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 got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. 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 write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with 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. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

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

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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