Leaf Type: Roiboos
Where to Buy: Piper’s Loose Leaf
A caffeine free version of Earl Grey using the finest Rooibos enhanced with organic Sicilian bergamot oil. Resulting in an absolutely deliciously rich, flowery tea with bright citrus notes.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever tried a rooibos earl grey before, so this is probably a first for me. The dry leaf looks pretty much like a standard rooibos, except with the addition of a few marigold petals that I assume are there to help carry the flavouring. There’s the definite scent of bergamot, so I’m curious to see how this one works out. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a bright red-brown. The scent is quite “brassy”, so I added a splash of milk.
I wasn’t sure about this one when I took my first sip. It seemed to taste mostly of rooibos, with little room for anything else. It’s true to say that it’s quite a potent rooibos, tasting of dry wood shavings with a slight metallic tang reminiscent of brasso. There aren’t many things that can overpower bergamot, but I think I might have found one here. The milk I added does help to temper things a little, and after a few sips I can taste the mild beginnings of an earl grey. The bergamot here is fairly smooth and not as sharply citrusy as some I’ve come across. Ordinarily I’d be praising a bergamot with these qualities, but here it’s just a little too mellow to make much of an impression. There’s a hint – an impression – of earl grey, but it never really moves much beyond that point.
I’m torn as to how I feel about this one. In general, I’m a fan of milder earl greys. I don’t like sharp, strong, over-powering bergamot. At the same time, I dislike flavoured rooibos blends where the only real flavour is rooibos, because it’s overpowered everything else. There’s definitely a balance to be struck. This tea is almost there. Yes, the rooibos is the dominant flavour, but I can tell it’s supposed to be an earl grey. I can taste a little bergamot, although in this case I wish it were just a touch stronger. Ultimately, I did enjoy my cup. It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed the novelty of a caffeine free earl grey and I appreciated the attempt to be light handed with the bergamot. It’s definitely worth a look, if you’re a fan of milder earl greys in general, or if you’re looking for a caffeine free option with a difference.
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.