[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Fruit teas are tricky because they hardly ever taste the same as they smell. That means that before brewing it can be difficult to foresee exactly what you're going to be drinking, and often the final brew is weak or simply another flavor altogether. In terms of smell-taste dissonance, this tea is no exception: upon opening a canister of The Earl's Garden, you'll inhale a sweet, berry scent that is somewhat akin to Bubbalicious gum. Luckily the brewed tea is much more benign.

The Earl's Garden is a blend of Black Ceylon tea, bergamot, dried strawberries, and black currant. Taken straight, it has a distinct but mild strawberry flavor up front followed by the citrus notes of bergamot and the earthiness of black tea. Fans of Celestial Seasonings' fruit teas will enjoy this blend, with its red berry flavor and light body. Though I normally take my tea straight, I particularly enjoyed this blend with a bit of sugar, which makes the berry flavor much more pronounced. I'll keep this tea in mind to serve, sweetened and iced, on a hot summer's day.

Available online. $6.50 for 50 grams. Sample provided for review.

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios


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