Year of the Earl: Fortnum and Mason

This Fortnum and Mason tea, Earl Grey Classic, was foraged for me by the lovely Gill, along with a few other F&M teas; apparently she and a friend had a delightful time in London, discovering that you can get minimum quantities of tea in nice resealable bags so you can taste test a whole range of teas. I approve of this idea. A lot.

Basically this tea is what it says on the tin: a classic Earl Grey. It’s not a massively citrus-y tea and it doesn’t appear to have cornflowers, either. It’s a nice, light Earl Grey – probably still not going to appeal to the EG haters in your life but for me, it’s a nice comforting cuppa that doesn’t require a lot of thinking about. It doesn’t stand out as exceptional, but if I lived in London I would consider indulging in more of this.

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Adelaide Breakfast

That’s right thrill seekers, sometimes I DON’T drink Earl Grey.

I know, it’s a shock.

I went through a big phase of drinking Breakfast Teas from T2 a while ago, and I’m still drinking the last of them. Today I’m drinking Adelaide Breakfast.

As far as I can tell, T2 has a breakfast tea for most of the big cities they have shops in, and they try to make the flavours somehow reflect the city. Which could lead to all sorts of weirdness…. The Adelaide one is described thusly:

Adelaide is known for its wine and charm, a romantic part of the world where only the best will do. Cranberries, sweet blackberry leaves and lemongrass take you on a surprising taste journey.

So… yeh. I guess the cranberries kinda reflect the wine regions? I don’t know.

This is definitely a tea on the sweeter side of things. Which is nice for me but I know a lot of people prefer their tea less sweet. The cranberry and blackberry leaves come through with the dry leaves and when it’s steeped.

I quite like this tea. Having said that, I think I’ve got about one more cup’s worth left and I probably won’t stock up on it again for a while. *Ahem* I might have more Earl Grey still than I quite know what to do with…

 

Whittard of Chelsea: Elderflower Early Grey

When we were in the UK some time ago, I visited Whittard of Chelsea and got completely overwhelmed by their amazing range of tea. I came home with just two, because I decided to be sensible even though it hurt, precious. One of those I bought was Elderflower Earl Grey, because how could I not??

The site says it’s got ‘hedgerow elderberries’ and speckles of elderflower blossoms. The dry tea smells quite strongly of elderflower – not in an overwhelming sense, but it is the dominant note. This is true of the tea itself; in fact, I get no bergamot at all. It’s possible that if you took the bergamot out I would notice the difference, but I’m not entirely convinced. For me, this is very much Elderflower Earl Grey. Which isn’t to say I don’t like it – when you’re in the mood for a fairly fruity, on the sweeter side, tea, this is quite delicious. But it’s not hugely Earl Grey.

Very nice, but I won’t be putting in international orders to get more.

Year of the Earl: on slacking off

Perceptive followers of the blog will notice that I haven’t posted in um, a little while. I have still been drinking Earl Grey – a lot – but… yeh. The blogging has fallen off as other things have distracted me, and as I’ve mostly-subconsciously rebelled against my self-imposed weekly expectation of tea reviews. Now many of those were written in advance, but nonetheless… it’s got to be an imposition lately, and so I’ve just… not done it.

Oops.

I have been drinking Elmstock Earl Grey at work. It’s pretty close to becoming one of my gold standards for Earl Grey. It’s clearly bergamot-y, but it’s not overwhelming; there’s no oiliness or other unpleasant taste. The leaves are quite small, which does somehow seem to affect the delicateness of the taste… but maybe I’m imagining that and it’s more about the way the bergamot has been used. At any rate, this is an excellent one and I’m very pleased to be drinking it.

I’ve also been drinking Byron Bay Earl Grey, which was sent to me to sample. It’s another in the classic line of Earl Grey: no flowers, nothing but bergamot and leaves. The taste is pretty standard – that is, full-enough flavoured for the Earl Grey lover, not a punch in the face for those unsure.

I have… a few Earl Greys that I still haven’t even tasted, let alone reviewed. So I’ll be trying to get back on that over the next while.

Elmstock Smoky Earl Grey

Another sample from Elmstock. I told you they were generous.

I went into this basically expecting not to like it, which should surprise no one given how I felt about the last smokey Earl Grey. This tea is black tea blended with Lapsang Souchang, and bergamot. When dry, I could smell bergamot along with the bergamot.

4 min steeping as suggested, and no sugar as also suggested in the information about the tea. Once steeped, the smoke was much more obvious than bergamot. In fact, it was so smokey that I could not drink it… and tipped it down the sink. I’m sure that someone who likes Russian Caravan or similar would really like this, but that person is not me.

 

Kappy’s Ceylon Earl Grey

Kappy sent me a few samples, which was super generous. One of those was their Ceylon Earl Grey.

This has a very rich bergamot scent when dry – it’s very pleasant! 3 min steeping and 1/2tsp sugar, it’s not quite as strong when steeped.

It’s a nice tea, although it’s not going to be one of my favourites. It’s a bit more on the savoury side than I had expected from the scent.

Dammann Frères: Earl Grey Kerala

Another gift from Gill! Although this one is not from Fortnum and Mason, but from Dammann Freres, in Paris. SO very fancy. She had many options and went with the Kerala. The website calls it “Bergamot and neroli mingled with a Kerala tea : a highly original combination.” Dry, it smells nice enough, although not very strong.

At first I went with 3 min steeping, but didn’t think it was especially flavourful. So I tried it again at 4 min steeping, which was better. (1/2 tsp sugar both times.)

I don’t know what neroli is meant to taste like; I couldn’t taste anything especially different or interesting along with the bergamot. It’s ok as a tea, but not especially exciting as an earl grey. It’s not overly savoury, nor spicy, and certainly not floral.