Preface: I don’t like Earl Gray tea. Mind you I determined this from drinking a friends London Fog latte, finding the taste unpleasant, feeling sick to my stomach, and declaring Earl Gray the worst tea ever which I never wanted to drink again.

But…I happened to be given a tin of this tea and waste not, want not…

The dry tea smells like…tea. Now my nose is so far from being sensitive it’s not even funny, and I thought I could catch an “other” sort of smell which I took to be the bergamot, but mostly this smelt like black tea to me.

Last time I made this for my boyfriend (who is a big Earl Gray drinker) he commented it was a little weak, so this time I put two teaspoons of tea in (my teaspoon is smaller then regulation size) for my somewhat jumbo mug (I really have to figure out how much it holds). Steeped it for 5 minutes on the dot.

The liquid tea again mostly smelt like…tea. Are there like some exercises you can do so your nose can pick up subtle notes of this and that from a tea? I don’t have the knack. But it was a good smell, it made my brain want to drink it. Which stopped after the first sip, which was face-scrunchingly bitter. Second sip was bitter too, as was the third and the slurp. Now I should say I don’t tend to like black teas straight, so this may have just been a normal tasting Earl Gray and my taste buds been spoiled by milk and sugar.

I dumped in a bunch of 1% milk and honey, and then a Equal sweetner packet to finally end up with a cup I was able to drink, though any notes of anything in the original flavour are long gone.

I based my steep time off other tasting notes for this tea, but I think next time I’ll try a shorter steep and see if that helps with the bitterness. Also, I just stirred the tea and realized how much of the leaf somehow made it through my infuser, it’s possible the bits of tea sitting in the cup have been over steeping and contributing to the bitter taste?

At least my tummy feels fine so far…

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In hopes of standardizing my ratings a bit more I’ve devised my own scale:

1 – 19: (F-) Ugh. Given to Mr. Sink Drain to enjoy after a couple sips. Never again. Would only give away with a strong warning (or to someone I didn’t like).

20 – 29: (F) Ick. Managed to finish the cup out of stubbornness, but tasted bad the whole time. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

30 – 49: (F+) Meh. I didn’t warrant an “ugh” or “ick” it but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

40 – 59: (D) Okay. Not a truly bad tea but just personally not my thing. Will (try) to finish but won’t reorder.

60 – 69: © Decent. Drinkable and getting towards good but just falls a little short. Will finish but won’t reorder.

70 – 79: (B) Good. Enjoyed this tea. Will likely reorder at some point but probably won’t be a tea shelf regular.

80 – 89: (B+) Very good. Would definitely put on my “reorder” list when I run out.

90 – 99: (A) YUM! A favourite. Would go on my “pre-order before I run out list” to keep it on hand.

100! (A+) OMG! Mind blowingly-good. The tried-and-true favourites that I MUST ALWAYS HAVE.

I am an acknowledged book addict, intrepid snowboarder, amateur teaite, crafter-creator, eager debater, ICU nurse, reluctant runner, animal lover, tree hugger + future world traveler.

With a palate ruined by years of hot-sauce-on-everything, espresso-based lattes and university student cooking I prefer bold teas and often miss nuances unless they are the gustatory equivalent of a two-by four. I don’t enjoy bitterness and love chais.


O’ Canada! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQf13B8epw

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