Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review #29 - Harney & Sons Organic Earl Grey (loose)

Our last two reviews have covered bagged tea so it's time to return to loose and that means we are giving Harney & Sons another go. I will say up front that during this review I will be leaving out as much of the redundant information as possible. We know about their bags, labels and steeping times so I will briefly mentioned them but will not dwell on them since they have been covered in previous reviews. With that bit of info out of the way lets begin.


The Organic sample came in the same bag as the previous two. As for the aroma once you open the bag it came across as rather subdued. If you stick with it, you end up saying the tea comes through more then the bergamot. But as we have seen before initial aroma testing sometimes doesn't tell the whole story.

The ingredients from their site:

A traditional blend of hand-picked black teas from India and natural Oil of Bergamot. The Assam is mellowed a bit with a smooth south Indian Tea. 

Steeping Method

Just like before, and again from their site:

4 to 5 minutes 

The Results

Starting with 4 minutes the color was good but not as dark as others. The aroma definitely improved releasing a lot more citrus which is what I look for in a good Earl Grey.  On the flavor side the tea came across as light. We've touched on this topic many times so I won't bore you with a repeat explanation. As the tea cooled it improved a little but still very light.

I then moved onto the 5 minutes steep time and things improved a bit. The color got a touch darker and the flavor improved because the tea became better balanced. At the 4 minute mark the tea was still overpowering the bergamot while at 5 things were a bit more even. Again I would still call this tea light and it appears that Harney and & Sons intended that.

Since these are organic teas, the aroma is light and subtle. This allows the lemony Bergamot to come through loud and clear.
This is a medium bodied black tea. It is not as full bodied as other Earl Greys. 
So I'm kinda at a loss as to why the reason for the teas lightness was attributed to it being organic.  I
understand my formal education in tea and tea blending is not to the level of the folks running Harney & Sons but I've had organic Earl Greys that are not this light. If someone from H&S would be so kind to either leave a comment or contact me via twitter I'd love to learn.


I will be honest here, teas that start out light typically are not your best re-steepers. But surprise, surprise I was wrong with this tea. If you brew the first steep at 4 minutes and the second at 5mins you will actually get a decent cup of Earl Grey. Will it over power you? No, because you started light to begin with. But this tea holds a lot of it's flavor which comes out when it cools after the second steep.

Final Thoughts

If you are like me and are concerned about what's being put into your food, having an organic option solves this problem. Thankfully H&S has an entire organic section so they should be commended. As for their blend of Earl Grey, it's good just not the type I like the best. I was hoping for a bit more body. To end, do yourself a favor and try it for yourself especially if you are a fan of lighter Earl Grey.