1938 Tasting Notes

81

Round two of the Earl Grey side-by-side tasting! I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.

This is the tea I drank tons of throughout Argentina, and I almost forgot to include it in the tasting! This round was the more surprising round, as these Earls had very different characters. This was probably the most traditional one, and it holds up as definitely tasty. It’s a well-rounded tea, with a floral-style bergamot (not added florals, but that somewhat floral character that bergamot can sometimes have), with a citrusy aftertaste. This is a Ceylon base but it has a completely different character than the others from the first round. It seems a little different from a very traditional Earl, but it’s hard to pinpoint right now. Overall a top contender.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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71
drank The Earl Grey by teapod
1938 tasting notes

Another tea from the first round of my Earl Grey tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.

This tea seemed the most floral of the samples, but at the same time it also had a decent helping of citrus pith to the flavor. It has an intriguing flavor that’s a bit different from the more straight bergamot teas in the round, but I couldn’t quite suss it out in my small sample. This is one that I have 75g of, so I will definitely have plenty of opportunity to try it again.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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63
drank Earl Grey Special by TeaFrog
1938 tasting notes

Another tea from the first round of my Earl Grey tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.

This tea might not have really belonged here since it really isn’t a straight Earl Grey. It has not just citrus peels but also lemongrass and jasmine flowers in the mix. Nevertheless, it’s here, and it’s definitely a different flavor. This tea tastes almost spicey in comparison, which is a little odd (though looking back at a previous note I caught the spiciness before), but perhaps it’s the lemongrass adding that note. It’s also has the least inspiring tea base, which is not as flavorful and a little bitter. Definitely the weakest competitor in this round.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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64
drank Earl Grey Supreme by Harney & Sons
1938 tasting notes

Another tea from the first round of my Earl Grey tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.

This tea has the lightest bergamot flavoring by far. It is really most driven by the tea base, which has a pretty different flavor from the others since it isn’t primarily (or exclusively) Ceylon like the others. I’ve already detailed why I’m not very fond of this version, but this tasting pretty much just confirms that. Sorry Harney, you’re just not the Earl Grey for me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
wheezybee

Thank you so much for pointing me in the direction of your face/off! It’s really interesting to see how you faced some of the same problems I’ve been dealing with, and to read about your set up and preparation.

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83
drank Earl Grey by Joy's Teaspoon
1938 tasting notes

Another tea from the first round of my Earl Grey taste test. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.

This is probably my favorite from this round. The bergamot flavor was strong but not astringent, and citrusy without tasting like other fruits. It has a warm, rich flavor that integrates nicely with it’s base tea, which is smooth and tasty. I don’t have much of this left, so my next cup will not be a full cup unfortunately, but hopefully it’s enough to get a good sense of in in comparison to my other favorites from the test.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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76
drank Earl Grey Reserve by Tavalon Tea
1938 tasting notes

It’s the great Earl Grey tasting! I’ve been hanging on to small samples of various Earl Greys for a while now, intending to do a side-by-side tasting of them in the attempt to determine my favorite traditional Earl Grey that I have to keep around. On this rainy day it seemed like the perfect opportunity sit down and taste 10 different Earls. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them. All things considered tasting conditions weren’t optimal since I wanted only small amounts of each tea so I didn’t have too much, and as such they cooled really quickly. I think I’d like to take the top teas from this tasting and have full cups of tea under my normal conditions relatively back-to-back to really see how they play out.

Of the teas in this round, this one had the brightest bergamot flavor. It was crisp and clean and light, and the Ceylon base complements the bergamot well. It’s interesting that the Ceylon doesn’t give this one as much warmth and richness that I feel like it often brings. This and the Earl Grey from Joy’s Teaspoon had the truest, most unadultered bergamot flavor. I think this one is still near the top of the list when compared directly to others.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
1938 tasting notes

At home after being out in the cold rain, looking at possibly a couple of inches of snow tonight, still recovering from a cold, I wanted a pot of comforting tea this morning. This really is a nice vanilla tea. I like the rich, almost caramel notes complementing the vanilla, though for some reason (I use slightly too much water? it’s in a sachet?) it seems a little bit weak. Still an enjoyable pot of tea this morning.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Honey Pear by Golden Moon Tea
1938 tasting notes

Today has seen two new teas tried and one sample finished so far, so I decided that finishing another sample would be a good idea. I think my next course will be going through the remaining cups on each of my Golden Moon packs to figure out which teas from this company I will want to keep in my standards.

I am definitely still enjoying the dark, floral honey notes in this one along with the bright pear. I am definitely a fan of this tea, but how much do I love it? Golden Moon only sells it in a 4oz tin or a 1/2lb or more. I’m really not sure if I love this tea 4oz worth; that’s a lot of tea for me because it takes me a long time to drink through even teas I truly adore. If I could buy 2oz of this tea, I would probably pick some up.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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78

I’m slowly but surely trying to work through trying all the new teas I have as well as stash busting some old samples that have been languishing in my tea drawer. I cold steeped the rest of my sample of this one. It was pretty tasty, but I think it would benefit from a steeping time of less than 24 hours; the green tea was actually a little bitter, though the rest of the flavors were definitely tasty.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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68
drank Black/Green Exotic Fruit by ZenTea
1938 tasting notes

I was emboldened by my earlier success to go ahead and try the other teas from this company. This one I chose because the description noted almond in the addition to the fruits. A quick search yields that it is being sold under the name Pearl of Fruits by a couple of other retailers.

The dry leaf smells pretty much like generic tart fruit candy. I can also get a fairly distinct orange note from it, but not much else. Steeped, it has definitely mellowed, and now I do get a light nutty aroma joining the fruit (which is not so much orange now, more berry-ish). The flavor is pretty pleasant. Is it an almond/fruit blend that can stand up to Dammann Freres or even Harney’s Boston? No. But it’s drinkable, which is good. I’m not sure which “exotic” fruits are supposed to be in this—the description just mentions berries and orange—but they are melding together in a way that is difficult to tear them apart. I was hoping for maybe a bit of florals but I am starting to think I should know better with this type of tea; the fruit flavoring completely obliterates any florals that might have been. There is definitely a nutty, marginally marzipanny almond to this, but it doesn’t seem to work perfectly with the fruit flavoring, and kind of sticks out a bit. I can’t really taste much of the tea base, for better or worse. Overall, not a complete failure (like the unfortunate “Jasmine Lemon”/Macabeo), but not one I’d reorder.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-85: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
84-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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