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.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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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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