As I mentioned the other day, I was out romping around in the gorgeous weather with my good friend Stacey. We were moseying around Yorkville with the intent scoring free macarons at Moroco Chocolat, a very lovely chocolate store in the Bay-Bloor area. Sadly we were too late and the store was out of the free macarons, but it wasn’t for naught, as I picked up 4-oz bag of their brand’s tea ($15).

Keeping with the regal feel of Yorkville and the store, the tea is called Cream of Avalon. It’s a black tea flavoured with bergamot, pink grapefruit, caramel and vanilla, which are all on my list of flavours that magnetize me.

The first impression on opening the bag is that the tea is potently scented — maybe overly so. There is a very strong caramel-bergamot scent, and the lingering citrus pokes through. I was a little worried that the tea, being so strongly perfumed, would be taste equally sickly sweet and come off tasting cheap and fake.

Unfortunately, at my first cup I get the exact opposite experience. As there are no brewing directions in store, on the bag, or on their website, I went with my instincts for brewing other black teas and brewed at boiling temperature for 5 minutes.

This does not produce a satisfying cup of tea.

Perhaps the water was too hot and scalded the leaves, or I steeped for too long, but my cup is watery and bitter. The aromas of bergamot and grapefruit remain as I sip, but aren’t present in the liquid itself.

Flavouring with milk and sugar doesn’t improve the cup much. I don’t suggest milk — it makes the watery flavour even more apparent, but a teaspoon of sugar eliminates the bitterness while still allowing some of the perfumey scent through.

I still have high hopes for this tea, though. I’m going to go through the rest of the bag in the next few months and brew at different combinations. Perhaps a low heat and short brew time will improve the flavour. I will also attempt an iced tea — maybe that will be this blend’s higher calling.

If you have the chance to buy this tea, see if you can first purchase a sample size of two or three teaspoons instead of the whole bag. I didn’t have the opportunity to do so when I was there, but maybe you’ll be more lucky!

Update: I emailed Moroco directly asking what the best way to brew the tea is. They suggest 1 tablespoon per 3 cups water (so 1 teaspoon per cup) for 3 minutes. No mention about water temp, but I’m going to chime in and say do less than boiling water. Boil your water and let it cool for a minute, then brew the tea.

Just tried it out, and it’s definitely much improved.

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