Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tazo Earl Grey

You should be able to tell by now that if I am out where tea is on the menu, I am going to go for the Earl Grey before anything else. So when my son forced me into going into a Starbucks against my will, I ordered my favorite blend. I was underwhelmed. If it said English Breakfast on the label I might consider it a passable cup of tea, but it doesn't. I detected no bergamot flavoring or oil at all. If it is in there it is in such small quantities as to be of no value. My first thought was the tea had been on the coffee shop shelf too long and lost its flavor but my son brought a box, he had bought elsewhere, home to try and the flavor was the same. It is strong black tea that leaves the standard black tea aftertaste but there is no citrus flavor to this blend. It might have made a pleasant iced tea but it is a not worthy of the name Earl Grey.

May 2012 update -
I just read on Tea for Today a similar experience with this tea. The author claims it is the result of stale tea. I am open to entertaining the idea that our Starbucks sells so little tea that it is stale. I wish you a better cup of tea than I have experienced.

September 2012 update -
A coworker went to a fancy smancy dinner party held by the company his wife works for, and Tazo is the tea they served. He grabbed some for me – I have a bit of a tea reputation at work :) I have tried this Earl Grey a half dozen times in the past, always to poor results. Apparently, our local Starbucks and Wal-Mart stores don’t sell enough for it to be fresh, as I have never, ever, and I mean never, smelled or tasted bergamot in this stuff. So, I open the envelope. It smells a bit peppery and of lavenderish bergamot. Hey, so far so good. I steep three minutes and added my sweetener (why put it off, I know I am going to do it eventually). Wait for it to cool. Waiting, Waiting. Take a sip and… flowery, lavender tasting bergamot! Hallelujah! Except, wait a minute… have I just crossed the line into tea snobbery? This tastes kind of like the paper bag. I mean it isn’t horrible, and its Earl Grey – with freakin’ bergamot flavor, but the tea base is paper flavored. It’s muffled like someone talking with their hand over their mouth. As the cup cools the bergamot pops even more but the base just never develops. This is the best cup of Tazo I have ever had, but sadly (or happily), I know this is just ok tea. I did like the bergamot. Glad I could finally taste it.

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