In tonight’s steep-off chez sherapop, two decaffeinated Earl Greys are going sniff-to-sniff, sip-to-sip, glass-to-glass, brewed under exactingly controlled conditions to eliminate irrelevant variables such as sherapop’s mood, the humidity, the time of day, and ambient planetary motions. The contenders are Numi Decaf Earl Grey and Mighty Leaf Earl Grey Decaf. (Go ahead: try to say that three times fast!) First up: Mighty Leaf.
Judging by the scent of the dried tea, Mighty Leaf would seem to be much, much better. It is highly perfumed, and the large leaves are easily seen through the diaphanous sachet. In contrast, the Numi has nearly no scent and smells basically like black tea fannings in a filter bag. I struggle even to detect the bergamot.
The second external, the sheer amount of tea in the sachet, would suggest that the MIghty Leaf is going to be vastly superior. There appears to be easily double the volume of tea in the infused sachet. That could be, however, because the larger leaves are sopping up water like sponges, which the finer particles in the Numi filter bag are not.
The only thing that really matters is the taste. The good news is that Mighty Leaf Earl Grey Decaf does not taste weak and insipid, low on the “tea” factor at all. I would not have guessed, in a blind trial, that this was a decaffeinated tea. I would have guessed, instead, that this was an Extra Earl Grey or Earl Grey Extra or Double Earl Grey or something along those lines, because the strong perfume of the dried tea survives to impart a very strong bergamot flavor to the brewed liquor, which is reddish amber, by the way.
The teas in this blend are apparently from Ceylon and China. It’s definitely decent tea. I do hope that it is decaffeinated, else I’ll be in trouble around bedtime…