Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review #60 - Bromley's Earl Grey (bagged)

You can thank my youngest because he is the one who found this tea when I wasn't even looking for one. I believe we were at one of those "We sell everything for your kitchen" stores. You know the type of place I'm referring too, it's the one that would make Alton "I hate uni-task-ers" Brown scream in pain. So there we were getting something, and that's when my youngest called me over. "Dad, I found an Earl Grey, have you reviewed this one yet?" Which I replied by giving him a High-five and answering, "No, No I have not, great find. "

Next up, as an engineer and someone who has written his fair share of code, I need to employ a technique in my reviews often used in Software Development. It's called Code Re-Use. The process is quite simple,  you re-use code you have already written because why should you re-invent the wheel when you have already done so.  To make things easier I will no longer review the box the tea came in if it fits into what must be a industry standardized box. After some internet research I found most places call it the (drum roll)  Tea Bag Dispenser Box. So from now on I will only refer to it as the - TBDB -. Hey if Rachel can call Extra Virgin Olive Oil, EVOO, I can do the same with boxes.


The tea comes in a TBDB and was sealed properly because none of aroma could be detected. Once opened you will find each tea bag sealed in its own foil that looks like the side of the TBDB. After ripping open the foil I was met with a fair amount of bergamot. Meaning I could smell it before I even put my nose close to it. When I did take a deep breath I'd call the aroma deep with a bit of linger. Meaning the aroma doesn't dissipate quickly.  What I could not pick up on was the tea. In this case the bergamot was all that was coming through.

A quick look on the bag will give you the ingredients:
"A fine blend of Black teas flavored with pure Italian bergamot oil"
To see if I could get more information on the ingredients themselves I headed off to their site. Regarding the tea I found nothing extra. what I did find if you look around their site enough is a recipe for Earl Grey Truffles. I'd post it here but I don't want to break anyone's copyright. So in this case we have to hope both the tea and oil are sourced properly and are natural in origin.

Steeping Method

A quick look to their box provides brewing suggestions:
"Bring fresh water to boil. Pour the steaming water over the tea bag. For optimum flavour, let it brew 3 to 5 minutes." 
That means I will follow their suggestion and then do my typical stress test.

The Result

 Starting with the 3min steep time, you obtain a very light colored cup with a more balanced aroma.
The flavor is very much on the light side. It's balanced but there really isn't much to it. I let it cool to see if things would improve but they didn't.

Moving on to the 4min steep time saw the color darken up a bit and a bit more flavor to enjoy. The aroma remained about the same but at least the flavor improved. That was the good part, the bad was the flavor. Yes it was still on the lighter side but what really struck me was how plain, or bland it was. The flavor was definitely Earl Grey but it really didn't make me sit up and take notice. Again I let the tea cool and this time I did get a hint more citrus but nothing that swayed my initial opinion.

That left me with the 5 minute steeping time. Just like before the color got darker, the aroma became more pronounced and the flavor increased. But, the flavor itself didn't improve, it was just more of the same. For the last time I let the cup cool in hopes of coaxing something extra out of this tea but in the end, nothing really changed. Meaning there was no complexity.

Which brings me to my stress test and guess what? I have found another tea you can just leave the bag in the water. I tried it twice to make sure and in both cases the flavor increased a bit beyond the 5 minute steep time but never really went beyond.


Given the nature of this tea, I personally would not re-steep. With such a light flavor to begin with there really isn't alot left for a second cup. But, if you must, I would go 4 minutes, finish the 1st cup then just put the bag back in and leave it for the second.

Final Thoughts

After looking around the box and the company site, I couldn't find any description of what kind of Earl Grey this was suppose to be. So I will assume (scary thing to do)  it's a light Earl Grey and treated it that way. If I'm right this tea will work for those who like a light Earl Grey. For people like me, this is a Rose' in a Merlot world and not something I would buy for myself. But if you like this type of Earl Grey, I would try it for yourself. And remember, if you do try please leave a comment so fellow Earl Grey drinkers can learn from your experience.