Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review #54 - O Organics Earl Grey Organic Tea (bagged)

As you know I run this little part of the tea reviewing world in a fun relaxed "kinda" way. That means if someone/some company says they are going to send me tea I tend to modify the tea que if the next tea in line is something I bought. I just look at it this way, if someone is willing to provide a product for review free of charge, the least I could do is not make them wait...too long. Well this review kinda breaks that process because I may have 3 different people sending me tea. So as I wait, lets sneak one in.


The entire "O" box is wrapped in plastic and once opened you will be greeted by 20 individually wrapped bags looking exactly like the box. If only I was better at photography I would have created one of those picture inside of a picture inside of the picture, etc, etc, photos using the 20 bags. But I'm not so I ripped one open and took a nice deep breath and got.... nothing. And when I say nothing I mean absolutely nothing. I honestly believe the bag itself provided more aroma then the tea or bergamot. I was very surprised so I tried another bag and got the same result. To be fair we've seen how sometimes the aroma test I do really doesn't provide any insight into the final flavor but absolutely no aroma is just a bit weird.

If at this point you are scratching your head because you've never heard of the O Organics brand don't worry. The brand is an exclusive thing only found at a supermarket called Shaw's located in many of the New England states in the US. I've done some research but couldn't find the actual "creator" of this brand. What I can find is what they have on their site:

this line of goods earned the official USDA Organic Certified stamp of approval – a rigorous, and rewarding process to say the least. It all starts with carefully selecting producers who meet our extremely high standards for organic farming, and only partnering with those who share our commitment to sustainable practices, while promising to never use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics.
Update: @teaprincess50 was nice enough to alert me that O Organics can also be found in California at Safeway. After some quick searching I found the merger announcement.  Score one for the internet/social media.

With respect to their tea here are the ingredients straight from the box:
Organic black tea leaves, natural bergamot flavor. 
I think we all understand corporate secretes and such but knowing what kind of black tea would have been a nice touch. But that should not overshadow how much EGA likes seeing the organic stamp. Next stop, steeping times.

Steeping Method

Directly from the box:

...rolling boil...let steep for 3-5 minutes...remove teabag and enjoy

This means 3, 4, 5 and of course, stress testing.

The Result

At the 3 minute mark the tea was very light in color and very light on taste. The aroma appeared but
again, not like most other teas. I let the tea cool but no additional flavors came through. Simply put, at 3 minutes, there is very little tea flavor.

At the 4 minute mark things improved a bit. The color improved and started to take on that darkened color us Earl Grey drinkers look forward too. The aroma also improved but only slightly. The flavor on the other hand took a good step forward but only produced a thin and shallow taste. At this time the bergamot came through a bit and given how light the tea was sorta blended and balanced out. I again let the tea cool but things stayed pretty much the same.

That brings us to the 5 minute steep time. The colored darkened a bit more and the aroma definitely improved. You could actually enjoy the aroma and know for sure you were holding a cup of Earl Grey. Sadly the flavor was still very thin and provided no depth. It should be said it was balanced but that was it. After letting the tea cool a bit the tea did sweeten up a bit which added a bit more flavor but just to repeat myself, still very thin.

Which brings us to the stress testing phase of this review which this tea passed. Yup, I just left the tea bag in an kept drinking. To be honest, this is what produces the most, and I use that term loosely, flavor. It didn't taste burnt at all so I performed this test twice just to make sure and I hadn't messed up. No burnt flavor.


Given how you gain the most flavor by leaving the bag in, I cannot suggest re-steeping this tea.

 Final Thoughts

Initially I was pretty excited to have a local supermarket carrying an organic Earl Grey at a price matching the main stream companies. But as you can tell from the review, you really need to be a fan of very light tea for me to suggest this Earl Grey. I'm hoping this is their first step into the tea market and maybe they can improve the flavor as the brand grows.