Thursday, November 21, 2013

Simple Loose Leaf, Lady Earl Grey Black

Simple Loose Leaf Description:
Our very popular Earl Grey blend of citrus bergamot over an extraordinary Nilgiri Black Tea with the added indulgence of Vanilla. This mouthwatering combination is the perfect invigorating treat. For the famed "London Fog" effect, add steamed milk and enjoy a smooth and creamy delight.

South Indian Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea, Earl Grey Flavor, Vanilla Flavor, Cornflowers

Sample provided by Simple Loose Leaf

My Review:
OK, here's the deal. Simple Loose Leaf has set up a subscription system allowing the customer to pick what teas they will receive. You select the number of teas you would like and the quantity, Simple Loose Leaf then mails one tea per month. If you order beyond a certain amount the shipments are front loaded - meaning you will receive more than one tea per month. It sounds a bit confusing but it really isn't once you read their explanation.

The selection is good and the teas are reasonably priced. In fact the larger your subscription the more discount you receive on the cost. That is all well and good but only if the tea is worthy of being ordered. Let's see.

I received two teas this month. Vanilla Decaf Black for my wife and I to share and this Lady Earl Grey Black tea. As I cut the top off the package, I noticed a faint vanilla fragrance before actually pulling open the recloseable zip strip. Then as I got into the pouch I saw what I at first tought was a hole in the package. My heart sank. Then I realized it was part of a port in the back of the pouch. The apparent purpose seems to be to remove the air from inside the bag. I have never seen this before. It is a pretty cool idea.

The tea leaf is dark small twists with gold and blue petals. I used a scoop of leaf or about 3-4g in my press with water heated at 200F. I probably could have used full boil. The steep was three minutes.

The result is a dark orange liquor. The wet leaf is much larger pieces than I was expecting. My guess is this is orthodox produced leaf rather than CTC. The aroma is vanilla and very inviting.

The vanilla is to me the most noticeable flavor. The bergamot once you stop to analyze what you are slamming down becomes obvious. It is not perfumey or too citrus. From what I'm tasting, I suspect I would greatly enjoy their Earl Grey.

The Nilgiri black tea is smooth. There is a slight tartness but that may be from the bergamot. It is also slightly drying and that may be the vanilla. While it is difficult to single out the base this feels creamy and full.

This is called Lady Earl Grey not to be confused with Lady Grey by Twinings version. This is not the Twinings version. This is a very nice Earl Grey Creme.

If I have a real complaint it is that I wish the vanilla were just a bit toned down so the other elements could stand out. That is not a valid complaint though as I have said that of every vanilla and bergamot tea I have ever tried.

As I was typing this review I finished the first cup and immediately started a second. Except, oops, I forgot to pour it. So cup two has steeped 10 minutes! with full boiling water. The color is interesting depending on the light it is either deep caramel or nearly crimson. Amazingly the long steep has not hurt this at all. In fact I may prefer the second cup. It seems smoother and deeper in flavor. A very nice cup that did not turn bitter.

I am very impressed with the packaging and the leaf quality. This Earl Grey creme otherwise known as Lady Earl Grey is well worth the price.

Since designing my own subscription I notice you can now order tea in 1oz, 2oz, & 4oz increments as well as sample sizes.

Visit the Simple Loose Leaf site.

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