83

Ah. There we go. This is the first in the series of Earl Greys in the Upton sampler. In my zeal to taste the lavender one, I didn’t see the little number that indicates this is the first in the group.

In the can, this smells like vanilla, then tea. The vanilla isn’t a pure, beany vanilla smell. It’s more the ice creamy/cream soda variety of vanilla, which makes sense given the word “creme” in the name. It does make me wonder whether anyone has done a pure vanilla Earl. (Note to self to be on the lookout.) Thinking back on it, I’ve mostly seen Earl Grey cremes, with or without the word vanilla included. I can smell a citrus note toward the end, which is where the bergamot seems to be hiding.

The tea’s aroma is very pleasing, creamy and citrusy, with an undercurrent of sweet black tea. I think I’m already noticing a trend here in the Upton Earls, which is that the bergamot and whatever else is flavoring the tea sit above the tea base as a foundation more than interacting with it.

V. nice flavor. Much better than the only other Earl Grey Creme I have had, which was by The Necessiteas. The bergamot is not strong at all, perhaps not even strong enough, though it does give a citrus accent to the creme that keeps the creme from running away with the tea completely. The primary flavor is the creme vanilla sitting on top of the tea.

I think I will try this at four minutes next time and see what that does to the flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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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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