Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review #51 - Taylors of Harrogate - Earl Grey Leaf Tea (loose)

Before we begin, I mentioned in the previous review that I was adding a suggestion page that would also show what is in my review que. I'm happy to report that it is up and running which means you can now be part of the process. So if you have a tea you would like to see reviewed, let me know. Since I am but one man with limited resources, and you are the internet, don't be afraid to get out there and find new teas.

By the way I shouldn't have to say this because it should just be automatic, but if you find it/suggest it, you will be given attribution in the review. Now off to the review.


It's probably some form of M.C. Esher illusion thing going on but the Taylors container looks huge. So being the typical engineer I compared it to some of my other boxes. Funny thing though, it's actually shorter then some of the tea boxes I have in house and it's width isn't that much bigger either. Like I said, it's an illusion. As for the box well it's not, it's actually a tin that is sealed with a plastic wrapper around the cover. Once removed, and you take the cover off,  you will find a sealed bag matching the color of the cover; lets call it gold. Upon opening this bag I was met with tons of aroma. Then again with a 125grams of tea in the bag aroma is something there should be plenty of, and there was. As to its smell, it was not the typical citrus filled aroma I look for. This was a restrained smell like someone took the high notes off the smell and left only the low notes. Almost like it had already been brewed and cooled a bit all while retaining it's freshness.

So what is in this tea? From the bottom of the container:
Ingredients: Black China tea, natural oil of bergamot.
 Two remaining points.

The first, the bag which holds the tea can be re-used. It comes with a plastic tab covered with adhesive. If careful, after taking some tea, you could roll the bag down and use the tab to hold it together. I've see this before and it works pretty well. I like to see this added feature because it allows people who have yet made the full jump to loose tea the chance to keep their tea fresh. Too many of the teas I've reviewed have a bag that once opened, will need to be transfered to an appropriate container or have your tea go stale.

Second, I could be drinking the same tea the Queen of England drinks.

we are loyal suppliers to the royal household and are proud to bear the Royal Warrant, the ultimate stamp of quality.

Steeping Method

Directly from the box:

Use a warmed teapot and add one teaspoon of tea per person and an extra "one for the pot". Add freshly boiled water and infuse for 4-5 minutes. 

That means we'll be testing 4 and 5 minute steep times.

The Results

Starting with my normal 4 minute time I found alot of flavor right after it was
brewed. The color wasn't the darkest I've seen and to be perfectly honest I thought I had messed up on the brew time. I repeated the whole process and got the same result. The flavors were balanced and really worked together. But the thing I wasn't expecting was how it changed as it cooled. With some teas I let them sit to allow things to mix and create complexities, but this tea was reversed. This tea was made to drink right after brewing. When it cooled it actually mellowed a bit.

I then tried the 5 minute steep time. The color darkened a bit but remained on the lighter side. Again as it cooled it mellowed losing some of it's complexity.  The balance in flavor remained even though there was more of it to be enjoyed. Now before you accuse me of forcing you to drink piping hot tea, let me state, I'm not. What I am saying is, you can start enjoying this tea right from the beginning. While some teas take time to balance out, this tea is ready to go the minute it is poured from the pot. Not to mention the mellow flavor is not bad just a touch less in overall flavor.


I'm happy to report you have two options. If you like the 4 minute time for your first steep, then go with the 5 minutes on the second. Now this may sound strange but if you like a first steep of 5minutes then go 4 minutes on the second to avoid any bitterness. Either way the quality of  this tea really shines through with it's ability to re-steep.

Final Thougths

If what their site says is true, this is Royal level Earl Grey tea. The flavor is balanced independent of which steep time you choose. The aroma is deeper then most but still very fresh. Overall, I'd say you really should try it yourself because I'm guessing you will probably like it.