Friday, December 7, 2012

Two Leaves Tea Company, Organic Earl Grey

Two Leaves Description:
The best Earl Grey teas begin with high quality full black tea leaves, which get their legendary flavor from natural bergamot oil - oil from a citrus fruit grown in Bergamo, Italy. This is an elegant cuppa' tea with tried and true flavor that ranges from a light citrus zip to a deep, smooth black tea.

Price: $7.95 for 15 sachets. Steep twice for $0.26 per cup.

This tea was part of the Complete Sample pack provided by Two Leaves Tea Company

My Review:
I love Earl Grey. It is my favorite flavored tea. I am also picky about it. The bergamot has to be strong enough I that I know this is Earl Grey without having to read the label. At the same time it cannot be so strong as to overpower the tea base. I want to taste tea. Two Leaves teas have been pretty good so far, let’s see if they understand a good cup of Earl Grey.

I tore open the clear plastic outer wrap and sniffed the sachet. The bergamot is strong and citrusy. I do not know from the label if this contains actual bergamot or if it is flavored but given the organic nature of Two Leaves I believe it is natural bergamot. (Edit Fact Check – according to Two Leaves this is natural bergamot)

I guess I need an explanation of what whole leaf means, as this is small cut pieces of leaf, not whole leaves. I steeped in boiling water for about three minutes. The instructions say four minutes but I have to be careful not to overdo black tea. The sachet really plumps up nicely. The smell of the sachet is bergamot and tea. This is promising.

The sip reveals a lighter touch on the bergamot than what the scent would suggest. My normal Earl Grey is by Ahmad but I use Twinings Earl Grey as the reference because most people whether they like it or not have tried it. Using Twinings as the benchmark, this is much lighter. It is stronger flavored than Ahmad No 1 (an excellent inexpensive tea). So if you are familiar with those teas you have an idea of where this fits in. The bergamot leans towards light lemon in flavor.

The tea base is definitely more flavorful than Twinings. This is not bitter. It is a more elegant Earl than I am accustomed to drinking as it lacks the bite of Ahmad. The astringency level is low enough it does not make you pucker. Yet it is drying. A longer steep might have brought out more bergamot but the trade off would be more astringency.

The second cup was steeped at 5 minutes and is even lighter on the bergamot but it is still present. The base stood out more. It is woody tasting and probably fruity but it is hard tell whether I am tasting tea or bergamot. There is still no bitterness or bite. I have tasted this base before I believe it is a rally smooth Ceylon tea.

All in all, while not my favorite, this is not a bad Earl Grey. It got high marks on Steepster.

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