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 bergamot 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.
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 minutes, 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.
This tea was sent to me by the wonderful Alisa, who has been keeping an eye out for Earl Greys to encourage me in this project…
I am not a connoisseur of rooibos tea, which means that my assessment of this tea is dubious at best! Certainly if you’re a rooibos fan, take what I say as probably irrelevant to you.
So, Adore Tea’s Rooibos Earl Grey is exactly what it suggests: rooibos with bergamot. The recommended steeping is 2-5 minutes, which is an intriguingly big difference; I presume that’s about the rooibos. I went with three minutes as being about average. It didn’t smell very citrus-y out of the packet, although (see above) maybe the bergamot did add something to the normal rooibos scent. It also didn’t taste especially citrus-y, but the same caveat applies. I couldn’t taste orange or lemon but perhaps the bergamot did change the rooibos. Although I couldn’t taste the citrus, and it certainly didn’t taste like Earl Grey, this was still quite a pleasant tea. I don’t think I’m moving to a heavily rooibos-inflected tea drinking experience, though.