Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review #37 - Canton Tea Co Black Tea Earl Grey (loose)

In this review I return to the Earl Grey Sampler Pack from Whittington's Tea Emporium (WTE). But this time I run into some issues with the names and such. Let me explain. The sample packet that came in the container is labeled Black Tea Earl Grey but when you head over to the Canton Tea Co site, I couldn't find it. What I did find was two other types. The first being called "Classic Earl Grey" and the second "Canton Organic Earl Grey". As stated before I'm not a fan of cornflower so that tea is off my list. But the second tea looks kinda like the one I have. But when you compare the writings on my sample pack to their description you find it's not the same tea. So here is where I stand. I will obviously review the tea but will not provide a link directly to the tea because it appears to be missing/replaced/etc from their site.


The sample pack is labeled as a "taster pack" and requires you to tear off the top before being able to access the zip lock type opening. Once opened you will find a very mild and mellow smell. Since I only have the label to go by here is what it says:

Teas from China and India and Oil of Bergamot from Italy.

Here is where my next issue with labels and such came in. Along with the samples the container holds an info sheet for each tea written by someone at WTE. Problem is they list the tea as containing cornflower with it's "indigo-blue cornflowers petals" which it does not. Unfortunately I don't know how or where this happened. Did Canton change something after WTE got their samples or did WTE get this sample misplaced? At this point I don't know so that's the reason this tea will be reviewed with only the info I have listed on the sample pack.

Steeping Method

From the packet from their pictures:

Temp 95c, 1-2 tsp, 250ml of water steep for 2minutes 
I then added the typical 4 and 5 minutes steeping times.

The Results 

I started with the suggested 2 minute time and got a very thin and very light tea. To be honest, I don't think a 2 minute steeping time did this tea any justice. As stated it was very thin, had no depth of flavor, the color was very light and even when cooled showed nothing. To give you a sense of just how light this time was, I've reviewed bagged teas that gave more flavor then this loose tea.

So I headed off to the opposite end of the steeping spectrum and tried 5 minutes. This time provided a lot
more flavor, color and aroma once brewed but lacked in the depth area. This time showed alot more color and plenty of flavor but at a cost. As the cup cooled I picked up some extra flavor normally associated with just starting to burn tea. I think 5 minutes pushed this tea a bit past it's best. The balance was still of tea but at least the bergamot came through a bit more. Which brings us to our last steeping time.

With the first two times out of the way I was hoping to find more balance and more flavor. Sadly this tea remained on the light side while the bergamot never really gave me a nice citrus smell or flavor. It just tasted flat with no depth of flavor. The color was pretty much the same as the 5 minute mark but in this case that slightly burnt flavor was not there. But this tea definitely left me wanting a more balanced tea with more flavor.  That brings us to my last attempt where I doubled the serving from 1 tsp to 2. I was expecting alot more bergamot (i.e. fresh citrus) but the tea technically didn't change. It was just more of the same flavor just more intense. It remained flat and provided no additional cooling flavors.


Given the lack of depth of flavor I thought this tea would not re-steep well at all. Strangely, if you like a very light Earl Grey then you can re-steep. Go for 4 minutes on the 1st and 2nd steep.

Final Thoughts

After reading the above it's pretty obvious I wasn't blown away by this tea. This is a very light tea with a flavor that leads me to believe not all ingredients are natural/organic. It just doesn't have that fresh citrus aroma and flavor many other teas possess. The flavor is weighted more towards the tea then getting close to a balance between the tea and bergamot. To end, if you like a very light tea then by all means try it but if you like your tea a bit bolder AND like knowing the ingredients of your tea, I'd try another of my reviewed teas.