Saturday, June 1, 2013

Organic Earl Grey Black by Arbor Teas

Seller Description: "This organic, Fair Trade Certified version of the classic Earl Grey does not disappoint. It has the correct balance of flavoring which results in a piquant and refreshing true Earl Grey organic black tea taste. Made fashionable by the Prime Minister of English Ear Grey (1830-1834), Earl Grey is traditionally a blend of organic Chinese tea and organic India tea flavored with the oil from the Asian citrus fruit, bergamot. Ingredients: organic black tea and natural bergamot flavor."
Directions: One level teaspoon per 8oz cup of water.
Cost: $9.95/4oz

Teaware: 16oz capacity hand-thrown mug
Measured dry: 2 tsp
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 5 minutes
Additives: 1-1/2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw, dash milk

The only other Earl Grey I have to compare this to right now is my Teavana Earl Grey Black, so I opened them up and sniffed them side by side. Of the two, this is less sweet and more sharp. I can’t detect the slight licorice flavor of the Teavana in it, and while it smells a little more… I can only think of the word astringent, it doesn’t shout bergamot at me either. Huh. I don’t know what I was expecting, but so far this isn’t broadcasting any kind of “Wow!” factor.
Today felt like a mug morning, so I loaded a tea ball 1/2 way and steeped it for five minutes. I’m trying to get better about not over-steeping things, so I set my most annoying timer. When its shrieks brought me back into the room, I was surprised at how dark this one came out. Even after I put in a generous pour of milk, and a tablespoon or so of Sugar in the Raw, it is only the color of hot chocolate.
I did sample it before I put in the milk and sugar, and I found that its sharp dry smell had been blunted rather decisively. This tastes a lot milder than I had anticipated, and while it’s a nice and even EG I guess I’m just craving something… different. I love everything this company stands for – organic, free-trade, bio-degradable packaging – and I wanted to love their tea as well, but it’s just not grabbing my senses and sending them whirling. It’s a nice standard cup, but probably won’t be a staple.

6/17 Update: I just made this again, fiddling with the numbers a bit to see if I could dial in a better cup, but this tea was surprisingly consistent. More leaves? Same. Shorter steep? Same. Actually, it doesn't seem to be fussy at all - this could be a solid one to take camping.

Prominent Notes: Black tea, a hint of bergamot
Aftertaste: Nothing stands out prominently.
Overall: Mild - There's no "wow!" factor

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