When we were staying in a delightful little guesthouse in NSW, our room had some tea bags from a company I’d not heard of. Naturally, I snaffled a couple of the Earl Grey to try. It’s Chamellia Earl Grey and it comes in those cute pyramid tea bags. It’s got cornflowers, in case that’s something you’re violently against.
The first teabag I steeped it for 4 minutes, as recommended, and added 1/2 tsp of sugar. I had it with breakfast aaaand I didn’t finish the cup: I found it a bit unpleasant, which was a first! I can’t quite define it but it was partly in the aftertaste, which wasn’t very nice.
I figured it might be that this isn’t a tea that goes well with food (which does seem weird), so I tried it again by itself and with only 3 minutes of steeping. It was definitely better that way – and I know that it was unscientific to change two of the factors, but that’s what I did. Although it was better this is still not a fabulous Earl Grey. Would not bother again – and wouldn’t have it if it was offered at a restaurant or elsewhere, either.
It’s described as “A blend of Darjeeling and Keemun with sparkling fresh bergamot” on the website. I am not a connoisseur of tea regions so I don’t know whether those are particularly high grade or not.
I did not get a strong scent from the leaves. I steeped them for 3 minutes and added 1/2 tsp of sugar. The resulting taste wasn’t particularly citrus-y, either; I guess it’s a “gentle earl grey” as the website also says, but it kinda just tasted like black tea. In fact, it almost tasted a bit like a green tea, which I thought was odd… it had that, hmm, grassy note that I associate with some greens.
In fairness, I have tried this tea a couple more times, because the first taste-test was with a slightly blocked nose. However, even with all olfactory senses, this still just tasted bland. So that’s a bit sad.
Kappy’s Tea and Coffee Merchants sent me a couple of samples, which I was very excited about. The first I tried was their Earl of Oz, which I’m told contains Daintree grown black tea, Lemon Myrtle (bark and flower), Rosella and Cinnamon Myrtle, on top of the base Sri Lankan tea coated in bergamot oil. It’s become a favourite.
It has a strong citrus scent right out of the packet – I thought it might be lemongrass, but I guess it’s the lemon myrtle. It also smells a bit spicy, which was intriguing.
Steeped for 3 minutes, with 1/2 tsp sugar. When steeped it’s still quite citrus-y and spicy.
The taste I would describe as a bit zingy, which is the lemon I think. It’s utterly delightful and I can well imagine this one becoming a staple in my cupboard. I’ve taken it camping a few times and it’s fantastic first thing on a cold day!
This sample came from Tea Life. Their French Earl Grey includes rose, sunflower, blue mallow flowers and the usual bergamot.
Their website recommends steeping for 3-4 min but the sachet said 2 min, so that’s what I did. The website also says you should get 2, maybe 3, cups from the same heaped teaspoon, which I wish I had noticed! Ah well, there’s enough left to have some more. Interestingly, they recommend having the tea with milk, which I think sounds a bit gross, to be honest… but each to their own. And they suggest honey rather than sugar, which I will also have to try. Experiments are fun!
There’s a lot going on in the scent of this tea. It’s super flowery, which is of zero surprise; they definitely dominate the citrus. Which isn’t necessarily a problem, but it’s not always what I want in an Earl Grey.
The taste is also quite flowery. Honestly it tastes like a lot of French Earl Greys I’ve tried. It’s nice; I wouldn’t drink it all day (I wouldn’t drink any French Earl Grey I’ve found all day); and it doesn’t especially stand out.
If you’re a support me on Patreon at either the top or second to top level, you get to suggest a recipe for me to try twice a year. My mother has taken me up on this twice. First, she suggested a walnut cake, which I actually made at her house so wasn’t that lucky for her. The second was to make a quince and pistachio cake which she got from a Women’s Weekly cookbook.
Friends, I have never worked with quince before. It will be Some Time before I do so again, because OH MY WORD the peeling and the cutting and the coring! What a pain in the butt!
You cook the quince first, for this recipe, and then layer it into the cake tin and then make this awesome thick cake batter with just a bit of the quince and pour it over. I’ll admit, this cake was utterly delicious… even if it turned out I hadn’t cored the quince quite well enough. I was sad that the quince didn’t come out on top of the cake; it stuck to the paper when I inverted it. However, it dealt quite well with me scraping the bits out and putting them back on top in spots that looked a bit light on in the quince department.
We ate quite a lot of it, and then I took it to work so that we didn’t eat all of it. It’s fair to say that it was scoffed very quickly and with many mutterings of appreciation.