Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review #43 - Brew Leaf - Cream Earl Grey Black Tea (loose)

Summer vacation is over and I am back. I hope everyone had a great time enjoying their summer getaways and you were able to drink lots of tea. For this review I try another tea from Brew Leaf with a bit of apprehension. Why? Because if you have read my Review Policy you'll see I have yet to sample an Earl Grey, with additional ingredients beyond the tea and bergamot, that I liked. So will this tea snap me out of my traditionalist ways or will it only cement it further? Lets find out.


Since this tea came in the same exact packaging as the other Earl Grey I reviewed from Brew Leaf I will not repeat myself. If interested please refer back a few reviews for all the details. What I will discuss is the aroma. When I opened the package I smelled something I hadn't smelled in a good long time. It conjured up, for me at least,  childhood memories of eating ice cream on a stick. I believe they were called cremesicles. The bad part, I never really liked them and remember being the one kid who instead ate the vanilla covered in hard chocolate versions instead. I'm sorry but my dislike for creme goes way back. Once I got beyond the initial aroma I tried really hard to pick up on the bergamot or/and tea. If I hung in there I could make out the tea but the creme flavoring just overwhelmed the bergamot. 

Brew Leaf has seen a number of updates to their site since my first review so I can now include the ingredients of this tea: 
A remarkably heady Earl Grey tempered with wickedly delicious cream flavor. One cup is not enough! Luxury Ingredients: Organic: Black tea, Osmanthus petals, Natural flavors. Certified Organic by Pro-Cert Organic Systems. Tea(s) From: Sri Lanka.  Region(s): Nuwara Eliya + Dimbula + Uva.

As you can see, this tea is organic which is always a good thing.

With regards to the powder like consistency, this tea mimics their other Earl Grey. The tea is not complete dust as found in bags, but it's about the smallest "leaf" I've seen of all the teas I've reviewed. The smallish nature of the leaf didn't affect the taste of the tea in my first review so I'm hoping for the same result here.

Steeping Method

Since I have some history with this brand I decided to go for steeping times on the low side since the previous tea did not fair well with a longer time. I used 2, 3, and 4 minutes. It should be noted neither the bag nor the updated site contained any steeping info.

The Results

I started where I always do, at 4 minutes and got a mouth full of creme and burnt
tea. The color was on the lighter side as can been seen in the picture. The balance of this tea was almost completely on the creme side. Yes I could pick out the tea but the bergamot just wasn't there.

At the 3 minute mark things really didn't change all that much except for the burnt part. This time the bitterness of the tea was replaced with more creme which for me, wasn't ideal. The color was a bit lighter but not by much. At this point in the review I should probably announce that someone like me should not be reviewing this tea. I'm just not a creme fan.

At the 2 minute mark I was hoping to obtain a better balance with regards to tea vs bergamot vs. creme but what I got was almost all creme. To be honest by giving the tea such a short time to steep the flavor from the black tea never built up enough to balance things out.

To end this section, and just like the first Brew Leaf review, I ended up with tea in my cup because the small leafs got through my strainer.


I re-steeped all three times and if you like creme use the 3 minute time. You avoid the bitterness of the 4 minute time yet obtain some tea flavoring compared to the 2.  Go 3 minutes, then 3 again.

Final Thoughts

So as you can see, this tea did not break me out of my Traditional Earl Grey ways. I really wish I could have found something about this tea that appeals to my tastes but facts are facts. I didn't like creme as a child, and I don't like it as an adult. Which makes it very difficult to review this tea fairly. So I will end with this... If you like creme, try it. If you are like me and don't like creme either by  itself or in your tea, then I'd pass on this one.