I know, I know, another Williamson tea. And so soon.
Fact is, I was going to review Twilight from the Tea Palace (which is identical to a tea called Sundown which I used to drink). But I can’t find it – think I took it to work and left it there.
And having realised that … I reached for the Earl Grey. It’s what I do. Earl Grey is my default tea – I’ve had M&S, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, Clipper, and Williamson Earl Greys (Earls Grey?) – to say nothing of the less standard ones (e.g. with blue flowers, etc) – and I like them all. They are soothing. And soothing, dear friends, is what I’ve needed today … it’s been a day of looking up forms and prices for passport-type things on the Home Office website, and that’s never fun.
So. On with the review.
Source: The tea is Kenyan, grown on their own farms. I first had some of this in one of their big Elephant gift caddies. Gorgeous tins. Two Christmases ago, I think? Something like that. The box I bought to refill it I found at Waitrose – and I think it was a special ‘a small amount of money from this box goes to the RNLI’ promotion, too. They seem to be good people at Williamson Tea. You can buy online – loose leaf (loose leaf / williamson farm silver caddies) £2.55 for 100g, or teabags £2.55 for 50 teabags (50g). Hey, I should start buying this loose leaf …
I should probably add here that traditionally, Earl Grey is made from a blend of Indian and Ceylon (Sri Lankan) teas – or so I’m told. One then adds bergamot oil to it, for the citrus flavour. But any kind of black tea with added bergamot oil can be called Earl Grey.
Cost: A big lovely elephant caddy costs £8.90. See above for other prices.
Ethics: Excellent. Own farms, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certification. See here on their website.
Brewing instructions: Boiling water, a minute or two to brew. I think your basic black Earl Grey is a pretty forgiving tea – don’t have to be ultra-careful about water temperature and times (unlike last week’s green tea with rose). This is probably why it’s one of the teas I reach for when feeling a little lost / stressed / down – or one I ask for when out. It’s difficult to get wrong (although a pub I was in last week managed it – it was terrible – think they had really hard water which they obviously hadn’t filtered).
I drink Earl Grey with milk, and sugar according to stress (no sugar = normal day, one sugar = uh-oh, two-three sugars = HELP!). I’m sure you could drink it without milk. I hear some people (like the villain in the Da Vinci code) drink theirs with lemon … which I’m not sure I quite understand, but I think I had it once and it was perfectly OK.
Appearance: Soothing brown. Especially when placed in a Winnie-the-Pooh mug, like so:
Nose: Mostly just, well, tea, with a hint of citrus (as you’d expect). A lot less strong / harsh than the Afternoon tea.
Taste: A medium-ish tea in terms of strength – that is, I wouldn’t describe it as ‘light’, but I wouldn’t describe it as ‘strong’ either. Perhaps slightly on the lighter side. A full flavour, with a pleasant hint of citrus (it would be more citrus-sy if you didn’t add milk). A nicely balanced and fairly full-flavoured tea.
(I find the taste hard to actually describe – to me, Earl Grey tastes of happiness, sorrow, friendship, comfort, difficult maths, and rainy afternoons)
Food match: Cake. Scones. Anything you eat with cream. Traditional afternoon-tea fare, really.
Or drink with knitting:
/ knit whilst drinking:
It’s all good.
Love Earl Grey? Hate it? Understand what the whole lemon-juice thing is about? Have your own go-to tea for stressful times? Tell me about it 🙂