Spot of Tea: Steven Smith Teamaker Lord Bergamot and Brahmin

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[Photo: Maggie Hoffman

The Brahmin (Blend No. 18) by Steven Smith Teamaker is a blend of full leaf Assam, Ceylon, and Keemun teas. Assam is the dominant flavor here, creating an extremely malty tea with a slightly bitter edge. It's a robust cup with earthy flavors up front, plus hints of sage and thyme. The package suggests steeping the tea for five minutes, but we felt the tea became overly tannic; two minutes produces a more rounded cup.

We preferred the fragrant Lord Bergamot (Blend No. 55), a twist on traditional Earl Grey tea that marries bergamot with whole leaf Ceylon Dimbulla, Uva, and Assam teas. It's smooth and complex, with a rich roasted-orange flavor. As with the Brahmin, the malt from the Assam is prominent, but here it pairs well with the bergamot and other teas, resulting in a deep and slightly smoky flavor. This blend beautifully balances fruit and earthy notes, and it would be the ultimate pairing for marmalade and whole grain toast.

Available online $11.99 for 15 sachets.

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