Monday, February 9, 2015

Review #49 - TozyTea - Earl Grey Black Tea (sachets)

HA! Take that yellow backgrounds, I now have LED lights, two of them in fact, and I'm not afraid to use them. Silly intro I agree but I'm amazed at what ~7 bucks worth of cardboard and tissue can do to improve your photos. For this review another tea company was nice enough to send me some Earl Grey to review but this one came in sachets. Lets see how it fairs.


Tozy's offering comes in a round cardboard container and upon further inspection I was very happy with what I read: 
Good for the Earth & Society
Tea container is made of 100% recycled paper
Our Pyramids tea bags are made of cornstarch and are 100% bio-degradable
Tozy Tea donates 10% of our profits towards the education of needy children  

 This is the type of company that everyone can get behind. Continuing on, the cover was held closed by two pieces of tape and once you cut those the cover comes off rather easily. That's when I found something inside I was not expecting especially after reading the above. I found a plastic bag containing all the tea sachets. Initially this really changed my entire opinion about the packaging as a whole. But then I got thinking, how else are they going to maintain freshness in an "air tight" manner? Sadly, this is probably the most cost effective way to pull this off and since the bag is of the zip-lock nature you can re-use it when you finish the tea bags. But it will be a very nice day when the tea industry is no longer forced to use plastics. With that out of the way, I opened the bag.

To be honest, even with all the sachets in the same bag this tea is very, very light on aroma. So I went back to the front of the container to see what was inside:
Our version of the world's most famous flavored black tea features handpicked Sri Lankan Orange Pekoe grade tea flavored with oil of bergamot.   

Fair enough. As we have seen before with other teas, sometimes the aroma doesn't really give you any information about the tea until you taste it.  So lets find out how to brew it properly.

Steeping Method

From their container:
Bring Fresh cold water to a boil
Place one tea sachet in a cup and add water
Wait 3-4 minutes and remove sachet
Add sugar and whole milk as desired

That means we will take their advice, add 5 minutes and then stress test it.

The Result

I started at 3 minutes since I knew I was going to push this tea at the other end of the temperature scale. At this time the color was very light, the aroma increased a bit but the flavor was very light. I let the tea cool a bit to see if the flavor changed any but it did not. The black tea flavor "itself" was also very light and did not balance with the bergamot which was even lighter. I also thought I tasted something else but couldn't put my finger on it.

I then tried the 4 minute steep. At this time the color got darker and the aroma increased as well
but now I started to pick up something in the aroma that wasn't there before in addition to the flavor. I blamed myself for doing something wrong and did a complete reboot. Washed the cup, didn't put the sachet on my display plate and refilled my electric kettle but that extra thing was still there. So back to the container I went and that's when I found it. In the first section I mistakenly just typed up what the front of the container said was in this tea but when you actually look at the ingredients you'll see that this tea does in fact contain ... cornflower pedals.  To be honest I was split. the front says it has tea and bergamot but it also says, "Our version" which means I should have paid more attention.
Whether others will have this happen to them is not something I can comment on so I will not hold it against Tozy and instead blame myself.

So I moved onto the 5 minute mark and things changed a bit. The cornflower I was picking up on started to fade. The color and aroma also increased making it a better Earl Grey. I let the tea cool for a bit and what little cornflower flavoring was left pretty much disappeared. If you have read my Review Policy, you'll know I was happy to see it go given I'm not a fan of cornflower.

With results getting better with each steep, I brewed up another cup and just left the sachet in. The results were more in-line with what I look for in an Earl Grey. It was still on the light side but without the cornflower flavor.


For me I wouldn't re-steep because by leaving the bag in, there is nothing left. But if you don't mind a bit of cornflower in your Earl Grey, then 3-4 minutes, then 5.

Final Thoughts

I don't know whether to feel bad or to be happy. On the good side I finally found an Earl Grey with cornflower that I can drink. But only after over-steeping it which was probably not in the blenders mind when they created it. To end, if you are looking for a light Earl Grey with Cornflower from a company with a good conscience, by all means try this one.