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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown, 140. I overleafed this one a tad, but it still turned out pretty well. If anything the bergamot was a bit overly strong (and if I’m saying that, you know it must be way strong), but it mellowed as it cooled. Not too sad because I ordered more of this through the crowd funding campaign. A nice, well balanced Earl.
Thanks again to Justea for this sample. I was excited to find out that one of the samples that they were including was an Earl Grey, since as many of you know I love Earl Greys and have tried many of them. I am a lover of a well-bergamotted Earl; no light scenting here, please.
Based on some comments from K S I tried this one with a bit less leaf, 1.5 tsp for 12oz. Of course I don’t know whether due to that or if the bergamot is serving to cover up some of the astringency that I found in the base tea, but this tea was DELICIOUS. What a fantastic Earl Grey.
It reminds me a bit of my fave Earl, Lupicia’s. The bergamot is strong but never gets that citrus pith-y bitterness. Instead, it hits all the good-beramot notes: citrusy, slightly floral, bright and crisp. Here, the base is smooth and slightly sweet, which I love in an Earl. A rich, malty base pairs perfectly with bright citrusy bergamot. I didn’t find this astringent or bitter at all, just extremely tasty. This is a tea that I definitely want more of. Guess I better get in on their latest crowdsourcing campaign so I can get more of this tea: http://www.justea.com
I have no idea if this is good chai. I rarely drink it. I don’t hate chai. I just don’t get it. That being said, the leaf is interesting to look at. The dry leaf is clove and pepper scented. Hot and no additives this tasted like spicy apple cider to me. I like that. As the cup cooled I added a splash of milk and now it tastes like chai.
Not a very good review but you got to work with what you got. I loved the earl grey and the black tea so I assume the quality level is the same.
Thank you Justea for the sample. By now you all know of their campaign to build a processing kitchen in Kenya. If somehow you missed it check them out on Facebook.
thanks for sharing more of this with me Cavo! I’m still undecided as to whether i need this in my cupboard full time. it’s a lovely black tea that isn’t bitter, has a bit of a sweet note to it depending on how long you steep it and overall i really like drinking it. I also really like what the company is trying to do. On the other hand, there are a large number of blacks that i prefer over this one simply because i have had a great many types of black teas haha. I think, this will be a rotation in to my cupboard from time to time though, because i’d really like to continue supporting the work the company is doing. :)
i had this first thing in the morning which seems so long ago that i can’t even think. I was hoping to get some tea in to me today but it’s been one thing after another with work today. I did however get to enjoy this cup again courtesy of Cavocorax this morning with my bagel, the only thing i’ve managed to eat today! soo tasty! and i still have another cup to enjoy later :) thanks cavo!
sipdown! i really need to try the other teas from justea as i have enjoyed this one. It doesn’t top my list of blacks, but it is a solid cup of black. a little astringency but nothing that makes it undrinkable. mmmmm nice afternoon tea before dinner time. though i should probably stuop with the caffeine given that i need to go to sleep and then get up again at 3:30am for testing heh
Justea sent these samples out to help out with part of their crowdfunding. They’re doing great things, so take a moment to check out their website! I opted to try this one first, though they were kind enough to send 2 others to me. Before trying their flavoured teas, i wanted to take a moment to enjot the straight black that they sent, since i believe it’s the base of their teas.
This is not a malty tea like others i’ve tried, but there is a good deal of body here to hold my attention. There is some astringency to this, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a morning cup of tea.
I drink my teas straight, but i can see this being a great morning tea with a little milk and sugar. Overall, a great first impression from Justea!
http://www.justea.com/ has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support farmers in producing their own tea, thus sold farm direct for fair trade prices.
I found this Kenyan black to be very fresh tasting, yet full flavored, malty, robust with cedar wood and cocoa notes. There is a light to moderate level of astringency present which I wasn’t into personally. however I enjoyed the freshness!
BTW, this tea is very good with dry chocolate biscuits. It just complimented the tea and made the astringency go down.
Full review on my blog, the Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2013/09/17/kenyan-black-tea-justea-oolong-owl-tea-review/
This isn’t your granny’s earl grey, but she’d like it is you shared with her.
The whole experience is richer, darker and maltier than your average earl grey. The flavouring also sits differently than your average EG. The first flavour you get is the malty tea, followed closely by the citrus flavour, the real earl grey citrus, floral and sweet flavour come near the end of the sip and stay on your palate.
The whole experience is like the first days of fall, the sun and flowers are still around, but the coziness of fall sweaters and reading books by the fire is also present.
Here’s certified Tea Sommelier Brendan Waye talking about the Kathryn Earl Grey. Make sure to use less leaf when drinking the tea without milk.
When JusTea sent me this several weeks ago I was really excited by the prospect of trying an Earl Grey with a twist and it killed me not being able to review it yet. Earl Grey has been a favorite of mine absolutely forever, but because it is a favorite of mine I have very high standards.
Honestly, I didn’t like this tea at all in the beginning, it took quite a few cups for me to appreciate the differences the Kenya Black base brought to the table. There was a sweetness that I’m not accustomed to finding in an EG and the flavor was much more malty that I’m accustomed to. The familiar citrus flavors from the bergamot were there as was the slightly drying effect I generally associate with EG. What I loved was that this is no shy EG, it really packs a wallop, which may not appeal to everyone; however, I love a good strong cup of EG on a cold day like today.
My biggest disappointment with this tea, and one I had with the Kenyan Black as well, is that it just does not resteep well. I was only able to resteep it once and would love to see some improvement in that area.
One thing that I think is important to note is that the steeping instructions for this tea are slightly different than I am accustomed to using with a black tea and Earl Grey in general. It calls for a much lower temperature (195°F) and 2 teaspoons of leaf per 12oz. I double checked and all of the Earl Greys in my cabinet call for either boiling or near boiling water. For anyone who is having trouble with astringency, try dropping your steeping temperature and see if that makes a difference.
I would like to thank Tyrone at JusTea for sending me this sample. I hope you will all check out their crowdfunding campaign which launched on 16 September to raise the necessary capital to allow them to work with Kenyan farmers and provide quality “Direct Trade” tea to the masses and improve the quality of life of the farmers providing you your tea. You can find more information on their website http://www.justea.com/ you can also check out my full review of Kenya Black, which was used as a base for this tea on my blog
Sipdown, 126. I drank the last of my sample pouch of this today. I do still have two individual small samples of this, but those are the spread-the-world “gift” pouches that I am supposed to pass on to others, so I will save them for future swaps, and I am counting this as a sipdown.
I had it with a bit of maple syrup, which was divine. I still think I probably shouldn’t drink assams (Kenyan teas being the C. sinensis assamica varietal of the tea bush) on a nearly empty stomach (with just some cereal) because my stomach wasn’t too happy with me after a pot of this. Still, it was quite tasty. Thanks again to JusTea for this sample… I just saw that they have some neat Christmas gifts on their site now, if you missed the crowdsourcing campaign they had earlier!
It turns out that 1.5 tsp of tea for 12oz, versus the 2 tsp that I usually use, is really the magic amount for this tea. I found it tasty but slightly astringent the first couple of times I had it using the latter measurements, but today I tried it with 1.5 tsp and there is no astringency to be had. Perfect!
However, at this point I’m not bumping the rating because although this is nicely malty with light sweetness and no bitterness or astringency, there is also some other note in there that’s not really optimal for me. I do think it’s an assam-y note in general, although I haven’t tried a lot of straight up assams yet. It’s maybe a hint of fruit? Almost floral, really. It sounds like a note I would like, but for whatever reason I don’t. I’ve come across it before, but can’t ever quite put my finger on it. I think that with the Kathryne Earl Grey with this base the bergamot masks it, which is why I like that one so much. Glad to have tried this one, though, and I’m very grateful for the samples.
Thanks to Justea for providing this sample for review. I am pretty picky these days about teas and I no longer jump on every offer for free tea on the forums. But this company stuck out: working to bring a sustainable, whole-leaf tea processing company to Kenya, whose tea farmers grow most of the worlds’ tea (!) but see basically none of the profits as their product is chopped up into tea for bags. I have a soft spot for the fact that it’s Kenya, too, because I have spent some time in East Africa and the people there are so wonderful and really deserve a better option.
I tried this tea when I first got it because I couldn’t wait until the crowdfunding effort went live, now accessible at http://www.justea.com . At the time, I remember that it was malty and a bit sweet, but also with a decent hit of astringency. I think this astringency characterizes African teas in general, and more broadly it applies (for me) to most assams, which makes sense because the tea bushes in Africa are of var. assamica.
I steeped this one for a slightly shorter time than recommended (but at the recommended temp) and it has definitely toned down the astringency a bit. There’s pretty much no completely removing it, but it’s actually desirable for many people (usually described as “briskness”). The cup is a bit malty, with some cocoa notes in the nose but not really on the palate. There is definitely a slight fruitiness to this tea as well, perhaps a bit of stone fruit. Overall a very nice tea, and one I would highly recommend for lovers of a brisk morning cup. I can’t wait to try the Earl Grey that I also have from this company.
A tasty, brisk tea to help you wake up in the morning!
For pictures, and my full review, please visit:
Realized how far I am falling behind in my class that I was ahead of every one else in until I caught the lazies. So today I went to the library and watched all the required videos. Still have to download some example pdf’s and I have two assignments due before Wednesday that will require a ton of research and work.
Walked in the door at home exhausted and knew I needed Earl Grey to help me relax. This is a wonderful version. Not heavy on the bergamot and lots of emphasis on the Kenyan base. Really like this one.
The tea helped but I made the mistake of checking my FB page before coming here. Please bear with me as I vent. Trouble in the praise team is brewing. Ladies, no offense, but in general you are really hard for guys to work with. With guys you just tell them to stop being a jerk and get over themselves – and they do and even if they don’t that’s usually the end of it. Drama and having to constantly calm people down wears thin after a while. The lady involved knows she is behaving terribly but that doesn’t seem to stop her. I’m not in charge so I am not sure why this has become my issue to deal with. Arrgh! Give me strength.
I love it when you wake up and don’t have to debate with your sleepy head on what tea you will start with today. I could smell this before I even got up (metaphorically – cause the tea elves in my home don’t make it to suit me). Filtered my water and prepared a bagel while steeping, now its sippin’ time.
I love the smoothness and the fruity/floral aspects of the bergamot. This really hits all the right buttons for me.
I found out in a comment of my first review that this is named to honor a 93 year old grandmother – so here’s to you Kathryne!
I love Earl Grey and I have some very definite ideas of how it should taste. I have a rule about it when reviewing – if it is anything but tea and bergamot you better call it something else or I will complain. If you change the name I will cut you some slack and judge it on its own merits. This tea passes on both ends of my rule. It is Earl Grey but the name change suggests to me there is something different about it. Thank you Justea for this subtle but important attention to detail.
My normal everyday earl is Ceylon based, which I believe to be the standard. I like my bergamot front and center. I don’t want to have to search for it but don’t overwhelm me. I do demand balance. I want to taste the tea as well. Some tea companies call their tea earl grey and overemphasize the base or the bergamot. Justea once again pays attention to the details and balances this blend nicely.
This particular blend using the Kenyan base is malty and smooth, yet slightly drying. It does not have the throat grabbing bite of the Ceylon standard. This is why I appreciate the name Kathryne, it suggests a softer, more gentle approach to my beloved tea.
The bergamot is very well suited to the base. By my standard it is not overpowering. The flavor is balanced between floral and fruit but I would say leaning towards floral. It is not perfumey or fake tasting. Nicely done.
After sipping this hot, I iced it down and found it to be very refreshing. This takes sweetener well. I greatly enjoyed this one. Thank you Justea.
For those who may have missed it – Justea is a non-profit organization attempting to break the cycle of poverty that too many tea farmers face by teaching them to process their own leaves and selling direct.