79

I think this is the last of my Simpson & Vail Earl Greys. It has a lot in common with the other two.

Usually I smell bergamot in Earl Grey dry leaf, sometimes eye-wateringly so, but whatever I smell usually smooths out and becomes must more mellow after steeping. I don’t smell bergamot in this dry leaf, unless it is the vaguely floral scent I’m smelling. I don’t smell citrus. I don’t really smell vanilla either. But I do smell a nice, solid, earthy black tea.

That tea also takes center stage in the aroma after steeping. It’s malty and sweet which makes me think there may be some Chinese black tea in the blend and I suspect there is some Ceylon because of the color. It has a deep red, almost garnet liquor. The description doesn’t say what sort of black tea is in the blend, but I am guessing it is similar to what is in the Earl Grey Aromatic, which contains both Ceylon and Chinese Blacks, as well as Assam and Darjeeling. I don’t get the heft of Assam here, but perhaps that’s the influence of the cream (even though I don’t smell cream).

In flavor, this is a tasty, sweet, medium-full bodied black tea with a floral note. Because I don’t really get a distinctive bergamot flavor, It doesn’t really taste like an Earl Grey to me, but then, neither did the S&V plain Earl Grey. I’m also not really tasting cream, which makes me want to do a side by side between this and the S&V non-creamy Earl.

Essentially, I have the same impression of this as an Earl Grey crème that I had of its sibling as an Earl Grey, which is to say I think the tea is lovely but it doesn’t really seem to meet the criteria for an Earl Grey, with the additional point that I don’t really get the crème either. Maybe my taster is off. I’ll try it side by side another time and see what happens. For now, rating it the same as its sibling.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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