Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review #44 - SanctuaryT - Classic Earl Grey (loose)

For this review I was contacted by what might be the closet "shop" yet. Sanctuary T is located in NY which is probably, on a perfect traffic day, around a 3hr drive. They actually sent me a number of teas but for this review I'll be focusing on their Earl Grey. Onto the review.


The samples were sent in plastic bags with hand written notes on them. Like before, if you are willing to send me tea for review and the samples are created just for me, I do not review the vessels you choose to send the tea in. All I will say is the teas were put in small little baggies and the tops rolled up tight.

When I opened the baggy I was met with a very subdued aroma. Both the tea and bergamot were easily picked out and nothing had an artificial smell to them. Sometimes you pick up alot of fruity citrus, but in this case the bergamot was on the limited side. As we have seen before, the aroma sometimes gives a different picture of what the tea will taste like.

As for ingredients, I'll let their site explain what is in this tea:
Our Earl Grey stays true to the classic traditional blend of Chinese black tea flavored with bergamot for its signature full-bodied citrus taste. 
Steeping Method

Because of the way the tea was sent to me I'll let their site explain the times and such:
Steep for 3-5 minutes. Longer steep times increase the tea's acidity (great for adding milk and sugar).

Given the range of times given and the sample size I will not stress test, but focus on the times and the re-steeping for each time.

 The Results

Since I had a test plan in mind I started with the 3 minute time. The color was good but not as dark as other teas I have reviewed. The aroma changed a bit and gained some fruitiness as it cooled which was interesting but the tea remained in the light category.

I then moved onto the 4 minute time and things improved. The color grew darker and the aroma took
another step towards added fruit. It was at this point I started to think of the words mellow and smooth. I let the tea cool a bit and that's when I started to enjoy the tea even more. The smell was this nice mellow bergamot that didn't overwhelm the tea. This tea definitely had balance but you had to wait for it. That's when I moved on to the 5 minute time frame.

At 5 minutes the color was at it darkest, as expected, but the aroma only added to the whole mellow and smooth vibe. The tea remained balanced but once again tasting it right after it was brewed didn't give me what I wanted. It was only after the tea had a few minutes to "blend", did it's unique taste come through. In most teas I talked about balance because I don't want either of the ingredients to overwhelm the other. But in this case, the flavors joined. I was no longer trying to pick out the tea, for example, but instead just enjoyed the flavor as a whole. As I said before, there is something mellow and smooth about this tea that makes it unique.

So the next question to answer would be, how would it handle re-steeping?


As typical, and if I have enough tea, I test each steep time for it's ability to re-steep. This time was no different. Sadly, the initial steep time I liked the most, gave the weakest re-steep and to be honest no one should be surprised by this. So here is where I stand. If you really wanna re-steep go just under 4 minutes for your first and just over 4 for your second. For me, go 5 the first and forget re-steeping.

Final Thoughts

Lets start with the cons. Unless I was blind and couldn't find the info on their site, the actual contents of this tea are unknown. I.e. Organic vs other things. Also the 3 minutes is very light and not something I prefer. But as for the pros, this is a very enjoyable tea.  IF you have the patience this is a perfect tea for a nice relaxing Sunday morning. The flavors meld nicely at the 5 minute mark to the point where you don't want to drink this tea quickly but rather spend some extra time to savour it. As always, try it for yourself, and be sure to leave a comment.