Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review #46 - The Spice & Tea Exchange - Earl Grey Tea

As you know I took a bit of a summer hiatus from reviewing tea. But I would like to point out, even though I was not writing up the next review I was still on the look out for new teas. So at the end of my family's trip to a certain "World" in a southern state in the US, that may be Magical, Epic, Hollywood-ish, or contain Animals, I found some tea "Downtown". Better still, even though the temperature in this southern state is known for going well over 95 degrees during most of the summer, I was buying tea normally made with boiling hot water. While you ponder whether I'm crazy or not, lets get to the review.  


The tea that I bought came in a clear plastic bag. It had the typical zip lock enabling you to continue using the bag after it was opened since you could re-seal it. I don't know how long it sat on the shelf in Florida but reviewed it quickly once I got home. My initial thoughts on the aroma were of perfume. Not alot, but it really didn't have that fresh citrus smell that I look for. The tea was also present but not as much as other teas. The ingredients listed on the bag matched what is listed on the companies site:

Contains: organic black tea, essential bergamot oil. 

The bag/site also provides a small blurb about the blend:

Classic English tea. Black tea leaves are blended with the natural oils from the bergamot citrus fruit. Results in a smooth rich cup, with floral and citrus notes.

The package was listed as 1oz and had the "location" named: Lake Buena Vista

Steeping Method

The bag has the following information:

Steep: 1 TBS at 212degrees for 4-5 mins 

Because I had a full oz of tea to test, I added a 3 minute time to both first and second steeps.

The Results

I started at the 3 minute mark keeping in mind this wasn't a suggested time. The result was not
surprising because the color and flavor were definitely mild and light. The interesting part was the initial flavor. I'll stop there because the same result was tasted with the other two times.

I then moved onto 4 minutes and things improved alot. The aroma coming from the tea didn't have anything that said perfume. The color of the tea was alot darker but the flavor was again just not what I would expect. So I let it cool a bit and was rewarded for my patience. The tea balanced out and all the flavors started to work together to present a very nice Earl Grey.

The same thing can be said about the 5 minute steep time but with a bit extra. At 5 minutes, the color grew a bit darker and the initial flavor even more unbalanced. So I again let it sit and received the same mellowed result. The flavors balanced out and the aroma really started to give off the citrus aroma you come to expect with this tea. I did detect a tiny bit of bitterness but nothing that ruined the tea. I had this same tea over the course of a week and received nearly the exact same "I need to wait" result. With all of the above in mind, lets see how it did when re-steeped.


To put this bluntly, this tea drove me crazy because it responded so differently too the three times I threw at it. If you start at 3 minutes, then steep for 4 on the second you get a very light but acceptable tea. But if you go 4 minutes then 3 minutes you get a bit more of a flavor. It's not much, and still very light but it's there. If you go 5 to start, forget it. Personally the second steeps are too light for me but if I was running out of Earl Grey and want to make this tea last, I would go 4 then 3.

Final Thoughts

Spice and Tea have come up with an interesting Earl Grey. It's organic, and while I couldn't find anything about the bergamot, this tea really didn't taste of anything artificial. The packaging allows you see the tea so you know what you are getting and all needed information is right where it needs to be on the package. There is the unique waiting period. For me it wasn't a problem once I understood what I needed to do. If you are the type that can't wait then you may not like this tea but if you can, I would definitely suggest you try it yourself.