drank Earl Grey Creme by Art of Tea
1280 tasting notes

I haven’t had an earl grey of any stripe in months. I remember being on a comparative earl grey tasting tear at one point, but sadly after all that work I can’t remember much about what I tasted or what I liked without referring back to my own notes. Yay for Steepster, for remembering when I can’t. I wish I could download my tasting logs. If anyone knows a way, please tell me as I can’t find one.

Looking back on my logs, it seems I haven’t logged many earl grey cremes. The front runner among those I’d tried was Upton’s, though I also liked TeaFrog’s blend.

This one has a delicious perfume coming from the dry leaves. Lots of vanilla and not too strong on the bergamot. The leaves are dark brownish with cornflower blossoms adding color to the mix. I’m such a sucker for those little cornflowers! Is it wrong to wish they were in every tea just for the cuteness factor?

The tea is a crystal clear cinnamon brown color with a hint of orange and it smells divine. There’s a very light malty substrate to the aroma. Sweet creamy notes predominate, but a light citrus takes the edge off and add some depth.

The tea has an interesting thickness, or perhaps I should say creaminess, to the mouthfeel which really suits the vanilla cream flavor. The vanilla cream is the dominant flavor I’m tasting, but its also a delicate flavor, not at all overpowering. I’m partial to beany vanilla more than to creamy, but this is quite nice as creamy goes.

I don’t like strong bergamot in my earl grey. I prefer just a hint, enough to wave and say hi and then fade into the background. After reading some of the notes I thought I might not like this one much, but I don’t get strong bergamot. The citrus is there, but it’s sweetened and somewhat diluted by the cream, like lemon icing or the orange in creamsicle.

It could also be that the bergamot mellowed while this tea sat on my shelf for a while. It was sealed before I opened it today, and the aroma didn’t seem stale, but maybe bergamot is volatile and fades over time? Perhaps that accounts for the difference. If so, then it worked to my benefit, because I find this quite nice. The longer I drink it, the more I can discern the bergamot, a tiny “gotcha” at the back of the throat but not in a bad way at all. It also shows up some in the aftertaste, a little cut to keep the cream from becoming too much.

Some earl greys can do a number on my stomach. The bitterness or harshness of the bergamot, which seems sometimes to have a synergistic effect on whatever bitter or harsh notes are in the tea itself making them more pronounced, can leave me feeling like I need something to coat my stomach lining. This isn’t doing that. The tea base plays a supporting role here, and I mostly taste it at the edges of my tongue during the sip and in the aftertaste.

Having been away for so long I no longer have an intuitive feel for what I meant when I established my ratings, so I’m rating this on an absolute rather than a relative scale. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good and something I’ll look forward to drinking.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I’ve been thinking of using my evernote account to save my tasting notes. It would mean adding the tea information in (name, rating, etc), but you could tag and label to your heart’s content (librarian-power!!!). I’ve used evernote for saving all the emails that I want to keep, but not in gmail. Anywho, if you try it out (evernote.com), then please let me know.

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I’ve been thinking of using my evernote account to save my tasting notes. It would mean adding the tea information in (name, rating, etc), but you could tag and label to your heart’s content (librarian-power!!!). I’ve used evernote for saving all the emails that I want to keep, but not in gmail. Anywho, if you try it out (evernote.com), then please let me know.

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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