In which Tansy and I discuss children’s birthday cakes and Tansy’s penchant for ignoring recipes. We went on to discuss other things, too, which you’ll hear in the sequel interview next week!
Another in the Tea Pigs line! Also, of course, from Alisa, as was their Earl Grey Strong. The Strong has a picture of a bull dog on the tag; the darjeeling has a picture of a dachshund, which is… more refined? or something? Not sure. They also add cornflowers – just for the appearance, I think.
Steeped for 3 minutes, as recommended. It’s always fun to see whole leaves unfolding in a bag as the tea steeps; this is one of the more interesting things I’ve learned about tea over the last few years. I’m still not sure if I can tell the difference in taste, though, I admit.
The dry leaves didn’t have a whole lot of scent, and it wasn’t particularly smelly when it was brewed either. The taste is not hugely citrus-y, although it’s quite a nice tea – as apparently I should expect, it being real darjeeling. One of these days I guess I should learn about the tastes of different black teas. But probably not this year.
I added lemon, which is their recommended way of serving it; I don’t think I’ve ever had Earl Grey with lemon before, now that I think about it. And it was quite nice. I then added just a dash of sugar, which I think enhanced the citrus a bit. Again, quite a nice tea, although not going to be a favourite.
The first I tried with their Earl Grey Blue Lady. This will be an Earl Grey sin to some, because it includes (gasp) cornflower, and mallow blossom too. This is not a problem for me as I quite like cornflower.
The recommended steeping time was 2-3 minutes, so I went with 2, to see what it was like.
I tried this a few hours after The Tea Makers’ Mary Grey, because I thought they would make an interesting contrast, and I was right. Blue Lady isn’t as strong as Mary Grey, and it’s certainly less citrus-y and a bit more flowery. Again, I initially tried with sugar, and preferred it with just a little bit of sugar to take a bit of bitterness off.
It’s a very pleasant Earl Grey, although it doesn’t especially stand out; it’s a great one for people who prefer their citrus a bit more on the subtle side. I’m going to be very happy to drink this a few more times but it’s not one I regret not being able to access easily.
When I was in London last year, I took the opportunity to ask some English tea companies to send me samples. And, delightfully, some of them did! The first one I want to talk about is The Tea Makers of London’s Mary Grey Special.
They describe it as the ‘delicate’ version of Earl Grey. I thought I could see bits of orange peel in it, but I may have been wrong about that according to the ingredients list which says it has marigold flowers (so maybe that’s what I saw) and essential citrus oils.
The recommended amounts were 2tsp of tea and 4 minutes of steeping, so I followed their instructions.
It has a very citrus-y scent, which is unsurprising given the oils listed in the ingredients. The taste is also quite citrus-y – but not too much. It was slightly improved, to my taste, by the addition of sugar; I did decide to try this unsugared at first because of the citrus. I think the sugar took the edge off the slight bitterness which I don’t love.
This is quite a strong Earl Grey in flavour; it’s definitely not one for the Earl Grey doubters. It’s not overwhelming like the T2 Earl Grey – there’s no oiliness. Instead it’s exactly that lovely orange-y, not quite flowery, taste that I really enjoy about Earl Grey. I’m looking forward to drinking the rest of this sample, and wish that shipping from the UK wasn’t so painful…