Elmstock: Long Leaf Earl Grey

This is another of the sample teas Elmstock sent me. This Long-Leaf is described as ‘classic’.

I steeped it for 4 minutes, as per recommendations, and added 1/2 tsp sugar. When dry, it’s slightly citrus-y – certainly not an overwhelming smell. Happily, it tastes more citrus-y than it smelled, because otherwise I was going to be quite disappointed. Despite misgivings when it was brewing, this was a very tasty drop. It’s not as delicate as the description had led me to fear (what a not-surprise, delicate is not really my thing…). Much more to my taste than the Madame Bergamot, somewhat to my surprise.

Elmstock: Madame Bergamot

Elmstock generously sent me several sample teas. Madame Bergamot is not, as I initially thought, a Lady Grey, but an Earl Grey with cornflowers. Elmstock uses a long-leaf tea for this, and describes it as “subtle and delicately flavoured.”

Scent when dry is certainly a delicate citrus, somewhat floral, although that’s not from the flowers. I steeped for four minutes, as per the recommendations, and added about 1/2tsp of sugar.

This is a fine tea, but not mind-blowing. I’d be happy enough drinking it but I wouldn’t choose to have it as my forever tea.

Adore Tea: Earl Grey Berries

Another sample picked up for me by Alisa, because she likes to encourage my projects.

Adore Tea’s Earl Grey Berries is Earl Grey with strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry added.

2-4 minutes steeping is recommended, so I was reckless and went with 3. I added 1/2 tsp of sugar because it’s automatic, but it may not have been needed here because the berries add quite a sweet note.

The berry notes are the most obvious part of this tea, both dry and steeped. Adore Tea’s website admits that “The berry flavour is quite strong, it is not a subtle berry” and that’s very true. In fact, I would say that this isn’t an Earl Grey tea; it’s a berry tea. It’s quite nice, but there was no discernible citrus to my tastebuds. I’m happy to drink it, but not when I want a citrus effect.

Harney and Sons: Earl Grey Supreme

Harney and Sons sent me a sample tin of their Earl Grey Supreme12131.jpgWhich is really cool because I love a good tin for tea. Harney and Sons really know how to package their stuff.

This is an interesting blend: according to the website, “Four higher grade black teas are blended and exquisite Ceylon vintage silver tips and a little extra bergamot” to create it. The silver tips – basically white tea, I discovered – aren’t especially apparent to the eye, but I think they do impact on the taste. (Not that I know a whole lot about white tea, as previously mentioned.)

3 min steeping, 1/2 tsp of sugar, as normal. It doesn’t smell especially citrus either dry or steeped. It also doesn’t taste particularly citrus-y, which was a bit disappointing. I think the white tea gives it a savoury note, which was pleasant enough and a bit different, but this isn’t going to be one of my favourite teas. (Which is sad but when I’d have to order it from the UK, not the end of the world.)

Fish River Roasters: Mrs Grey

Last week I discussed the discovery of my love of Fish River Roaster’s Earl Grey. As well as the Earl Grey, Fish River also sent me a bag of their Mrs Grey… and thus begins a mystery. There’s no information on the bag about what the tea contains. Looking at the dry leaves, it looks like peel and cornflowers; it’s quite aromatic when it’s dry. And the mystery deepened when I looked on the website, because there’s no information there either! In fact, Mrs Grey doesn’t appear on the site!! HOW VERY CURIOUS.

Anyway, I steeped for three minutes and added a dash of sugar. When steeped, the leaves seemed to have slightly less scent, while the ingredients definitely look like peel. Tragically, I don’t think the taste lived up to the promise of the scent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still quite a nice tea; but with the excellence of the Earl Grey and the loveliness of the dry scent, I was hoping for something a bit tastier, a bit fuller in the mouth, a bit more interesting. I won’t mind finishing off the bag that Fish River sent, but I don’t think I’d be ordering more… even if I could… .

Edit: I emailed Fish River, like a sensible person, and it turns out their website was just being revamped when I looked. So it’s not gone. Mrs Grey does indeed have cornflowers, as well as lemon peel, so SCORE for my observational powers.

Fish River Roasters: Earl Grey

Fish River Roasters seem to be predominantly a coffee house, but they do also do tea. So I emailed them and they generously sent me a sample of their Earl Grey, as well as their Mrs Grey. And when I say generously, I do mean generously: they sent me an entire 250g bag of each!

The dry leaves give off quite the bergamot scent, which is promising. I steeped for three min, as recommended, and added 1/2 tsp of sugar to my mug. While steeping, the leaves were still releasing that lovely Unknownbergamot scent, and I was really looking forward to drinking it.

… have I built up the suspense?

Verdict: this may well be the nicest Earl Grey I’ve tried yet. It’s not a bergamot punch in the face like Akbar (which, remember, I really liked), and it’s not oily like the T2. It’s fresh and citrusy and smooth and I really, really like it. I’ve kept on drinking it to check and yes, I do keep enjoying it. I’ve even shared it with some friends who asked what I’d enjoyed so far – I figured that with such a big bag I might as well be generous – and they enjoyed it too. So: this is definitely a winner. When I need more Earl Grey (hahaha) I think I’ll be going here.

Debonair Tea: Extreme Earl

Another tea sent to me as a sample when I visited the UK. Debonair’s Extreme Earl comes in a nice little packet and says it is the “finest organic Ceylon orange pekoe black tea,” with bergamot oil. And calling your tea Extreme Earl is quite the claim.

The dry leaves had a very strong (though not overpowering) bergamot scent, which I thought boded well. I steeped the tea for 3 DSC_0385_92x92_crop_center.jpgminutes, as recommended, and added 1/2 tsp of sugar.

It’s a nice tea. It’s definitely got the bergamot taste; it’s a nice Earl Grey. But to call this ‘extreme’ is definitely overstating the case. Which was a bit disappointing.