As before my tea sample came in a foil bag so when you first break it open you are greeted with a very pleasant aroma. The word gentle pops to mind because it's not overwhelming but not lacking either. It's as if the maker was going for a more controlled approach which sent me to the Upton site for more info.
Sure enough, my initial thoughts were correct.
Description: Earl Grey tea, blended with TGFOP Assam and rare China teas. A balanced blend for those who prefer a lighter bergamot flavor. Drink with or without milk.After reading the detailed information contained in the ingredients I immediately gave this tea high marks. Instead of just plain ol' black tea, we are given some very nice details about the Assam contained within the tea. The only thing that concerned me was the lighter aspect of this tea. In a way I was glad that I read description before trying it because it helped me know what to expect.
Ingredients: black tea, natural flavor
I will again reference the website because we are treated with some very specific instructions.
As you can see, there are no time ranges, only 1 time given. That time is 4 minute and that is exactly what I tried the first time. I then broke their "steeping rules" to see what I'd get and went with a 3 and 5 minute steep time. I must admit I was surprised by the exact time when I first saw it on the package but after tasting the 4 minute version I knew why they had done that.
I'll just cut to the chase and get right to it. What a wonderful Earl Grey. Yes the flavor is reserved but it's not thin and shallow. The flavor is still complex and changes as the tea's temperature cools. The fruit flavor was clean and free of perfume, or artificial sweetener after tastes. The tea finished smooth and had me wanting more. Seriously, I cannot say enough about how good this tea is. To prove my point I almost forgot to pour some into my white cup for pictures because it was just that good.
Speaking about the picture, I was even more surprised to see the color matching some of the more pronounced Earl Grey's I've tried and reviewed. But then again, this tea had a good solid Assam foundation which to build upon so the results really should not have surprised me.
The re-steep proved to be another pleasant surprise. Because the flavor wasn't strong to begin with the drop off wasn't that bad but you have to watch the time closely. I cranked up the re-steep time on one occasion to really push this tea and yes, you can burn it. So if you don't mind a lighter flavor I would go with a 3.5-4 minute steep time and make sure your water is right at a boil to help extract all the remaining flavor. Keep in mind there won't be much but what you will get will be very good.
I think it's obvious that makers of this tea put some thought and effort into the blend. They chose Assam and mixed it with other teas from China. Yes it would have been nice to have that listed but then again, tea is a business and giving away one's secrets may not help the bottom line. So I'm going to be happy to see some information given along with a natural flavoring being used. It should be noted that many businesses in other food areas have abused the word Natural. Let's hope Natural means the real thing in this case and not something else.
To end, I will be buying more of this tea when my current stash of Earl Grey starts to dwindle. Do yourself a favor and try it, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.