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.
When a friend named their son Miles, someone sent them some Miles Tea – specifically, Earl Grey. Subsequently, I got sent some of the tea bags, because she knew about this mad project. I really have been able to try a range of tea!
So Miles Earl Grey comes in tea bags; I steeped one for 3 minutes and added 1/2 tsp of sugar.
Unfortunately, this is not my favourite Earl Grey. Although the taste is obviously not plain black tea, it’s not especially a citrus taste that comes through. I think this is the sort of Earl Grey that I might have liked before I started discovering the full-on citrus of something like Akbar and the possibilities of FrenchEarlGrey. So, good for those who want something other than plain black, but not going on my list to re-order.
In which I announce that the podcast is going on hiatus, and Damian of the Piper St Food Co talks about how he came to be in the food business (he grew up in it then had a fascinating career learning about being a chef) and why he loves cooking so very much.
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.