Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review #40 - Brew Leaf Earl Grey Black Tea (loose)

With spring finally hitting our area I have my next review to release. In this case the fine folks at Brew Leaf contacted me and sent me some Earl Grey samples. Given the sheer volume of places selling tea I had not heard of them but that did not stop me from looking forward to trying another Earl Grey. So lets get right to it.


The packaging for the samples were your basic food grade heat-sealed foil bags. The name of the tea was clearly listed along with Brew Leaf's company label showing the tea is Organic and Fair Trade. Missing from the label was any form of brewing instructions and when I went to their site I couldn't find the tea I was reviewing on their site. Now to be fair, websites are in a constant state of flux and they could be doing some work on their site. So I sent them a message and asked for the URL. When it arrives I will be sure to update this review.

Once you open the bag, along with it's zip lock, you are greeted with earl grey along with black tea in a limited amount. The aroma was on the clean side but it didn't overwhelm the tea. Both could be detected which showed some good balance. Then my first surprise occurred. When I grabbed my first teaspoon I did not find much in the way of leaves but more like dust. It looked like I had just opened a teabag, which needless to say really surprised me. Since their website at this moment does not provide any info, I can't give you any information regarding the ingredients other then they are fair trade and organic.

Steeping Method

Because the bag contains no info, and the page for their Earl Grey is unavailable, I will default to my typical 4 minute time and will also try both 3 and 5 minutes.

The Results

To begin I wasn't able to do all the testing on this tea I would normally do because there was only enough for 2 servings. As a result I did some searching around and many tea reviewers only ask for 2-3 servings for their reviews so maybe all my testing variations are a bit out of the ordinary. Since Brew Leaf provided this sample pack free of charge, it isn't fair for me to complain. But I wanted my readers to know why this will be a shorter then normal testing section.

At the 4 minute mark I received my next surprise. The tea had a very dark color, an improved aroma and the flavor was balanced and very good. Until I got to the bottom of my cup and the flavor turned totally bitter. On pure human instinct I looked inside the cup and that's when I saw all the dust particles. It appeared the dust I saw before somehow got past my mesh strainer and got into the cup making for a bitter surprise. If you look hard at the picture to the right you can just see some of the dust at the bottom of the cup. To finish the flavor was definitely balanced and for me personally was only a touch shy of being at the level I prefer.

Then I tried a 5 minute steep time and to be perfectly honest, I burnt the tea. Oh how I wished I had tried 3 minutes instead, but that's the way the tea steeps sometime.


Since I was only able to try two steeping times the same can be said for re-steeps. At the 4 minutes steep time there was very little flavor left. Since I went over the edge with 5 minutes the only that was left to re-steep was bitter tea. I wish I could provide more details but those are the facts; No re-steeps.

Final Thoughts

This tea provided some surprises. By the looks of it, you would have thought it wasn't going to have much flavor but at the 4 minute mark this tea was rather good. Adding to that, the ingredients are or
ganic and you can feel comfortable knowing the people producing the leaves are being paid a fair wage. If you can get by the fact this tea doesn't look like loose tea, with whole leaves and such, I would have no problem suggesting readers give it a try.