I have a secret. I am in-lust for a man that is not John. I pine for him! Oh, Earl Grey, how I would love to wake up in the morning to see your rosy hue, to breathe the smell of you!
I’m not sure when this happened. I can’t remember the first time I met Earl Grey. Probably in some run-down restaurant during breakfast—if I had met him before, unknowingly, I would not have realized that what he had to offer was so special. In a dingy, overused mug, Earl Grey was like Cinderella before the ball—beautiful, unknown and under-appreciated!
Little did I know, Earl Grey wasn’t just one tea manufacturer’s way of preparing a certain tea. A simple combination of tea and bergamot oil is all that is needed to take the name of Earl Grey. Earl Grey can be created with differing amounts of bergamot flavor, with hints of other ingredients and any base tea. Until recently, Earl Grey was just “slightly yummier black tea” to me (slightly is such an understatement!) because I had no idea what was different about it and regular old Lipton. (How could I not??)
My first loose-leaf Earl Grey experience was created by Adagio Teas. Their Earl Grey Bravo is a black tea from Sri Lanka, flavored with bergamot oil and mixed with bits of dried bergamot fruit and pretty blue cornflowers. It has a strong flavor. Many people on the website who have reviewed it poorly have complained that the bergamot flavor and smell is just too strong and some dislike the flowery tones that this version of Earl Grey has.
Sorry to go off-topic but I really want to paint a picture of setting for tonight’s tea-tasting. Tonight I was, for the first time since April, able to open my back door to let the outside air in! It’s still pretty hot during the day here in Orlando but it’s gotten a lot more bearable at night. (It’s only 76°F right now!) The cooler air just tickles me! I feel it and just have to smile. Along with the arrival of Fall, it signifies more tea drinking!
I’ve been wanting to sit down and compare Adagio’s Earl Grey Bravo with my recently acquired Tippy Earl Grey from Golden Moon Tea for quite some time. With the back door open, the cool outside air languidly flowing through the apartment, I thought tonight would be the perfect night to take some extra time to compare two teas.
It was time for a dual between these Greys! I can’t say much was won in the end. Both teas are good for different reasons. I found the Tippy Earl Grey to be light and easier to drink. The Earl Grey Bravo had strong floral tones when tasted after the Tippy Earl Grey and was much more bitter. Tippy Earl Grey has lavender flavoring added to the leaves but I could not taste very much of it.
Earl Grey Bravo would definitely be good with a bit of milk and a pinch of sugar. Tippy Earl Grey is so light that I would not recommend adding anything to it. Any additional ingredients would probably turn Tippy into a murky mess of flavors. (Watered-down milk, anyone?) I advise you, don’t do it. And if you must add milk and sugar to your teas, go for the Earl Grey Bravo and be gentle with it!
Perhaps all these differences in flavor are only due to steeping time. It could be that Earl Grey Bravo needs less time to steep than Tippy Earl Grey. I steeped both for five minutes, the normal time I use for a black tea.
The battle of Earl Grey was not very epic. Actually, it wasn’t quite as exciting as I thought or hoped that it would be. All Earl Greys may not be created equal but they are definitely created pretty similarly. If I’m ever in need for some Earl Grey lovin’, I don’t think I’d be too choosy between these two.