I was contacted by Dorian Roque Community Manager and Business Developer at Nina’s Paris USA and was sent two shipments of samples one from Dorian and another from Laurent Caravel who runs the online stores for the US Market.
Nina’s Teas USA description of their Earl Grey: Bergamot from Sicily. The smoothness of Keemun together with the freshness of bergamot. An ancient recipe that was handed down by a high dignitary of China to Earl Charles Grey. A classic that definitely shouldn’t be missed.
“Nina’s began in 1672 when Pierre Diaz created ‘La Distillerie Frères’. It was the first company to distill lavender essential oils in France and became renowned for their art of creating fragrances.” Today they follow the traditions handed down from Diaz to create flavored teas. “Nina’s company name is in homage to Mrs. Nina Diaz, a strong and passionate woman who loved roses.”
Although they have nearly 350 years in the European market, Nina’s Paris Tea is still relatively new on the American market. Currently you can visit Nina’s Paris Tea Store, 4582 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Design District. The online options are Amazon and Nina’s Etsy store. You should also check out their Facebook page for specials and the latest news from Paris.
Earl Grey is black tea scented with bergamot oil that is extracted from a pear-shaped Mediterranean citrus. The tea brews up a deep amber cup with a light citrus flavor and fragrance. The tea leaves in traditional Earl Grey are black teas of Chinese or Indian origin. Nina’s uses the Chinese Keemun (Qimen red tea harvested in Spring 2013) a black Chinese tea with a soft wine/fruit flavor. The choice of using Keemun creates a softer cup of Earl Grey than is expected, but to true tea lovers it isn’t a surprise as Keemun is used as the base for many English Breakfast tea blends. The natural Sicilian Bergamot perks up the deeper notes of the Keemun but not with the powerful punch that bergamot has the reputation. I would actually call this tea, soft.
The tea is good and can take a long brew time and still not get bitter. I brewed one teaspoon of leaves in 6 ounces of water 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Nina’s recommends 212 degrees (boiling point). The cup yielded was deep caramel colored, and even at the 3rd brewing still yielded a deep color. On the first sip I was impressed with the clear note of bergamot that lingered on my palate. I actually felt a bit of cooling on the roof of my mouth that I normally associate with a mint tea, but none of the mint flavor. It is my impression that the light fruity flavor of the Keemun is why this blend has a more muted bergamot flavor. I enjoyed 4 separately brewed cups. Each one brewed true to color but the bergamot did soften with each cup. By the 4th cup the bergamot was not present.
All-in-all I would highly recommend this tea. However, if you are looking for a bergamot that stands up and announces itself, then this tea will not fit the bill. Nina’s Paris, Earl Grey is an excellent cup of softer bergamot that is flavorful and good at all temperatures, even as we do down South, on ice.