Steeped: 1 tbsp in my 2-cup pot with freshly boiled water
First Cup: Steeped 4-4.5 minutes
Ok. Apparently this tea requires a very low steeping time. While the package says 3-5 minutes, this already feels a bit overdone. Rather than coming off creamy, it seems rather flowery and a little bitter for it. Going to try it with milk and see how that goes
Second cup: Same steep. Steeped 25-30 minutes, added milk
Yes, it tastes a whole lot better with milk. This isn’t surprising for various reasons. First, milk is generally wonderful at cutting through bitterness in oversteeped tea. Second, I find teas with vanilla pretty much always taste better with milk to add to their creaminess. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I don’t think I’ve met them yet.
Third cup: Same steep. Steeped 30-35 minutes, added milk and honey.
Oddly, I don’t think the honey makes much of a difference to the flavour. However, I’m sure that it is the perfect compliment if added sweetness is necessary, as its floweriness matches well with the cornflowers in the tea itself.
Fourth cup: Resteep. Steeped 5 minutes. Clear.
Flavours no longer bitter, but very muted. Drinkable but delicate. I can taste the vanilla and get its smoothness more now.
Fifth cup: Same resteep, 25 or so minutes.
Flavour a little stronger now. Finally a cup that tastes more or less like I like my earl greys. Could still do with being a little stronger, but not bad at all. We’ll see how the last of this steep is.
Sixth cup: Same resteep, 40-60 minutes (I lost track)
Not bad. Tried adding honey after a few sips to see if it would brighten the flavour, but somehow it ended up hindering it instead. Worked better with the milk.
Overall impression: There are some earl grey blends that I love, and some that I don’t. This, unfortunately, is closer to the latter end of the spectrum. It wasn’t bad by any means, and I may change my mind after steeping it for a lower time, but right now… it’s off my list of Best Earl Greys Ever.
My rating: 71%. B- It was going to be a C+ based on the original steep, but the further resteeps gave it a bit of a reprieve. Judging by other reviews, I do think I may change my rating after trying it with a lower initial steep time. However, I’ve had this and a few similar teas before, and haven’t quite found them to be my thing, so it could also be that. I generally prefer a more basic earl grey or a fruity play on the classic overall.