Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review #64 - Care Tea Early Grey (bagged)

So lets start this whole write up with the answer to the question that's on everyone's mind.....where have I been? I guess the cliff note version is this; Don't ever get involved in your son's Robotics Club never mind run it. Huh? I know, what does tea have to do with Robotics? Only that one totally takes over your life and doesn't allow for anything else. If that's all you need then skip the next part and head straight to the review. For the rest of you curious types hang on it's going to be a fun ride.

Last year after much prompting from many different people, I started a robotics club at my sons school. The principle found some funds and away we went. Our first year was a learning year and to be honest the team only wanted to play RoboWars. I.e. smash things together. Year 2 rolls around and the maturity of the team jumps up. After more instruction the idea of entering a competition is considered. We are given a green light and a local competition is found. From there we read the rules, built a bot and practiced alot all in about two and half months. Our plan, was try not to finish last. Not only did we not finish last but we ended up in second place after the preliminary rounds. We then ended up in 1st place after the finals round with another team. This qualified us for Regionals. In our 2nd act of pure panic, we upgraded our bot, practiced even more and at Regionals, finished 1st after the preliminary round, won the overall, ended up winning 3 trophys, and received an invite to the Vex Worlds Robotics competition in Louisville, KY.  Then things really got crazy. We were featured in a local newspapers, built yet another robot in order to compete at the next level, worked on getting funding (think GoFundMe), got our own logo, got shirts,  booked flights and hotels, and oh did I mention we had to build another bot and practiced alot? So there you have it, the reason for my absence.  The only thing bad about this whole affair, I still don't know whether Androids dream of electric sheep. Sigh. Onto the review.


The box is your basic TBDB variety and the bags found within come wrapped in a paper pouch. Once you rip one open you will not find any staples or snaps of any kind. As for aroma, there is some but I did notice how some bags had more while others had less. It's mostly a tea smell but if you linger a bit you can pick up some citrus. It was very light so I almost wonder if I was willing myself to get it. What is making this tea smell the way it does? From the box:
Fair Trade Certified Organic Black tea, Organic Bergamot. 

It should be noted that also on the side of the box is this: Care Tea is distributed by Numi Inc. Another nice bit of info is on the other side. There you will find the NON GMO label, the fair trade label and the USDA Organic label.  Needless to say I love seeing those. But we are not through. If you look at the bottom you will find information about Care Tea's Eco Care Audit which is not something you see everyday. If only all tea makers provided such relevant information.

Steeping Method

From their box and in a mere three words:
Steep 4 Mins
With only one time given I added 5 minutes and my typical stress testing.

The Results

To be fair I started at the 4 minute time. The color was light to medium, the aroma was alot more then when I first tested it and the first tastes were pretty good. As the box says this is a light tea and not one with an overwhelming bergamot flavor. As the tea cooled it gained a bit extra citrus which was a nice surprise.

Next up, the 5 minute steep time. As expected the color darkened up a bit more, the aroma grew a bit
and the flavor was a bit more balanced. The bergamot was more pronounced then at 4 minutes but I could have still used an increase for more balance. As the tea cooled and unlike the 4 minutes time, it didn't gain any citrus. It was still on the light side but still a good cup of Earl Grey.

That leaves only the stress test and guess what? It passed. Seriously, I left the bag in the cup for well over 7 minutes while I was testing and it was only after 8 or 9 minutes that I really started to taste a change in the flavor. To be honest this was my favorite. The bergamot was the strongest it was going to be, the aroma was stronger and the color was even darker. This was obviously not how Care Tea had intended anyone to drink this tea but I liked it.


Given the "hint" of bergamot to start I don't suggest a second step especially if you go with my stress test method. But if you really want to I would do 4 for the first and let it sit for the second. It will be even lighter but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

Final Thoughts

As the expression goes, this tea ticks all the boxes. Organic, Fair Trade, No GMOs, and the right packaging. They said right on the box, "A hint of bergamot orange" so it's hard for me to ask for something the tea is not. Yes I would have preferred a more balanced tea but that's not how they blended it. So if you prefer a lighter Earl Grey and like knowing exactly what is in your cup of tea, I would definitely give it a try.