Lady Earl Grey Black Tea Blend from Simple Loose Leaf

Lady Earl GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

Our very popular Earl Grey blend of citrus bergamot over an extraordinary Nilgiri Black Tea with the added indulgence of Vanilla. This mouthwatering combination is the perfect invigorating treat. For the famed “London Fog” effect, add steamed milk and enjoy a smooth and creamy delight.

Ingredients:  South Indian Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea, Earl Grey Flavor, Vanilla Flavor, Cornflowers

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

How awesome is this?  Lady Earl Grey in the Selection Club box for August.  If I wasn’t already in love with these boxes from Simple Loose Leaf, they would have had me at this tea!

When I first saw the name of this tea – Lady Earl Grey – I thought that it might be a bergamot flavored black tea with either Lavender or Rose added.  It wasn’t until I opened the pouch and smelled the tea and could immediately recognize the aroma of the vanilla that I knew that this was a Creme style Earl Grey.  The vanilla is very well pronounced in the fragrance of the tea and this translates to the flavor.

I brewed this in my Breville One-Touch by pouring 500 ml of freshly filtered water into the jug, and then scooping out two bamboo scoops full of the fragrant loose leaf tea and putting it in the basket of the tea maker.  I set the tea maker for 212°F and the timer for 2 1/2 minutes.  This produced two cups of perfectly brewed tea!  (Have I mentioned lately that I love my Breville One-Touch?  Everyone should have one of these!)

This is one of the nicer creme Earl Grey teas that I’ve tried in a while.  The bergamot is strong and flavorful, but the sharp edges of the Italian orange is softened beautifully with the vanilla notes.  It’s so delightfully creamy and smooth!

The black tea base is nicely round and has a malty tone to it.  I like how the malt-like flavors of the black tea marries with the vanilla flavors to create an almost caramel-esque flavor that is positively delectable.  The black tea is an invigorating, full-flavored black tea.  I like that it’s good and strong and isn’t overwhelmed by the flavors of bergamot and vanilla.

The bergamot is pleasantly strong.  It’s not the strongest bergamot flavor that I’ve experienced from an Earl Grey tea, but, it’s by no means weak or lacking in any way, in my opinion.  It’s balanced well with the notes of vanilla so that these two components are not competing with one another, but working very harmoniously with each other, making for a heavenly cup of tea!

Save 25% off when you sign up for the Selection Club.  Use the coupon code SISTERSELECTION25 when you join.  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Star of India Black Tea from ArtfulTea

starofindiaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea orArtfulTea on Etsy

Tea Description:

A blend of black teas from three of India’s premiere growing regions: Assam, Darjeeling and the Nilgiris. This tea has all the highlights of India’s best black teas in a flavorful, coppery-colored blend that is similar in style to an “English Breakfast” tea. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m always excited to try teas from Etsy sellers, because I used to sell my tea blends on Etsy.  I like to support these artisans – and yes!  Blending tea is an art!   I also always check Etsy first when there’s something that I need like a new set of pot holders (I just purchased some recently similar to these lovelies!)

So when I found the seller ArtfulTea on Etsy, I decided to try some of their teas.  I purchased this sampler, and I think I mentioned it in an earlier post.  The sampler is so beautifully packaged.  The box was lined in brightly colored tissue paper, and the loose leaf samples were pre-measured into unbleached paper DIY teabags which you can opt to use or you can empty the tea into a small brewing vessel to let the tea steep loose.

Everything about this experience was lovely – and I have to admit that it reminded me a bit of when I was a tea purveyor on Etsy … I took a lot of care in my packaging too.  It is a practice that is often overlooked, and one that I personally appreciate when I order teas online.

This Star of India is not the first tea that I’ve sampled from ArtfulTea, but I think it might be my favorite thus far.

My first reaction after taking a sip of the coppery liquid?  Wow!  It’s a very well-rounded cup of tea.  My palate seems very satisfied with this tea.  It’s sweet but not too sweet, it’s smooth, not overly astringent, and it has a rich, flavorful taste.  It’s not bitter (although I wouldn’t advise oversteeping it!) and it’s got a substantial flavor without feeling or tasting too heavy.

The blend is crafted using Assam, Nilgiri and Darjeeling teas, and I really like this combination of tea leaves.  The Assam and Nilgiri offer a pleasing malty flavor with a nice caramel-y undertone.  Sweet and rich!  These both are hearty teas, and I like how the Darjeeling rounds them out, lightening the overall flavor and texture of the cup so that it feels less heavy.  It would make a very agreeable afternoon cup, or if you’re looking for a nice weekend breakfast tea, this one would do nicely.

Along with these malty notes and flavors of caramel, there are sweet, fruity notes that contrast with an earthy, woodsy note.  The flavors seem nicely balanced with one another.  There is a light cleansing astringency toward the finish, and it leaves the palate feeling refreshed in the aftertaste.

It’s not a tea that I’d add milk to (I just don’t really care for milk in my Darjeeling teas because it overwhelms the delicate nuances of a Darjeeling, in my opinion), but it would take a dollop of honey nicely if you want to add that, or perhaps you’d like a thin slice of lemon, that would work well here too.  I found that I preferred this one hot.  As the tea cooled, it ended up tasting a lot like an average black tea, but while hot, I could taste a lot of the subtleties that this tea offers.  It’s a pleasant, complex blend that should be explored!

Earl Grey Black Tea from Zest Tea

Earl_GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zest Tea

Tea Description:

Earl grey has been a popular blend since it was introduced to the British Earl, Charles “Chaz” Grey, in the 1830’s. Most Earl Greys are made with low-quality base teas, but not ours (remember the whole not compromising thing?). Zest’s Earl is made with premium Nilgiri Indian black tea blended with a delicious bergamot essential oil. Don’t thank us. Thank Chaz.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Zest High-Octane Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

With this cup of Earl Grey Black Tea from Zest Tea, I have now tried all four teas offered by Zest Tea.  And if you are familiar with me as a tea drinker, you might notice that I’ve saved what I thought would be the best tea for last.  Earl Grey?  Um … yes, please!  It’s a rare occasion – very rare! – when I’ll turn down a cup of my beloved, the suave and charming Mr. Grey.

And this Earl Grey is quite charming, indeed!

The aroma of bergamot filled the room when I opened the pouch.  If a nose could actually smile from what it was smelling, my nose would have been grinning from ear to ear.  Which is kind of weird if you think about it.  So, it’s probably best not to think about it.

Anyway, the bergamot fragrance here is absolutely delightful.  It’s a strong scent, and that’s just the way I like my bergamot!  Good and strong!

And I’m also appreciating that even though there is a strong essence of bergamot to this tea, I’m not being overwhelmed by bergamot flavor.  I taste the Nilgiri black tea base, and it tastes smooth and rich and it has just a hint of malt.  I like the way the sweet notes of malt mingle with the tangy citrus notes of bergamot.  It’s lovely.

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s something that bears repeating.  Bergamot is one of those things that when done right, it’s a beautiful thing.  But, bergamot can be done wrong.  The first way it can be done wrong is that a cheap bergamot oil can be used, and this results in a really icky tasting tea.  Fortunately, Zest Tea doesn’t compromise and they’ve used a top quality oil here, and therefore, the result is YUM.

Another way bergamot can be done wrong is that it can be overdone, producing a very strong bergamot aroma but it also ends up creating an overwhelming bergamot flavor that ends up tasting more like your grandfather’s cologne than tea.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy drinking a cup of my grandfather’s cologne.

But I do fancy drinking another cup of this tea!  That’s because while the minds behind this Zest Tea product decided to go big with the bergamot essence, they didn’t go overboard.  They did bergamot just right.

After trying all four teas that Zest Tea currently offers, I like to think that I have a little bit of experience with this High-Octane tea thing.  And I’m a fan!  I know that there has been some thoughts and tea chatter about this, and I welcome your thoughts on it if you care to comment.  I personally like having a product like this, where I can start my day with an extra boost of caffeine because some days I really need that extra boost, and I like that I can get that extra boost without the jitters of coffee.  Coffee affects me adversely, so I like that I can get this extra caffeine in a drink that I can enjoy and not feel sick afterwards.

And of the four teas that Zest Tea currently offers, I have to say that this one is my favorite.  I enjoyed the others, too, but, this is Earl Grey, after all.  And yes, I’m happy to say that I did save the best for last!

Organic Monk’s Blend from Kally Tea

Monks BlendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Kally Tea

Tea Description:

A calming, yet invigorating blend of organic Darjeeling, Keemun, Nilgiri, and Assam teas.  Inspired by Tibetan Monk’s devotion on Buddhist meditation and mental and physical calm state.  A wonderful tea any time of the day.  The brewed cup is a wonderful deep crimson red.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently, Kally Tea introduced a new line of organic teas to their already impressive collection.  I was very excited to try some of these new teas from them!  This Organic Monk’s Blend is the first that I’m going to sample.

And this is really good!  It’s quite different than I expected from a tea called Monk’s Blend.  Most of the Monk’s Blend teas that I’ve tasted have been a flavored black tea blend – specifically, most of the Monk’s Blends I’ve encountered have been flavored with grenadine and vanilla notes to give it a very sweet and creamy kind of taste.  That’s not what this is at all!

Instead, this is a blend of four black teas:  Nilgiri, Darjeeling, Keemun and Assam.  This combination creates a really nicely balanced cup that is a little bit of everything.  What I mean by that is that there is no one characteristic that describes this tea entirely.  It has little bits of different qualities:  earthy, sweet, woodsy, floral, smoky, fruity and malty.  It isn’t bitter (although I’d be careful to avoid oversteeping this) and what little astringency there is to this is even smoother than in a typical black tea blend.

From the very first sip, I noticed how well-rounded it tastes.  It is a full-flavored tea, and it has a very satisfying flavor.  It is robust yet smooth, so it would make a good afternoon tea – it is soft enough around the edges – this isn’t what I’d call an edgy or aggressive tea.  However, it is good and strong and invigorating … so it will give you that jump you need for those mornings when you’d rather stay tucked in bed, but you’ve gotta get going.

I am very pleased with this unique take on a Monk’s Blend … and I love that it’s ORGANIC!

Craigmore Estate OP Nigiri Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

The crepy, bold OP leaves yield a medium-dark liquor. The cup has light cedar notes with a clean, crisp character. While this selection is well-suited for hot tea, it also makes an excellent iced beverage.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Craigmore Estate OP Nilgiri Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports is an excellent Nilgiri – it is everything I expect from a high-quality Nilgiri black:  rich, sweet, a little bit malty, notes of earth and wood, with a refreshing, invigorating crispness.

The overall cup is robust yet smooth.  My first time I brewed this tea, I measured out a little extra leaf, and I found that this not only resulted in an obviously stronger cup of tea, but also a slightly more astringent one than I cared for.  The second time I brewed it, I remembered to be a little more careful about measuring and I found that the second pot was much smoother and more enjoyable.

This tea tends to have more of a woody tone to it rather than a fruity or floral character.  Faint hints of fruit and flower can be detected if one slurps the tea to aerate it, and really focuses on the sip.  But when casually sipping this tea, I notice more of the wood tones, and I find them quite enjoyable too.  The sweetness is like burnt-sugar caramel which complements the malty tones nicely.

I enjoyed this served hot or iced – it’s especially nice iced, served with a thin slice of lemon.  So refreshing!