Another tea from the Loose Lea Tea House. How could I resist a French Earl Grey that looked like this?
3 min steeping, 1/2 tsp sugar.
There wasn’t nearly as much scent to the dry tea as I had expected, and – even sadder – not a whole lot when steeped either. It’s a nice enough tea but that’s not really a winning description, is it? Fair to say I was a bit disappointed.
The Loose Leaf Tea House has a really lovely website, and this tea is also lovely.
3 minutes and 1/2 tsp sugar. Delightful citrus scent when dry: not overpowering, but almost floral despite there only being bergamot with the tea leaves.
When steeped, it’s somewhat less citrus-y. But nonetheless, this is a really excellent tea. I think it’s one of my favourites, actually. It is on the more delicate side, but the bergamot flavour is beautifully balanced. This is one of the teas that I may well be revisiting.
This is another of the sample teas Elmstock sent me. This Long-Leaf is described as ‘classic’.
I steeped it for 4 minutes, as per recommendations, and added 1/2 tsp sugar. When dry, it’s slightly citrus-y – certainly not an overwhelming smell. Happily, it tastes more citrus-y than it smelled, because otherwise I was going to be quite disappointed. Despite misgivings when it was brewing, this was a very tasty drop. It’s not as delicate as the description had led me to fear (what a not-surprise, delicate is not really my thing…). Much more to my taste than the Madame Bergamot, somewhat to my surprise.
Elmstock generously sent me several sample teas. Madame Bergamot is not, as I initially thought, a Lady Grey, but an Earl Grey with cornflowers. Elmstock uses a long-leaf tea for this, and describes it as “subtle and delicately flavoured.”
Scent when dry is certainly a delicate citrus, somewhat floral, although that’s not from the flowers. I steeped for four minutes, as per the recommendations, and added about 1/2tsp of sugar.
This is a fine tea, but not mind-blowing. I’d be happy enough drinking it but I wouldn’t choose to have it as my forever tea.
Another sample picked up for me by Alisa, because she likes to encourage my projects.
Adore Tea’s Earl Grey Berries is Earl Grey with strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry added.
2-4 minutes steeping is recommended, so I was reckless and went with 3. I added 1/2 tsp of sugar because it’s automatic, but it may not have been needed here because the berries add quite a sweet note.
The berry notes are the most obvious part of this tea, both dry and steeped. Adore Tea’s website admits that “The berry flavour is quite strong, it is not a subtle berry” and that’s very true. In fact, I would say that this isn’t an Earl Grey tea; it’s a berry tea. It’s quite nice, but there was no discernible citrus to my tastebuds. I’m happy to drink it, but not when I want a citrus effect.
Harney and Sons sent me a sample tin of their Earl Grey Supreme. Which is really cool because I love a good tin for tea. Harney and Sons really know how to package their stuff.
This is an interesting blend: according to the website, “Four higher grade black teas are blended and exquisite Ceylon vintage silver tips and a little extra bergamot” to create it. The silver tips – basically white tea, I discovered – aren’t especially apparent to the eye, but I think they do impact on the taste. (Not that I know a whole lot about white tea, as previously mentioned.)
3 min steeping, 1/2 tsp of sugar, as normal. It doesn’t smell especially citrus either dry or steeped. It also doesn’t taste particularly citrus-y, which was a bit disappointing. I think the white tea gives it a savoury note, which was pleasant enough and a bit different, but this isn’t going to be one of my favourite teas. (Which is sad but when I’d have to order it from the UK, not the end of the world.)
Last week I discussed the discovery of my love of Fish River Roaster’s Earl Grey. As well as the Earl Grey, Fish River also sent me a bag of their Mrs Grey… and thus begins a mystery. There’s no information on the bag about what the tea contains. Looking at the dry leaves, it looks like peel and cornflowers; it’s quite aromatic when it’s dry. And the mystery deepened when I looked on the website, because there’s no information there either! In fact, Mrs Grey doesn’t appear on the site!! HOW VERY CURIOUS.
Anyway, I steeped for three minutes and added a dash of sugar. When steeped, the leaves seemed to have slightly less scent, while the ingredients definitely look like peel. Tragically, I don’t think the taste lived up to the promise of the scent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still quite a nice tea; but with the excellence of the Earl Grey and the loveliness of the dry scent, I was hoping for something a bit tastier, a bit fuller in the mouth, a bit more interesting. I won’t mind finishing off the bag that Fish River sent, but I don’t think I’d be ordering more… even if I could… .
Edit: I emailed Fish River, like a sensible person, and it turns out their website was just being revamped when I looked. So it’s not gone. Mrs Grey does indeed have cornflowers, as well as lemon peel, so SCORE for my observational powers.
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.