Todd & Holland

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Recent Tasting Notes

77

Uh-oh. I thought I’d sipped this down. [Twilight Zone Music]

I was going through my tea to see what Earl Greys I hadn’t tried or otherwise had left and I found another sample packet of this. I must have gotten one with the Earl Grey sampler and another with another sampler, perhaps something like breakfast blends?

I’m going to count it as two separate sipdowns anyway since there are two containers. I’m enjoying this this morning. There was more of the mineral note than yesterday. I suspect it is a function of the bergamot oil somehow and that as the oil is more exposed to air and loses volatility the mineral note also gets weaker.

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77

Sipdown no. 53 for the year 2014. Dismissing the lesser nobility from the cupboard this morning.

In sum: prefer it to the triple, like the single slightly better, it’s a solid Earl Grey and a good alternative in case one in the pantheon becomes unavailable or otherwise falls from grace.

Flavors: Flowers, Malt, Metallic, Mineral

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 7 g 25 OZ / 750 ML

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77

Having said goodbye to the triple yesterday, I’ve moved to Mr. (Ms.?) double for this morning.

The first thing I wanted to check was the color, because I had this weird experience where the tea liquor seemed to get darker from triple to single bergamot versions, but then I decided it was probably either a fluke or just an inability to remember exactly since I didn’t put them side by side. The liquor in this one, today, looks the same color as in the triple version yesterday, or close enough to same to make me think that really was just a weird one-off color thing.

The tea base in this one tastes to me a bit richer and sweeter than I’d remembered it, more like the base in the single version. I don’t know whether all three versions share a base. I assumed they did at first, but there’s no reason that should be true.

However, it does make sense that the “lighter” the bergamot, the more the base would shine through regardless of whether it’s the same. That’s what I’m getting here.

Conclusion: the triple bergamot’s bergamot isn’t so much stronger as generally “more” in terms of balance between bergamot flavor and tea flavor, while the double lets the tea flavor through a medium amount and the single lets it through the most.

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77

After trying the triple bergamot yesterday, I thought I’d see if I could taste a difference between it and this.

I will say that sniffing the two packets together, there’s an obvious difference in bergamot level between the two. The triple gives off much more citrus/perfume. I didn’t smell that metallic note in the double.

I don’t have good enough olfactory memory to remember the steeped aroma of the triple while smelling the aroma of the double at the same time (it seems almost like trying to remember the tune to a song when other music is playing) but this has the same malty note as the triple and a mellow citrus as well. I called the color of the triple’s liquor reddish amber—this looks like cherry wood red (which makes me want to look at the triple’s color again).

The flavor strikes me as quite similar to the triple bergamot, but with perhaps less of that mineral note I found in the triple, which earns it a couple of additional rating points. What I like most about this blend as well as the triple is that the bergamot seems well-integrated into the flavor instead of sitting on the top.

As with the triple, there are other Earl Greys I like better, but that’s not because of the level of bergamot. I don’t find the level here overly strong compared to some I’ve tasted—perhaps that’s as a result of the integration factor I mentioned.

My preference has more to do with the tea base. There’s something that is, for lack of a better word, warmer in the base of the Earl Greys by Samovar and American Tea Room as examples, even those that don’t have a Yunnan base. I don’t know what the base of this tea is, but I believe it is the same as the triple bergamot, and from what I can find on the internet, it appears to be a blend. It has a bit of a bite, which makes me think there is Assam in the blend, and which could account for my preference as I tend to gravitate toward Ceylon and Yunnan based Earl Greys.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75

Sipdown no. 47 for the year 2014. 50 is in sight! I should definitely make it over the weekend, maybe even by the end of the day.

Under the light of my desk lamp, where I ordinarily sit when on the computer, the liquor today is redder than it looked in sunlight yesterday, closer to the way I described the liquor of the Double Bergamot. I think there must have been a steeping fluke on my first tasting that resulted in a lighter, yellower liquor.

In any case, though my Earl Grey pantheon is full, I will enjoy this while it lasts.

Flowery

You have a pantheon? Is there a single favorite or maybe a top three? I’d love to be an Earl Grey monogamist but haven’t started looking for ‘the one’ just yet.

__Morgana__

Haha. Yeah. My top EGs are Samovar’s EG and EG Lavender (which I don’t think they make anymore so I will be substituting the American Tea Room lavender) and then I have a vanilla, a rose, a chocolate, etc. and some runners up as well in those categories. Also like the ATR Lady Grey. The one thing I don’t have is a decaf but I’m not sure I need one. I don’t ever feel like drinking EG except in the morning.

keychange

what’s your favourite vanilla EG/EGC?

Flowery

Thank you! Those are vanilla, rose, and chocolate EGs? That sounds terrific too. So much for monogamy.

TheTeaFairy

I’ll jump in with a suggestion too, since I have found “the one” for me: Zen Tea Earl Grey Cream. So good. But then again, I’ve never had a pantheon of Earls in the house, so what do I know, lol!

__Morgana__

I see that my current favorite by rating is the Upton Vanilla.

__Morgana__

But now I want to try the Zen!

TheTeaFairy

But of course you do…

bluebelle

Jumping in to second the Zen Tea EGC! Two of my favorite blends are Harney & Sons’ Tower of London and Diamond Jubilee as far as fruit EGs go, but Zen’s is my favorite cream that I’ve tried. I’m still looking for “the one” myself, though, so I’m taking notes on these suggestions!

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75

I brought this with me on the drive down to work today. It’s pretty much the same as my assessment in my initial note, with the exception of the description of the liquor. I described that as dark amber. It’s really darker than that, more like a medium maple syrup color. I’m looking at it through glass as I was in the original note but under different light, and I think it is in fact a somewhat different color than the double and single versions, which looked darker to me.

Kirkoneill1988

morgana, i would like your help :) the smell of earl grey tea, is the main aroma of it (or the most powerful smell), lavender?

__Morgana__

Not usually. There are Earl Grey Lavenders that are scented with lavender, but the basic Earl Grey is black tea plus bergamot which is an orangy citrus fruit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange

pyarkaaloo

That’s it?? I thought earl grey’s were perfumed with potent doses of lavender after my nightmarish experience with the Earl of Tazo!

well that’s a relief..

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75

Given my previous statements about how I feel about bergamot in Earl Grey (basically that it should sit quietly and not interrupt) I cannot explain adequately why I even have this. My only explanation is that it is tea, and don’t we all want to TRY ALL THE TEA?

The bergamot scent in sample bag is strong, but not overpowering—a little on the perfumey side with something of a metallic note. The tea steeps to a reddish amber. Despite the triple threat, the bergamot isn’t overwhelming in the aroma and I no longer smell the metallic note I did from the dry leaves. The aroma is, in my view, very promising because I smell a malty note that I think means I’m going to like the tea base.

And I do, for the most part. There’s something about the taste that reminds me of the Tavalon Earl Grey Reserve. There’s a bit of a minerally edge that could be either raw potato or metal, but it isn’t nearly as strong as that taste in the Tavalon and there is, as well, a sweetish, malty note. I think I may have slightly underleafed and will try more next time.

The good news for me is that the bergamot doesn’t strike me as overly strong despite the name. That would also be bad news for someone looking for a really really strong bergamot.

It’s a nice tea. Not among my favorite Earl Greys, but I’ll drink the rest happily.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Rosehips

TRY ALL THE TEA sums things up very nicely, I think.

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80

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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67

Picked this up early on in my pregnancy when my usual black teas weren’t appealing to me and finally got around to trying it.

This tea is pretty yummy. Nice, watermelon flavor to it, handled a second brew well. Not too sweet but just right with some brown sugar splenda. Overall, a nice tea. Used the whole packet for one 16 oz mug and then rebrewed the next day. Would probably be great iced!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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94

I just love this tea. Such a creamy, delicious flavor. I want to buy a pound of it and drink it every day.

QueenOfTarts

How does this compare to other creamy oolongs you’ve had? I’ve been wanting to try this, but it’s awfully expensive! Is this your most favorite?

Dinosara

If you ever do buy a pound of it, I am totally begging a sample off you. I want to try this but Todd & Holland doesn’t seem to sell samples of it.

Shinobi_cha

Yeah, I just had a sample of this…but I agree…it was amazing.

Infusin_Susan

QoT, it’s very similar to ATR’s Milk Oolong. It’s creamier/less floral than thepuritea’s, yet very flavorful. I like it just as much as I like ATR’s, which is saying a lot! Dinosara, if I make a big purchase I will save some for you. Todd & Holland is in the Chicago metro area; I really need to visit the shop.

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94

This is delicious! So creamy and milky, and not overly floral. The milk flavors do not cancel out the taste of the oolong tea. Smooth and calming. Not too sweet, but not at all astringent or bitter. Full of flavor.

I will write more later, after I’ve had a chance to resteep this. My very first thought is this tastes almost identical to American Tea Room’s Milk Oolong. It even smells and looks like it.

Thank you, Todd & Holland, for the sample! I’ll be back to buy it.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Dinosara

Ooh, this one is a must try! I have wanted to try some of their other teas and now this one is going on the list!

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74

First! hehe So I got this nice little tea from QueenofTarts. Thanks!

I’m always looking for a nice caffeine free evening tea and I’ve had many positive experiences with honeybush, so this seemed like a winner when I saw it on her swap list. I’m pretty happy with this. There’s a subtle chocolate flavor. It tastes a bit roasty and a bit caramelly. I wouldn’t say it’s a replacement for dessert, but I haven’t tried it sweetened yet. Usually I only sweetened blacks and spice teas, though not always. I’m beginning to find the rooibos and honeybush take well to sweetener as well. Though my default is still unadulterated tea.
anyway! I’ll try it with a bit of sugar and milk when I get home and report back!

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72

A very delicious oolong. Nutty and mild.

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82

Another early morning for me, and I need this tea to make some attempt at waking up. Coming into work early with the hope of getting things done in the morning is not going to work if I’m half asleep during most of it.

There’s something about the really strong bergamot in this one that kind of jolts my mind awake, as if the bergamot itself was somehow contributing to the caffeine. No matter how many teas I’ve tried over the years, Earl Grey is still the best wake-up tea for me. Unfortunately, even the best wake-up tea take some time to kick in.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

I feel like a total zombie this morning because I was up late last night and early this morning. Ugh. Even my matcha couldn’t keep me going for very long. Enter, double bergamot! Before I had Lupicia’s Earl Grey this one was my favorite, and it’s still very good. Very bergamotty (natch), with a nice, malty-sweet base that is rich and actually stands up to that much bergamot. Don’t know that it’s going to wake me up, but it’s probably my best shot.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

Normally I don’t have an Earl Grey in the afternoon just because I like to have something lighter then, and use the time to have an oolong or some such. But I wanted to have this one in relatively short order after the Lupicia Earl Grey so I could compare them back-to-back.

I’m actually not entirely sure what the base of this one is because Todd & Holland doesn’t say anywhere on their site. I see now it says “a special blend” so who knows. Before I said it tasted like Ceylon, and that probably is one of the components. I’ve talked a bit about the flavors in this one before, but suffice to say that the bergamot is a little more floral than the Lupicia Earl Grey, but still never perfumy, astringent or bitter. I still really love this one, but I think I like the Lupicia one better! I am surprised because I didn’t think that’s how it would turn out. I think there’s something about the Keemun base on the Lupicia one that really rounds it out. Also that slight citrusy sweetness at the end of the Lupicia puts it over the edge. This one is a little brighter, a little rougher, which I guess is to be expected with as much bergamot is there is in it. If I am ever near their brick-and-mortar store I might pick up some more of this but as pricey as it is I don’t think I will order it online when I run out now.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

Today was an early morning and it’s going to be a long day. It’s also going to be a day mostly without tea… how am I going to survive?!

I decided to take this one on the go with me this morning sine it’s such a fortifying tea. Doesnt mean I feel awake right now, but at least the tea is tasty. This is quickly becoming my go-to Earl, which is saying something for me because I have so many of them. This one really stands out from the others in a good way. More than that, although I love plain Earl Greys I don’t often find myself reaching for them out of my own cupboard, I guess because none of them really grabbed me. But this one I look at the pouch and think, “I want that tea!” A sure sign of a keeper.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

I wanted to revisit this one and see if a second cup was consistantly as tasty as the first. I love the scent of the dry leaf on this one… the bergamot smells so sweet, not just bright and sharp.

Mmm, this is a great tea for bergamot fiends. Oh so bergamotty but not bitter or astringent. The bergamot is a nice blend of citrusy and floral, though today perhaps edging to the floral side of things… not a problem for me! The black tea base is rich and lovely and right up my alley. Looking back at my other tasting note, I think I added a bit more leaf than I did last time because I was on auto pilot… this tea only calls for 3/4 tsp per 6oz, so this cup was even stronger than usual! It is really strongly bergamotty, but still no bitterness to speak of. I should try to remember to keep the leaf amount lower for this one because I think then the base is more prominent and I like that balance a little more. Still, this may just be one of my favorite Earls.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

This tea comes to me thanks to Infusin_Susan! I wanted to try one of the new teas I got in our swap, and I chose this one because I wouldn’t have to fuss about with water temperature at home. The steeping directions on the sample packet were some of the most detailed I’ve seen. They also only call for 3/4 tsp of tea per 6oz cup, which is a bit low. I think that this is a strong tea and they know it. The bergamot just about knocks you out when you sniff the dry tea. Double bergamot and not kidding about it!

Steeped, the tea is still more bergamotty than most teas at this point, but it has decreased a lot. It’s joined by the smell of a hearty Ceylon base. This tea is for bergamot lovers only, but it is a good one. The bergamot is at no time bitter or astringent; it never gets that weird citrus-pith bitterness that comes out with some strong bergamots. This is a citrusy, lovely bergamot with a nice ceylon base that gives it a cakey feeling. The more I drink it the more I really like it. I have these bergamot candies I bought in Paris, and the after taste of this tea is like eating one of those candies. I’m interested to try this back-to-back with some of my other favorite Earls. Thanks again, Infusin_Susan, for the swap!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Infusin_Susan

Glad to hear you liked it! I’m not much into Earl Greys, so it’s good to see someone else enjoy it.

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53

Finishing up my stash of this from last year. This was one of my first non-Teavana tea purchases because it smelled like their white chai. This tea screams Christmas. I know they have a Christmas tea (that they sell all year round), but this really should be it instead (disclaimer: I’ve never had the other one). This tea is bold and spicy. A little goes a long way here and I find that I can’t drink this for too many days in a row or my tongue gets a little tingly (and not in a fun way) from the cinnamon in it. The second brew is almost better than the first since you’re not socked in the mouth by cinnamon.

This tea WILL leave a very stubborn lingering scent in any tin you use so proceed with caution there unless you plan to stock this forever. Seriously, I’ve washed the tin 3+ times now, let it sit with a baking soda paste overnight, and had dry baking soda in it for at least 2 weeks now and I can still smell spice. Almost tempted to keep buying it just so I can use that tin again but it’s just too strong for me much of the year.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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84

I found this tea to be quite pleasant! I’ve tried all of the almond cookie/biscotti teas that I know of and this tea didn’t taste that unique to me. I think that the black tea base was a bit stronger in this blend, but there was definitely a cookie aspect to the tea as well. There wasn’t much variation from other almond cookie teas I’ve had, but it was a yummy cup. Thanks to LefTea for the sample!

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87
drank Island Mango by Todd & Holland
215 tasting notes

I made a pot of this earlier and shared it with my fiance. It was his first time tasting it, and as I was pouring, he made the comment that it was definitely the most aromatic black tea he’d ever smelled (it smells very strong in the package, and he could smell it from about three feet away as I was pouring it). He was impressed with it, and I thought it was just as yummy as usual. :) Again, you can’t steep it that long, but done just right, it is the perfect afternoon fruity pick-me-up. _

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87
drank Island Mango by Todd & Holland
215 tasting notes

First, let me say thank you to LefTea for sending me this in a swap!

The loose tea smells AMAZING, like you’ve just cut up a bunch of fresh tropical fruits and made yourself a fruit tray. The leaves are small and curly, and the marigold flowers add a little pop of color.

The brew is lovely, dark and rich, with a very inviting fruity aroma. I find I absolutely CANNOT steep it for longer than 1.5 minutes, because after that the black tea gets very astringent and takes over the fruit flavor. Perfectly steeped, it tastes like summer, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t really taste “mango,” per se, but I’m okay with that, because I don’t actually care that much for mango. I give it a pretty high score, because it fits my tastes, but if you’re specifically looking for mango flavor, you should possibly look elsewhere.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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99
drank Key Largo by Todd & Holland
2 tasting notes

Dreamy is right! This blend takes me right back to the Keys with the slight yet sweet tropical favors. Definitely a summer fav and perfect over ice!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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