any to compare with, but the citrus definitely has more of a sweet orange character than is typical of Earl Greys. The tea itself smells malty and rich.

The flavor has a very dominant bitterness that is complemented, but not diminished by the strong citrus fruitiness that even adds its own bitterness from the bergamot. The tea has strong notes of dry pine wood and needles, like a dusty conifer forest. The fruit tastes like a blend of bergamot and sweet orange, though the package only lists bergamot oil. The finish is malty with the faint sweetness of molasses and maybe cooked apricots.

Though I marked the flavor as 4/5, I rounded up from something closer to a 3.5. This tea is more complex than most CTC teas, but that production method amplifies bitterness in tea and Kenyan teas are typically bitter to start with. It's good and has become one of my favorite Earl Greys, but anyone that doesn't positively enjoy bitterness in tea will probably not like it very much.

I found this in a US shop for $5, which is only a little more expensive than the £3.05 price on Williamson Tea's UK website. It's easily worth either of those prices and I've marked its value accordingly. Amazon sellers are currently asking $8 or $9, though, which would be a much harder sell for me.
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