I must vent about this tea for a moment. This is one of the teas I picked up at our grocery store to use for the husband’s morning tea. (He loves Earl Grey and isn’t all that picky so I figured it’d be a win.)
I AM NEVER BUYING THIS TEA AGAIN.
Look, I’m all for organic and environmentally sustainable and all that stuff. I fully support the green and granola lifestyle – my dad was organic before organic was cool so I grew up thinking (knowing) that was the better way and my parents always said I’d make a great hippie. Add my food allergies on top of that and I am fully behind the granola way of life. But dude, if you want me to support your company with all their wonderful sustainable practices and environmentally sound packaging and whatever, I honestly don’t care if you are more expensive, but YOU MUST BE WORTH IT. I’m cool paying almost twice the price for organic bananas because organic bananas are still tasty and fill all my banana needs. But this tea? This is like buying organic bananas and having them taste like potting soil.
Okay, okay, it doesn’t quite taste like potting soil. I think potting soil would have more flavor actually. But taste isn’t my first complaint about this tea. My first complaint is the container. Because this is like buying an organic banana only to find it’s been wrapped in that hard plastic stuff that you always have use scissors to open but it’s so stiff that you usually end up cutting yourself on it before you get it fully cut open. Because the tea is packaged in a cute little cylinder made out of a nice feeling cardboard-ish material of which the top few inches slides off to open. Let me rephrase: the top few inches SHOULD slide off. Because the material this is made out of isn’t slick enough to slide against itself so opening this is a study in applied force. A little too much pressure on one side and it sticks like glue. You must raise it totally straight off with lots of little twists while pulling. Wiggle wiggle wiggle, twist, twist, slowly try to inch it up…. it takes forever to open this stupid thing. And trying to close it is just about as hard – you have to twist, twist, twist it down and it usually gets stuck about two thirds of the way down. Ugh!
But what’s the reward for opening this horridly unfriendly little container? I mean, maybe it is worth it? Well, inside are two thin canvas-like drawstring bags that don’t fully close. Why? I mean, I’m guessing the container is airtight (since it’s so hard to open and close properly), so why put the tea in more packaging? It’s not a reusable steeping bag – I only have two, both filled with tea and there are some little disposable filter things included in the container. So why? Okay, fine. Whatever. Useless but at least they aren’t annoying and difficult like the container. Let’s get to the tea.
So then you open up one of the bags. First off, check out the second picture on their website: http://www.villageteaco.com/tea/simply-organic-earl-grey-tea/ My tea looks NOTHING like that. Those are leaves. Small leaves, sure, but leaves. My bags? Fannings would be too kind. Coffee grounds are larger, I kid you not. I’m not a huge fan of CTC, but it has it’s place so I’m okay if I buy something (particularly a morning-type tea) and it ends up being little grapenuts of tea. But buying a loose leaf tea and getting something that Lipton would consider too small to put in there bags? Shameful.
And then, after all that horror, we get to the taste. Or rather, we SHOULD get to the taste. But no. This is massively bland. I mean, I can look at this from the point of view that at least the flavoring isn’t too strong or perfume-y or chemically or whatever. But that’s only because it has the barest hint of flavoring. They waved the closed bergamot oil jar over the dust particles before they swept them off the floor and stuck them in little bags and into that horrid cylinder.
But then you get a nice tea-flavor then, right? Nope! You get a warm, slightly muddy, slightly bright, wet flavor going. And that’s it. One cup of muddy, watery blandness was enough for me so I’ve been using up the rest of this tea for the husband’s morning tea with sugar and milk. I brew it for 5 to 7 minutes and, if I’m accidentally a little heavy-handed with the milk, he comments about how it’s a bit flavorless. Seriously, 5 to 7 minutes steep time and anything more than a tablespoon of milk in 16oz should not make a tea taste like sugared milk. But it does!
So yeah, I won’t be buying this tea again and honestly, I think I’ll be avoiding this brand like the plague. Because if this was fantastic, I could deal with the fact that opening it is a big giant pain in the ass. And hey, organic and recycled, so bonus. But no. Not fantastic. Not even good. Add the massive annoyance factor to the poor leaf quality (and taste) and you have an example of why a lot of people still think organic equals expensive and substandard. Bleck.