Sample package label:
“Organic high grown estate black tea hand blended with fragrant oil of bergamot and a hint of French Vanilla. Fresh citrus notes followed by a rich and robust finish complete this remarkable blend. Ingredients: Organic and Biodynamic Black Tea, organic cornflowers, organic oil of Bergamot, natural flavors. USDA Organic – Caffeine: Medium Steep 3 – 5 minutes – Fair Trade certified”

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled, left to stand so only steaming hot

1 heaping Tevanna teaspoon: (After yesterday’s tasting of The Tea Merchant’s English Breakfast.)

This tea has a fragrance that’s different than classic Earl Grey.

Somewhat darker reddish hue than yesterday’s English Breakfast

First 5-min Infusion:
Stronger vanilla + citrus aroma followed by a smooth, rich & full- bodied taste. There’s also a note of cinnamon. There was zero hint of bitterness. There is almost no astringency, as compared to our current Earl Grey Cream from Whistling Kettle. Initially, I did not notice any. As the cup began to cool, there was a mild sense of it. The taste of lemon lingers long on the tongue.

2nd 5-min Infusion:
I was surprised that the French flavoring was still present.

Impression: “It’s complicated.” The unspecified additional natural ingredients that give this Earl Grey its rich full-bodied taste are stronger than the classic Oil of Bergamot EG flavor. Achieving just the right balance must be quite a challenge as the number of ingredients increases. For those who prefer a classic Bergamot flavor, try The Tea Merchant’s organic Earl Grey. (See my next review.)

Thanks to The Tea Merchant for providing this generous size free sample. It’s a good thing that Joey Landford provided enough tea for more than one cup! My wife loves EG and could not wait for me to return home to try all his EG teas herself.

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Bio

I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are also of interest.

I especially enjoy teas with a natural rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to natural bittersweet cocoa.

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Incomplete, non-specific, or cutesy instructions such as: “Just add water and enjoy.” significantly reduces the possibility that I will purchase that particular tea.

Having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” is too time-inefficient, wastes valuable tea and impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration.

The best tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea each year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Our most recent orders were from TeaVivre, Verdant, Zen Tea Life, & Mandala Tea. Kudos to Angel Chen, David Duckler, Kenneth Son, Garret Sorensen who have been extremely helpful.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en

Options:
- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, an annual winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.

Location

Mid-Atlantic, USA

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