Sunday, February 19, 2012

Harney and Sons, Earl Grey Supreme

I received this sample sachet in the mail from a friend. The label says four black teas, SILVERTIPS and bergamot. The bergamot aroma when I open the envelope is nice. The tea in the sachet is very finely cut – almost powdery. That surprised me a bit. It may not be normal, as who knows what sat on top of it in the post office. I steeped this for 3 minutes in just boiling water.

I had read reviews of this tea before hand and kind of knew, how this tea gets interpreted depends on what level of bergamot one finds pleasing. On the one end of the bergamot scale I put the Tazo Earl Grey I bought locally, which I couldn’t detect any bergamot in it at all. (Turns out either this was very old or had been exposed to heat and sunlight) On the other end I place Empire Tea Services Earl Green, which is highly flavored and very floral. In fact I had to cut it with another tea the first couple weeks I had it, just too tone it down. Halfway between these two extremes I put Twinings EG. It is bright and citrusy. Ahmad EG has just slightly less bergamot but a nicer base flavor profile to my palate. On the same scale, Ahmad No 1. is halfway between Tazo and Ahmad EG. Harney and Sons EG Supreme I place just below No 1. on my bergamot scale. Confused yet?

Let me simplify - You can taste the bergamot, especially as the cup cools, but you have to be paying attention. If you are looking for that citrus blast, then this tea will be quite disappointing. For that reason I wish H&S’s would have left Earl Grey out of the name and just called it Supreme. As a lightly flavored black tea this is really good. It is rich and malty. The bergamot actually supports the base instead of the other way around, and it does an excellent job of it. I do find this slightly astringent, like an Assam, as it leaves me with a bit of a dry mouth feel.

Earl Grey? Not on my bergameter scale. Wonderful lightly flavored black tea? Absolutely.


  1. I really enjoyed this review because I am a serial earl grey drinker and when I tried supreme earl grey I went "what on earth is this because it isn't earl grey" so I am glad someone else had the same reaction!

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I wasn't entirely sure I was being fair to this tea, given the reviews I read elsewhere. I considered that it might have been a tainted sachet similar to my Tazo experience (turns out fresh Tazo isn't the worst earl grey). So glad to hear from a serial drinker that I got it right.

      What is your personal favorite earl?