Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review #31 - Paisley Tea Co. Organic Double Earl Grey (bagged)

With 2 birthday parties, a Baptism, the start of school and my yearly bike century, things have been quite busy. Thankfully things have calmed a bit and we have a review this week. This weeks tea was found in an out of state shopping mart with an interesting name more associated with a clothing pattern then tea. But enough of this chatter, on to the review.


Before opening anything you are greeted with a box filled with information except for one very important piece. I'll hold off on that one piece and focus on the given info. To begin, this tea is Organic and it's Fair Trade. They dedicate an entire side to how they support the farmers who produce their tea and consider it their social responsibility to do so.  They then encourage you to visit their website to learn more which I did which turned out to be (as of Sat Sept 21, 2013) nothing but a welcome page. What made it strange was not the welcome page but rather the "coming soon" part. Upon further investigation you'll see that Paisley Tea is actually a sort of off shoot from Two Leafs Tea Co. Or as they put it...
"Meet two leaves’ “slightly hipper, younger sister.” Paisley Brand Tea is hotter than the average teabag!"
To help understand where and how this new brand fits in I did a quick price comparison. Two Leaves Earl Grey: 15 Tea Sachets @ $7.95.... Paisley Earl Grey 20 Tea bags @ $5.95. Make of that what you will but it appears that Paisley was created to "appeal" to a broader market??

With that out of the way I opened the box and found a white bag inside that contained all the tea bags. My initial reaction was to ask a question....how do you keep the bags fresh once you open the white bag? I guess you could tape it shut or twist tie it but it didn't seem the best way to handle that. Which brings us to the actual aroma and there wasn't any. Even with 20 tea bags filling the white plastic bag I still couldn't pick up any bergamot aroma. And when I mean there was nothing I mean nothing. I twisted the bag to make a small opening and pushed all the air out toward my face and still, there was no bergamot aroma. That made me wonder about the ingredients:
High-quality, organic black tea gets the royal treatment with citrusy bergamot oil in this classic tea.  
It's not like I've never experienced a low aroma tea bag before just not so many at one time providing no aroma. Which brings us to our last and final piece and in this case the missing piece. I could not find any steeping instructions. Seriously, there were no instructions on the box nor could I find any on the Two Leaves site. The only thing I could find was to use boiling water but no mention as to steeping times. Needless to say that makes my next section rather empty.

Steeping Method

Since none were given I did 4, 5 and 6 minutes.

The Results

Starting with my typical default steeping time of 4 minutes, I was met with a very thin tasting tea. Yes it tasted like Earl Grey and yes it has some citrus flavor to it but, it was very thin. By comparison, this tea was as strong at this steep time as other teas are for their second steep. If you let the tea cool a bit you really don't gain much in the flavor department. The color was quite good and alot more aroma came out once the brewing process began but like I said, flavor wise this is a very light tea.

At the 5 minute mark the color got a touch darker and the tea did gain some flavor. Instead of this being a
very light tea it took a step up the flavor chart. Not a big step but one that could be tasted. The aroma stayed pretty much the same and letting this tea cool at after 5 minutes of steeping allowed the flavors to blend a bit more but nothing that really grabbed my attention.

At the 6 minute mark I was honestly expecting this tea to taste totally burnt but it didn't. To be honest I think the tea starts to burn at this point because the tea flavor came forward flavor wise while the bergamot faded into the background almost to the point of this just being a black tea.

To conclude this section, all three steeping times produced a very light Earl Grey, some were just lighter then others.


When a tea starts out as light as this one did, guessing this tea would be even thinner the second time around was not exactly sticking my neck out. Unfortunately, I was correct. I tried re-steeping after each of the above times and was treated to Earl Grey water each time. To end, I don't suggest re-steeping this tea at all.

 Final Thoughts

If you picked up on the overall tone of this review then you can probably guess this is not my kind of Earl Grey tea. I like a more balanced, and yes bolder tea in the flavor category. If you like a lighter tea then by all means give this one a try but as for me, this one is not for me.