Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review #02 - Mighty Leaf Tea Organic Earl Grey

When I started this blog I pondered whether I should differentiate my reviews with regard to bagged, pouches and loose tea. But the more that I thought about it, the more I said no. My reasons are simple. First, I wanted to catalog all the teas I had tried, and will try, in the most honest method possible. So in my opinion all teas should be treated the same. Which brings me to my second reason. What if there is a bagged or pouched tea out there that rivals the loose variety? By treating them equally I can identify a specific tea as "a good tea", and not just a good bagged tea. This in turn helps everyone reading this blog and hopefully will give everyone a reason to continue reading. With that said, on too the review.

The Aroma

I first tried this tea over a friend's house. They knew I liked tea, specifically Earl Grey, and wanted to make sure I had something to drink while visiting. That's why I was looking forward to this review since it had been a long time since I first tasted it. As far as bagged teas go, this one has a price on the high side when compared to typical name brands found in supermarkets and such. The tea comes in individually wrapped "pouches" and has the brewing info right on that tag. A very nice touch if you ask me.

When I opened the plastic wrap I purposely left the bag inside so I could enjoy the aroma. Sadly, there wasn't much to enjoy. So I took the bag out of the plastic bag and tried again. Unfortunately, the aroma didn't improve volume wise. You could smell the tea and it's flavor but only barely.

As you can see from the picture their pouch is about 2 1/2in square and appears to provide plenty of room for the tea to expand. Another nice touch with the bag is their lack of staples. Given the level of technology out there you would think every tea house that makes bagged tea would have moved on from staples but a few remain. Thankfully Mighty Leaf is not one of them. Brewing the tea couldn't be easier. Place the bag in a glass and add water. The label says 4mins and that's exactly what I did the first time. Much to my surprise the aroma factor shot up once the water hit the bag. I would place it in the Smooth aroma category because it lacked that hint of sourness which I look for. But what did it taste like?

The Results

With the aroma improving I started to hope that maybe, just maybe my first bagged tea review would be a great one. The second picture shows it has a nice color which again leads one to believe this will be an excellent tea. But the tasting facts don't lie, this tea is avg at best. Meaning it's completely thin in the flavor region. In order to give it a fair review I brewed another cup with a fresh bag later in the day. The results were the same. I then tried extending the brewing time and immediately got a mouth full of over-brewed tea taste for my efforts. Overall it tasted like Earl Grey but it just lacked any depth of flavor. Once the tea hit your tongue the flavor quickly went away. Instead of interesting flavors being enjoyed as the tea cooled a bit, the flavor faded even more. As a result of my multiple tests I noticed how the tea bag was in fact bulging when I removed it from the cup and that gave me an idea. I decided to cut open the bag and brew it up loose tea style. The results gave me pretty much the exact same thin tasting tea.


The nicest way to put this is, don't bother. If you thought the flavor was thin on the first steep it will only get worse for the 2nd. Think Earl Grey flavored water. 

Final Thoughts  

Do I hate this tea? No. Would I buy it again? That's a tough call. I know for a fact that other brand names are both cheaper and, by leaving the bag in the water indefinitely you can coax some additional flavor out of them without "burning" your tea. But some of those are not organic and they are not based upon actual leaf tea. Like I said, tough call. I'll leave it like this, if I'm on vacation, can find it on sale and have no other organic options, then maybe I'd buy it. Yup, you just got my first definite maybe rating.