Monday, June 24, 2013

Earl Grey by Simpson & Vail

Simpson & Vail was kind enough to send me a selection of their Earl Greys for this project! I'll spread them out, but look forward to their Victorian Earl Grey, Summertime Earl Grey, Creamy Earl Grey, Citrus Paradisi Earl Grey Blend, and Mrs. Grey's Blend in the weeks to come! For now, let's start in the beginning, with their Earl Grey Aromatic Tea:

Mei Photo-Bomb - Again!
Seller Description: "One of Mr. Vail's 15 original tea blends. If you enjoy the floral notes of Bergamot, this Earl Grey tea will become your favorite! This exceptional combination of Darjeeling, Assam, Chinese, and Sri Lankan teas, sprayed with the oil of Bergamot has been satisfying our customers for generations....Certified Kosher."
Directions: 1 tsp at 212°F for 3 minutes
Cost: $9.10/4oz tin

Teaware: 8oz cup with tea ball infuser
Measured dry: 1 tsp
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 1 tsp Sugar in the Raw, with a second added later.

From the moment I opened the bag, I wanted to bury my nose in it! The delicious scents of the traditional Earl Grey blend were nice and pungent - it lives up to the "aromatic" part of the name! I got out a couple other Earl Greys out to compare, and while the scent did back off a little after that initial waft, my husband and I agreed that this had a smoother citrus fragrance than the sharper notes of the Arbor and Teavana that we'd pulled out. 

Simpson & Vail - Earl Grey

I decided to go small this morning, and just made a single cup instead of a pot. I started out by only adding one teaspoon of sugar, but the cup called for a little more. The first sip, with the single teaspoon of sugar, had more of a bite than I would usually care for, and it left my tongue feeling dry. 

Adding another teaspoon of sugar really helped smooth it out. If I had remembered to stop by the store and pick up milk, I think a dash would help kick this up another notch and balance out the dry feeling. I'll try to update when I make that happen! 

I did try one re-steep, but it didn't hold up - even with a longer steep time the flavors had waned and it was a little too watery. I think in the future this will be a single-steep tea for me.

Altogether, this is a nice, easy-going Earl Grey - the black tea blend does dominate the cup, with only a mild kick of bergamot to give it that distinctive Earl Grey flavor. It's matter-of-fact and straightforward - a good cup of tea! If this is the starting point, I really look forward to trying the other Simpson & Vail Earl Grey varieties!

Prominent Notes: Black tea, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Black tea blend
Overall: A great place to start!

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