Earl's Gold

Layla Osberg - Dec. 19, 2019

A must-try from our Premium Tea category, Earl's Gold takes its name from its striking golden tips, the result of careful plucking and processing. The aroma leads with fresh bergamot, followed by lingering honey. The cup is at the same time bold and subtle, a robust blend of Assam and Yunnan, making it a complex and hearty breakfast blend that stands up well to milk.

Earl Grey is a venerable classic, so creating something new from it can be tricky. There's Ms. Grey of course, or any Feminine Grey, often adding a bit of lemon or similar citrus to lighten the cup. The focus is always on the citrus, the iconic taste of bergamot.

Murchie's Earl Grey uses a blend of light Darjeeling, Sri Lankan and Keemun teas for a bright, brisk cup that brings the citrus of bergamot to the forefront. The inspiration behind Earl's Gold was to go in the opposite direction—creating a full-bodied, malty brew that grounds bergamot's base notes, and lets the citrus enhance the quality teas.

To create the smooth, cocoa-malt base, inspiration was taken from our own hearty Storm Watcher, which uses a blend of Yunnan and Sri Lankan teas. But I wanted something more, something malty and bold that stood up well to milk, a bit like our Scottish Breakfast. So the blend uses our robust Tippy Assam, a tea common in any hearty breakfast blend. It's softened with Yunnan, a bold sweet tea with a lingering aftertaste of smoke. And to lighten the cup, smooth the strong notes and round it out, nutty and floral Keemun.

The ratio of bergamot oil was a balancing act, looking at both our Earl Grey and our Ms. Grey. Earl Grey is all about the citrusy punch, allowing that to take the forefront. Ms. Grey allows the light Darjeeling to shine through for a bright, delicate cup. Earl's Gold reins back on the bergamot just enough to allow the golden brew to shine through, with just enough citrus to enhance the naturally occurring cocoa and cereal notes.

The result takes some of my favourite, bold teas and enhances them. The selection of delicate downy tips only further enhances the flavour and the look of the tea, with no extra flowers or additives.

The golden down that covers these young leaves and unopened buds are called "trichomes", and are present on the young leaves of all tea plants. They start out white on the fresh leaf, and are most recognizable on teas such as "Bai Hao Yin Zhen" (White Hair Silver Needle—you can see where the name comes from) and "Bai Hao'" oolong, often called "Dong Fang Mei Ren", or Oriental Beauty. In both cases the "Bai Hao" refers to the smattering of soft white down that covers the young leaves.

In manufacture, these delicate buds require careful plucking and gentle processing techniques in order to preserve them. As the tea is oxidized into a black tea, the oils of the tea leaf coat the outside, creating a "lacquer" that turns the silvery trichomes golden. The result is any grade of tea with a "Flowery" categorization or above.

Any fan of our Storm Watcher, Scottish Breakfast, or our Anniversary Blend will enjoy the base of this tea. The bergamot here is just enough to balance the robust flavours, without being drowned out, or overtaking the tea.

- AJ Ward, Murchie's In-House Tea Specialist

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