Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review #63 - Wissotzky Tea Imperial Earl Grey (bagged)

"Houston we have a problem." Or should I say we've had a few problems? Either way I should apologize for taking so long to get this next review out. I did something different this time and gave my twitter followers the choice of picking my next review. I then planned to do the review during the Christmas break (Happy New Year everyone) which was not a good idea. Surprise, surprise, I was way busy and never got to it. Then we hit the next bump in the road and the review almost didn't happened. So after some thought, I decided to move forward. But before I begin I'm going to take a deep breath, and try not to rant.

The tea I am reviewing today was given to me by a friend. This friend is not an Earl Grey fan nor are they tea drinkers. But given the friend title they were nice enough to find and then pick this tea up for me after checking my site. I didn't think anything of it until the actual review began. With my apologizes to Wissotzky, I really feel the tea industry needs some standardization because this tea contains cornflower but it doesn't state that point anywhere except the back. To be fair I will raise my hand and say, "ok, I should have checked before I started this review" and admit fault. But the industry as a whole needs to settle on some distinct names. I saw the word IMPERIAL and didn't even consider looking at the ingredients because other Imperials from other tea houses don't have cornflower. My friend doesn't really drink tea yet if they had grabbed this and tasted it, they would have thought this is what Earl Grey is. With all of that said, you can probably guess how this review is going to go.


The box is a bit different then your typical TBDB because this one has this nice overlapping cover and no area at the bottom to push out for individual sales. Once you open the box you will find a foil pouch which holds all of their "silky pyramid tea bags". The aroma is not like typical Earl Greys because the cornflower changes things. I also wondered if the foil bag could be used to keep the bags fresh. After looking at the side of the box, it's apparent they did not design the pouch for that because they suggest you store it in an airtight container. As an aside, I think the amount of glue used to keep the tag stuck to the bag is too much. I ripped open 2 different bags until I finally learned to slowly peel it off.

So what is in this tea? From the box:

Selected Ceylon tea, cornflower blossom and bergamot flavor.   
You know what I am going to say about the word "flavor" so I'll just get it over with. Not knowing what is actually in my tea is not a good thing.

Steeping Method

From their box:
Pour freshly boiled water over the teabag, leave the tea tag out and allow to brew for 3-5 minutes or until the beverage reaches desired strength.  

The Results

At the 3minute mark I was met with a lighter color and aroma of a tea that has cornflower. I let it cool for a bit but the cornflower flavor didn't diminish.  The tea was definitely weighted towards the cornflower and tea and the bergamot got lost in the mix.

At the 4minute mark the color darkened a bit and the cornflower really took over. If you held the tea in your mouth for a bit you could just about pick up on the citrus. The tea was still unbalanced with the cornflower and black tea drowning out the bergamot.

At the 5minute mark this tea started to act like other teas I have tried that had cornflower. Meaning the cornflower flavor was starting to burn off. So I went to 6 minutes and even though I started to pick up some stronger flavors, burning maybe, I could taste the bergamot/ citrus a slight bit.


Given my preferences, I went straight to the 5 minute time for my first steep in an attempt to burn off
the cornflower and another 4 minutes for the second steep. What ever cornflower they used could not be burned off so my experiment didn't work.

Final Thoughts

Just to repeat, I almost didn't do this review because I went in knowing the results before the first bubbles ever formed in my electric pot. I'm not a fan of cornflower and I honestly believe that anything listed as Earl Grey should only contain two ingredients; Black tea and bergamot. If companies wish to try new things, go for it just please label them properly. If you like cornflower in your tea and don't mind not really knowing what ingredients are being used, try it. If you are more of a traditional Earl Grey drinker and believe you should know everything in your tea, then I would skip this one.