Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review #52 - Wize Monkey - Coffee Leaf Earl Grey Tea (bagged)

(theme to Mission Impossible in the background)
Earl Grey Addict, your mission if you so choose, is to review a tea that is not tea in the regular sense of the word AND doesn't yet exist on the market. This review will test all your tasting abilities, steeping tests and your ability to properly form a coherant, cohearant, corhearant, an easy to read review. If you accept this challenge you will be one of the first 50 people in the world to ever sample this tea. Good Luck EGA, the tea world is counting on you. This post will never self destruct.
(end theme)


I'm sorry but when Wize Monkey first contacted me for a review, I really didn't think anything of it. Then I found out they were trying to create a whole new genre of tea by using coffee leaves.  The whole story is on their site and worth the time it takes to come up to speed on this new concept. Then they dropped the real bomb on me by saying the Earl Grey they wanted to send me had not even hit the market yet. Seriously, it's not even listed on their website.  So I jumped at the chance and before I knew it, I had two bags of Earl Grey coffee leaf tea in my hands. I'm not going to lie to you, this is cool.

The rather large sized tea bags arrived in heat sealed plastic bags. As I have stated before, if a company is willing to send me tea for review I don't review the vessel it comes in. In this case the company is still in its infancy so that's all I'm going to say on the packaging. By the way, when I say "a rather large sized bag" I mean almost the length of my hand (wrist to nearly covering the pinky) and about the same width. When I opened the plastic bag I was met with an aroma I have never met before. Which makes perfect sense since I've never had coffee leaf tea before.

So I spent a bit more time then usual taking in the aroma because I didn't want to miss anything. To be honest I could barely pick up on the bergamot. I had to really hang in there and concentrate before I picked it up because the tea was just so strong. The reason for this as I have alluded too, is the leaves are made from coffee beans. If you have checked out their website you'll know all about the huge benefit this type of tea would bring to people who's financial stake hang on just one crop. Being able to pick the coffee beans and then the leaves from the same plant would provide some much needed financial support to those who may be supplying your morning coffee fix.

Steeping Method

Because of the communication I've had with the "founders" of this company I received a hand written note stating the following:

"We would recommend a steeping of 5min on this one to fully get the aromas." 

It was signed by non other then the CEO and COO, Max and Arnaud. (Ha I get to name drop)

So with two bags in hand I carefully considered what steeping time I would use for the second. I decided upon 6 minutes.

The Results

At the 5 minute time the coffee leaf overwhelmed the bergamot while still very hot. The flavor of the
tea itself is like a mix of black and green tea with some very fresh honey. I'm talking the kind of honey you get from a local farm and not some brand name jar that has been filtered and all the rest. The flavor is very unique and I liked it. As the tea cooled the bergamot gained a bit of ground but for me the balance was off. The coffee leaves were just so strong. As regular readers of this blog know I like a nice balanced tea and so far the leaves were winning this one.

So I tried the 6 minute time and this steep brought out more of the bergamot while also at the just brewed state. The balance was still missing so I let the tea cool a bit and that's when this tea came to life. The tea and the bergamot instead of being two distinct flavors joined as a good Earl Grey does. Knowing this would be my only attempt at this tea, I tried to make it last as long as possible. For me, this showed the potential of both this type of tea and it's ability to help create a good Earl Grey.


Could this tea be re-steeped? Being the diligent reviewer I did not shrug my testing requirements. I re-steeped both bags and sampled tea at the 5 and 6 minute mark. The answer to the question on my mind was, sorta yes. If you go 6 minutes on the first time and then 5 minutes on the second you will get a very light Earl Grey but again don't drink it right away. Allow it too cool.

Final Thoughts

Given how this tea tasted, I really think Wize Monkey has got something special. Would l like a bit more bergamot? Yes but that's just me. But as for the flavor, the ideas behind this tea, and the potential, I really hope Max and Arnaud continue what they have set out to do. Because if their website one day finally has an Earl Grey listed, I'd buy some.