Monday, May 9, 2016

Review #59 - Pique Tea Earl Grey Organic Black Tea

That sound you just heard was my review system going up in a mushroom cloud. That's right, the tea sent to me doesn't really fit into my system. For example, I normally stress test most bagged teas. Can't do that with this one. Re-Steeping is another thing I look into. Buzzed! Again, can't do that either. So why is everything so messed up? Lets get on with the review so you can understand why things are soooooo different.


As you can see from the photo there is no bag per say. Meaning there is no tea bag in the typical sense of the word because this tea has already been brewed and then crystallized. I guess you could call it powdered tea (Dare I compare it to Matcha?) but we'll stick with crystallized since that's the name Pique uses. To give you a sense of how small this package is I measured it. 3 1/4" x 3/4" at about 1/8" thick. On the front is their company name and the words Earl Grey. On the back Organic information and brewing directions.

As for the actual aroma, not much of anything which I guess is normal for this type of tea.  Given how small the package size is, there is little room for many details. So I headed on over to their website and grabbed the following:

Our delicious Earl Grey is made from the finest Organic and Fair Trade certified leaves from the world-renowned Idulgashinna Estate in the Uva region in eastern Sri Lanka. A really special area, at 3,300-6,500 feet in elevation, the Uva region receives tons of rain in winter very strong, dry winds in late summer. 

As I already touched on it, this tea is organic and sourced from Fair Trade certified tea farms so good on both points. So how do you make...brew...create.... this new tea? Lets find out.

Steeping Method

I will now present the shortest write up for this section of any review. Ready... because if you are not ready you will miss it.

                   Pour package contents into glass, add boiling water, stir and drink.

That's it.

The Result

So lets start with the tea itself and then discuss other matters. The tea has a good color and the aroma appears the minute the water hits the crystals. I would describe it as mellow, meaning it doesn't have alot of citrus to it but it definitely doesn't give off any form of perfume. The tea itself is just like it's aroma, mellow. The flavor is closely balanced weighted more towards the tea then the bergamot. Again I prefer a bit more citrus but this tea is exactly as they describe it on their site.

I let the tea sit for a bit and it pretty much remained the same as when I first poured it. As for complexity this tea doesn't really change all that much in the mouth. The first sip is very much like the last leaving a touch of sweetness. With the tasting out of the way lets talk how this tea may or may not influence the tea market.

Normally I wouldn't talk about such matters but given how quickly I was able to review this tea, I felt like I had the time and space. To begin, one of its strengths is the repeat-ability of this tea, the other is speed. As for steeping, it has to be one of the easiest I have ever tried. You don't need a pot to brew it in, you don't need to worry about getting the brewing time just right, it all just works and fast. Another positive is the package size and type. With most bagged teas the bag comes in a wrapper of some sort but some of them are paper and don't really hold up. The Pique "bags" could easily be thrown, yes I said thrown, into a backpack on your way out the door for a day of hiking.

Ironically one of it's biggest positives is also one of it's biggest negatives. Because the work of brewing this tea has been taken out of the equation you cannot tailor this tea to your liking. I did mess around with the amount of water in an attempt to change the flavor but my efforts only made it weaker. Also, because you need a certain amount of water to give the crystals room to dissolve going the other way is just not possible. Maybe a bit but, beyond that must start messing with their recipe.

Before I finalized my opinion I talked to a number of fellow tea drinkers and got their opinion on this new idea. Like me they were fascinated by the idea, thought it great for people just getting into tea but then paused because we all shared the next opinion. Part of the whole tea experience is slowing down and going through the whole process especially when having others join you. That is clearly missing from this experience. As one person pointed out, it very much reminded them of the instant coffee days.

So where does that leave us? As it always does, up to the individual to decided.


Again may just be the shortest entry I've put in this section. Ready?

Impossible. Nothing left to re-steep.

Final Thoughts

Wrapping this review up will be harder then most because Pique has created something rather unique. My engineering side likes to see people push the boundaries and try new things so this tea, as I said before, fascinates me. The results speak for themselves because it's a good tea that is beyond easy to make, and is very super convenient to handle.  But at the same time that convenience does take away from the experience and the ability to tailor the tea to your personal likes or dislikes. Either way, try it and see if it fits your requirements.