Saturday, August 3, 2013

Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA

In front of the tea chest are the remaining Earl Greys!

We're getting close to the end of the initial reviews, and soon I will post the brackets for the first elimination round! Still to come are...
  • Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA
  • Earl Grey by Rishi Tea 
  • Earl Grey Decaf by Mighty Leaf
  • Creamy Earl Grey by Simpson & Vail
  • Earl Grey by Tao of Tea
  • Cream Earl Grey by New Mexico Tea Company
  • Earl Grey by Nina's Paris (yet to arrive)
  • Earl Grey Heaven by The Persimmon Tree (yet to arrive)

There are, of course, countless more that I'd like to try but the school year is upon us and I can't put as much money into tea. If you happen to have an Earl Grey that is not listed on here or the blog archive, I would be delighted if you could send it my way. Otherwise, I think 38 Earl Greys is a good place to start!

We're going to begin paring down that list with today's tea: Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA!

Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA

Seller Description: "Everyone has tried Earl Grey. And yet this one is different. It’s made with an exceptional blend of rare, ethically-grown, high-altitude black teas. Pure oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit, gives it an aroma that’s headier than usual. And the cornflower petals add a subtly perfect fragrance. Discover the difference. You’ll never go back."
Directions: 1-1/2 teaspoon per 8oz, steep 4-5 minutes
Website: DAVIDsTEA Earl Grey
Cost: $8.00/100g with tin

The dry tea
Teaware: 16oz tetsubin with Depression Glass cups
Measured dry: 2-1/2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 4-1/2 minutes
Additives: 1-1/2 tablespoon of Sugar in the Raw

I liked DAVIDsTEA's Cream of Earl Grey so much that I couldn't leave this one out! The dry tea aroma is just heavenly. The bergamot does cartwheels, nearly shouting "Look at me!" and the cornflower slyly twines around it.

The second time was the charm with this one. There are conflicting directions between the sticker that goes on the tin and the website. The former advises 1-1/2tsp per 8oz of water, while the latter says to use 1tsp per 8oz. The first time I made this, I followed the directions on the tin and let it steep the full five minutes. It was a little bitter, so I made it again with slightly less tea and a shorter steep time. That was the ticket!

There was just a tiny bit of astringency with the first cup, but in the second attempt I am having a difficult time locating more than a hint of it. It's just so smooth and wonderful... wait a second. That's strange... I just poured a second cup and it's changed a lot. I took out the infuser basket to end the steep on time, but the tea in the teapot has continued to change while I sipped the first cup I poured. The astringency has increased from minuscule to medium and it tastes somehow darker and more unpredictable.

It may be that I needed to stir the tea in the pot, but I usually don't have to bother with that. I pulled in Jake for a second opinion, and the first thing he asked me was if I had left the leaves in to continue to steep, because this did taste so much like an oversteep. We talked about it for a while, and he suggested that it might just need to be enjoyed fresh instead of left. I'm left wondering if we can avoid this same reaction in an infuser mug, where you're only making one serving and enjoying it rather quickly.

The infused leaves
I did try this with a dash of milk, and I don't recommend it. Something about the blend just makes the flavor roll up and die when it's even slightly diluted, and each sip was just overwhelmed even with the slightest drop of milk.

The infused leaves were a bit of a shock too. With as intense as the dry flavor was, I expected something on a similar level. No dice. The infused leaves smell like wet autumn leaves that someone dribbled a couple drops of Earl Grey on.

Overall this has been a bit of a letdown. I loved the initial cup, but once it had a chance to sit for a couple minutes and cool it was horrible. I'll keep experimenting with it and see if I can dial in a better cup, but I'm not a fan of fussy teas.

Prominent Notes: Bergamot
Aftertaste: Cornflower
Overall: Too finicky for my tastes

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