Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mrs. Grey's Blend by Simpson & Vail

Mrs. Grey's Blend by Simpson & Vail

Seller Description: "An interesting black tea blend that has the fragrant aroma and flavor of our Earl Grey with orange and lemon peels that creates a refreshing taste sensation. Delicious when iced!"
Directions: Brew tea at 212º - steep for 3 minutes.
Cost: $6.95/4oz

The dry tea
Teaware: ForLife NewLeaf 16oz infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 1-1/2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw

On to sample number six, of the seven provided by Simpson & Vail! It's been a heck of a lot of fun to have the opportunity to try so many different Earl Greys and their variations. Not all of them have been things I would usually purchase on my own, but it's been fascinating to contrast what I think I'd like with how I actually felt about these new teas. This tea is a great example of that. When I started this project, I didn't think I'd find so much enjoyment in the various blends. I felt fairly certain that when the chips came down and the brackets were closed it would be a straightforward Earl Grey, but some of the blends have actually given me cause to question that idea.

This was one of those blends, mostly because of its dry smell, which lives up to the seller's description. There is no missing the black tea and aromatic bergamot, but the citrus aroma is a little more sneaky. It's there, but you need to work a little to pick it out. 

The infused leaves
After it steeped I was surprised by how prevalent the black tea blend becomes. The bergamot is still present, but neither it nor the other citrus notes assert themselves as much as the actual tea flavors. To me, this almost tastes more like a traditional Earl Grey than a blend. It even has the customary astringency, and leaves my tongue very dry. 

Now, I'd like to tell you what my husband thought of it as well, but that requires a little background.  Have you ever heard of someone referring to a small kitchen as a "one-butt" kitchen? Well, at our apartment it's more like "half-cheek"! Jake was making biscuits and gravy while I was darting around him to prepare and photograph this. He stole a cup, and at first described it as "bready." 

Later he admitted that impression had more to do with the fact he was covered in flour than the actual flavor of the tea! He's a fantastic cook, but a very messy one. I tried to find a cool and very nerdy apron to encourage him to wear one, but so far it's stayed a lot neater than he has. 

Ha! I got the apron on him!
While I glared pointedly at the pristine Discworld apron hanging in the corner, he told me that it tasted more like a standard Earl Grey to him, although he could pick out the additional citrus notes.

Since that made a lot more sense than his "bready" comment, I left him to it and, because of the seller's description, I put half of my sample in the fridge to cool.

About an hour later I pulled it back out, and I was surprised to discover that if anything the black blend had become stronger, almost completely overshadowing the citrus notes. I almost want to add lemon to it, which is funny because this blend is supposed to have extra citrus! In the future, I think I will enjoy this hot instead of cool, because the flavor is much more balanced that way.

While the dry aroma had initially made me hope to add it to the lineup, I don't think this one will be moving forward in the Battle of the Earl Greys. It is a nice, solid Earl Grey but the additional citrus notes just are not strong nor prevalent enough to help this stand out.

Prominent Notes: Black tea blend
Aftertaste: Mixed citrus notes
Overall: More of a standard Earl Grey than a variety blend


  1. We've been suffering small kitchens for too long too. On these warmer summer days, I have to institute the one-butt rule. And wouldn't you know it? Joe is obsessing over making biscuits all the time!

  2. That's so weird... Jake is tunneling through our flour supply with rolls and biscuits several times a week. He just assured me it's not a "vast Peterson conspiracy" but you never know ;)