Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review #01 - Arbor Teas Organic Earl Grey Black Tea

Our first review for this new site will be something I already have in house. I purchased this product along with some other varieties I enjoy. I do like to support this company due to it's dedication to organic and sustainable methods. For example, the bags the tea are shipped in can be thrown right into the compost pile creating zero waste.

Compost ready bag and re-usable labels.
 Another nice touch is their labels seen on the plate in the picture. Since the label is connected to an elastics of sort, you can use your own containers and just stretch the label around your container.  Now to the tea.

When you first open the bag you are greeted with a nice Bergamot aroma which is always a good start. Teas with no aroma tend to disapoint.

Brewing Method

Since this is my first review let me explain how I brewed it. I have a brown Chatsford Tea Pot with a plastic framed, food grade mesh strainer. I place 1 teaspoon of the tea and add enough water to fill the pot. This means the water comes up to the lip of the mesh strainer but not over the slot where the cover for the pot fits in. This works out perfectly since none of the leaves overflow into the pot.  As for water temps, I use just boiled water from an electric kettle. Once the pot is filled I cover the pot with a cosy. Trust me it's nothing fancy. To be honest it's just a piece of thick fabric my wife had left over. I folded it over twice and it happen to fit my pot perfectly. I use a cosy because Earl Grey is a Black Tea (unless of course you have an Earl Grey Green) so heat dissipation is not something you want during the brewing process. I then set my Polder timer to 4minutes and patiently wait.

The Results

From the minute you start pouring you pick up on the sourness of the Begamot. It's there and I like that about this tea. This is not a softened aroma but what  real fruit smells like.

Since this is my first review I included my pot to allow everyone reading to know exactly what I use to brew. From now on I will focus on both cups to provide a better view of the color. This tea for instance is about middle range when it comes to darkness. Say middle to high on the Dark Range.

Now for the taste. Since I've been drinking Earl Grey for many, many years, you can probably guess that I like this version and that would be a correct statement. For me there are two types of Earl Greys, Natural and Smooth. This falls into the natural category. The taste you get along with the aroma has me thinking real fruit, real black tea, and nothing else. As the temperature drops the flavor mellows a bit and smooths out. For me personally, that is when this tea is at it's best and the reason I continue to buy it.

Having played with the steeping time a bit I will say once you get close to a 5min steeping time you will pick up some additional bitterness. 


The answer is yes, if you don't expect the second steep to equal the first. I have tried times anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes for the 2nd steep and no matter what I try I can't seem to extract more bergamot out of the tea. Actually it's just the opposite, the more I extend the time the more black tea flavor I get. So when I do re-steep I just do a bit more then 3mins and expect accordingly.

Final Thoughts  

Judging from my review yes I really like this tea and will continue to buy it. If you have never tried it before, do yourself a favor and go for it. If your tea tastes match mine, you won't be disappointed.