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.
I tried Cup of Tea’s Earl Grey a while back, and was underwhelmed. Sadly, the same is true for their Princess Grey, which I also received as a sample.
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.
Another sample, this time from Harney and Sons. LOOK AT THE TIN IT CAME IN!
I don’t typically go crazy for packaging, but oh my it’s so cute! I love it! This little tin has five silk pyramids inside – each is good for two cups, they say, so I made a small pot of tea when I tried it.
I am not a connoisseur of white tea, so my reflections are those of a black tea drinker. Keep that in mind if you love white tea! The Harney Teas site says this is “Chinese mutan white tea” with bergamot, and I’ve no idea if that’s good quality or not.
I steeped the tea for 5 min (3-8 minutes recommended), and since I don’t know white tea I started with zero sugar.
It definitely doesn’t smell as strong as a black tea might, and the colour is of course paler. There’s some hint of citrus in the scent. Their site declares that “the bold citrus dominates the aroma, but takes a step behind the mild nutty flavours of white tea”… which is basically a contradiction, as far as I’m concerned, but I’ll never have a job describing food.
The best way I can describe the flavour is ‘delicate’. I don’t think I’d be pairing this tea with food – certainly not strong flavours – since it would be completely overwhelmed. It seemed closer to some green teas I’ve had than to black. I didn’t get much lemon in the taste. I added a small amount of sugar and it cut through a slight bitterness. I still didn’t get much lemon – but I also don’t know what a plain white tea tastes like, so maybe that would make a difference.
I liked it, and look forward to drinking it a few more times, but probably won’t rush to buy more.
Also sent as a sample, along with their Mary Grey Special.
I feel that The Tea Makers should call this their Earl Grey SUPREME because woah that bergamot. This is a cornflowers Earl Grey, for those of you who care.
The dry leaves are super bergamot-y; after 4 min of steeping and 1/2 tsp sugar, the steam was wafting bergamot through the kitchen.
This is a very Earl Grey tea. It’s not overwhelming or overpowering (… to my tastebuds), and there’s no oil like the T2 version, but you definitely have to like Earl Grey to like this tea. So I really, really liked it. Things I am discovering: I like to notice the citrus in my Earl Grey! I don’t want to be thinking about whether it’s there or not! It’s not as strong a tea as the Akbar, but it is more citrus-y. This is a very nice one.
Cup of Tea kindly sent me a few samples of their Earl Grey when I was in the UK last year. The first one I’m trying is their High Tea Co. Earl Grey. They sent me a sachet with enough tea for probably three cups.
I steeped it for three minutes (3-4 is recommended) and added 1/2 tsp sugar – less sugar is something I’ve learned about myself through this process! I’ve always just automatically added a whole tsp in the past.
The dry leaves didn’t have much scent, and neither did the steeped leaves. There’s just a whiff of citrus. Sadly for me, this is reflected in the taste of the tea, too. It’s a nice enough tea but for my tastes it’s not much of an Earl Grey. Their website describes it as “strong, lemony and invigorating” – I didn’t get much lemon, but I guess it’s invigorating? Not sure how you’d classify that, to be honest.
Interestingly, there seems to be more than just tea leaves and bergamot in this tea (I thought I could see cornflowers), but it’s not listed in the ingredients.
I’m looking forward to trying the Princess Grey and the Tippy Golden Earl Grey.