drank Smooth Earl by Compass Teas
862 tasting notes

One of my various goals in life (shared with a lot of others, judging from the many discussion topics on Steepster) has been to find that elusive perfect Earl Grey for my palate. Given my preference for vanilla flavors in anything, I’m focusing my Earl Grey search on the cream variety.

I ordered this one as a part of my massive Compass Teas order recently, and the first thing I did was compare it with Upton’s version, which I’ve got a ton of still and which the boyfriend uses as his work tea. Ugh, I am so jealous he has the time to even steep and mess with loose leaf at work. The perks of an office job!

I’ve had a pretty limited experience with EGC so far – Teavana’s and Upton’s. The Teavana EGC was WAY too strong on the bergamot smell more than anything – it was really overdone. It gave me a headache to have any more than one cup, even though it tasted okay. The Upton pricepoint and non-headache inducing quality was what made me choose what I’ve been drinking ever since.

When comparing this to Upton, the Compass EGC was actually much more vanilla/cream heavy – I’d never noticed before but Upton’s Earl Grey has almost a lemony note mixed in with the bergamot. From smell alone, this is looking pretty good!

My biggest problem with Upton’s earl grey when steeped is how dingy it looks. It has a thin mouthfeel and when I add milk (whole milk, mind you) it turns greyish and still is really flimsy in texture. I was worried about whether this would be just a general characteristic of all Earls, because texture is a deal breaker for me. I can’t do a tea, no matter how nicely flavored, if the mouthfeel is flat. And from what I remember of the Teavana variety, it also seemed to be a bit weak on texture – though that could have been because there was SO MUCH flavoring it was overwhelming the base.

Luckily it doesn’t seem to be a problem here! There is no dishwater look to the tea when milk is added (I wonder if that was from the added flavoring used in the other one?) and it has a nicely full body! Cream is stronger than bergamot here, which is perfect for my preferences. It did well with sugar or without, and played nicely with milk. Yay for a well rounded tea!

And double yay for having several ounces of it to enjoy!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "


Medford, OR

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