Monday, September 2, 2013

Earl Grey Impérial by Mariage Frères vs. Earl Grey Lavender by Revolution

Mariage Frères on left, Revolution on right

Today we have the third bout of the Battle of the Earl Greys, where Mariage Frères' Earl Grey Impérial goes head-to-head with Earl Grey Lavender by Revolution!

Earl Grey Impérial by Mariage Frères
Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug with lid
Measured dry: 1-1/2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar

Earl Grey Lavender by Revolution
Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug with lid
Measured dry: 2 sachets
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar

Now that both cups have been properly infused, let's see how they meet the criteria!

1. Does the tea taste smooth, without any jarring notes?

  • Mariage Frères: Yes, the green base blends very nicely with the bergamot and makes for a very smooth and understated cup.
  • Revolution: By comparison the black tea becomes much more prominent in this cup, but it's not jarring - just more noticeable. Jake thinks he detects a slight "burnt cereal" flavor, but I think it's just part of the black blend that makes up the base of this tea and doesn't detract for me.

2. If this is a variety blend, does the Earl Grey flavor profile maintain the driver's seat?

  • Mariage Frères: This is a green variety, which does mark a significant change to the flavor profile. I actually get more bergamot and mint here, and it doesn't strike me so much as an Earl Grey as a green variety.
  • Revolution: This is a lavender variety, and the fresh floral note is more present in the aftertaste, which makes this the more traditional of the two.

3. Is there a "Wow!" factor? Something that makes it stand out?

  • Mariage Frères: This isn't your traditional flavor profile, but it is a damn good cup of tea. The green base twines beautifully with the prominent bergamot notes, and the minty aftertaste serves as an additional wake-up call in your morning cuppa. 
  • Revolution: I do enjoy the balance this tea achieves. So many lavender Earl Greys are overwhelmingly floral, but this one is so understated that I really enjoy that aspect of it.

4. How is the astringency? Does it detract from the tea?

  • Mariage Frères: There is no detectable astringency - it's a very smooth and silky cup.
  • Revolution: There is some mild to moderate astringency, but adjusting steeping times may help alleviate this. 

5. Does it have any special ties to sustainability, Fair-Trade, or eco-friendliness?

  • Mariage Frères: None listed.
  • Revolution: None listed, and their tea only comes in individual nylon mesh sachets.

Jake's Opinion
: The Mariage Frères is my favorite of the two. It is a very smooth cup of tea with prominent bergamot notes. The Revolution has a more traditional profile that blends bergamot and black tea flavors together nicely, but the lavender element in this cup tastes either burnt or over-dried. That's in stark contrast to the sweetness I would expect from fresh lavender, and that I smell from the tea left in the box. This may be a steeping problem, because when this tea cools it looses the jarring notes from the lavender, but I still prefer the Mariage Frères.

Lyssa's Opinion: This was an interesting pair-up of very different varieties, and while I do enjoy both teas, I tend to prefer the Mariage Frères for the purposes of this project. I disagree with my husband's strange fixation on the lavender, and like I mentioned in the Revolution's initial review, it's a wonderfully soothing cup for evenings, but the Mariage Frères is a little more geared towards the get-up-and-go I need to help me wipe the sleep from my eyes before school.

So, the winner of this face/off is...

Earl Grey Impérial by Mariage Frères

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