Updated to add the number of this tea in Upton’s catalog as I was confused initially. In the Upton Earl Grey sampler it is named “Organic Earl Grey Lavender” but it has the same catalog number as Lavender Earl Grey (which also has a mark showing it is organic). So mystery solved, at least to my satisfaction.

This blend smells great dry. I love the smell of lavender, and that is the main thing I smell. It’s a deep, full lavender smell, which may be somewhat intensified by citrus. But I don’t smell bergamot here, or tea, really, for that matter. The addition of water tones down the lavender in the aroma, and seems to bring out a mild citrus note and a sweet black tea one.

The flavor is very nice, not too strong on the bergamot (which is how I like it) and the lavender is nicely balanced. The tea base is mild and unobtrusive.

It’s something I’d definitely drink again, though given the choice of a single Lavender Earl Grey, I’d pick the Samovar. The main reason is the tea base. The Samovar’s is delicious with a lot of character and depth. It’s far more present, but not in a distracting way; the lavender and bergamot are still clearly there. The Samovar is built more like a three-legged stool, where each of the three main components is equally important to the flavor. In the Upton the tea plays more of a foundation role, and the stars are two non-tea flavorings.

I just noticed that this was labeled no. 2 in the Upton Earl Grey sampler. Eeek, I’d better backtrack and taste no. 1!

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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.


Bay Area, California



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