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View Full Version : Best Earl Grey?


Miabella
01-11-2005, 09:55 AM
I love to have a couple cups of tea during my workday, specifically Earl Grey. I usually buy the Bigelow version, but they were out of it at the grocery last week, so I bought some organic Earl Grey. I just tried it, and it's awful. It tastes like I brewed myself a steaming cup of garden mulch. I should have known, the box claims it's from France. What do the French know about tea?

Anyway, I know I've tried Twinings before, and I liked it just fine. Are there any really excellent Earl Greys out there I should try, or any other nasty ones I should avoid? I'm also willing to break out of my Earl Grey rut if you give me good reason. ;)

DeVena
01-11-2005, 10:32 AM
Try Stash's Earl Grey tea. (http://stashtea.com/cgi-bin/search/search.pl?Realm=shopstashtea.com&Terms=earl+grey&Match=1) My family loves it, although I find the Double Bergamot Earl Grey too strong. The Empress Grey (http://shopstashtea.com/113087.html) is just lovely.

MrDibble
01-11-2005, 10:33 AM
There is only Twinings. That is all.

...and if ever in South Africa, only drink the Five Roses Earl Grey if the only alternative is dirty dishwater.

don't ask
01-11-2005, 10:43 AM
Twinings, and nothing else is imaginable.

velveeta
01-11-2005, 10:55 AM
Harney and Sons Earl Grey Supreme (http://harney.com/earlgreysupreme.html). Anything else is swill.

don't ask
01-11-2005, 11:06 AM
Oh my I have never seen that.

Miabella
01-11-2005, 11:18 AM
Hooray, when I posted this I was a little afraid that it was such a boring topic that I wouldn't get any replies.

OK, for immediate triage, I'm to going to replace this organic dreck with some Twinings. I'll abandon this stuff in the breakroom for the vultures who like to steal other people's food and beverages. Mwa-ha-ha-haa!

cantara
01-11-2005, 11:34 AM
In my experience any time you switch brands of tea (especially Earl Grey) you need some time to get used to the new flavour. The essence of Bergamot seems to vary to a great degree. Some teas have a very mild flavour added, while other have a strong floral nose to them.

I've enjoyed Ridgways Earl Grey, but haven't had it recently. I had gone off tea for a few years. I used to have two cups every morning, and when I had run out of tea, simply skipped the brew for a few days. After the caffiene withdrawal headaches went away, I searched for a decaffienated Earl Grey tea. I found that Ridgways had done one and bought that instead. Well, it took some time to adjust to the flavour of that, but once I acclimated myself to its particular flavour I quite enjoyed it.

BTW, all the above is teabags rather than loose. I much prefer the loose teas, but for the convenience have been using bags instead.

As an alternative to Earl Grey, the Bigelow Constant Comment (http://bigelowtea.com/shop/details.cfm?si=1&sc=1&pi=00105) is also a nice flavoured tea. It has a citrus base to it but also has spices added. I suspect that tea purists would poo-poo the flavoured teas regardeless, but it makes for a nice change.

Also, all our English relatives stock Yorkshire tea (http://yorkshiretea.co.uk)...exclusively. They had quite the laugh at our assortment of flavoured teas, then went and grabbed the box that they brought over with them.




Hmmm, will have to check out the Harney and Sons tea...

don't ask
01-11-2005, 11:44 AM
Mind you if you like flavoured teas I hope you have tried dozens of chai blends as well.

don't ask
01-11-2005, 11:46 AM
The Pakistani restaurant I go to takes longer to make the cup of chai than it takes to receive and eat your meal.

Guy Incognito
01-11-2005, 12:05 PM
I really enjoy the following brands of Earl Grey tea:

Twining's Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas

Stash's Earl Grey and Double Bergamot Earl Grey

Adagio Tea's Earl Grey Bravo

Oddly enough, Kroger's Private Selection Earl Grey isn't bad. However, Bigelow's Earl Grey tasted horrible to me. YMMV.

velveeta
01-11-2005, 12:16 PM
Oh my I have never seen that.

I love tea. It's pretty much the only thing I drink so I'm quite picky and can even tell what brand a restaurant is serving by taste alone. Too many teas end up tasting like the wet paper they're brewed in. I've never found another brand as good as Harney. Their green teas are fabulous and the "Dragon Pearl Jasmine" is heaven on earth. If you like black tea, "Big Red Sun" is also very good and one of the less expensive blends. I actually like it better than Earl Grey.

BiblioCat
01-11-2005, 12:18 PM
I'll have to second (or third) the recommendations for Twinings and Stash Earl Grays.
Stash's Chai is very good, too. I've become addicted to their Chai and have a cup almost every afternoon. (I just like to pretend that it's teatime and I'm British. :D ;) )

I bought some Tazo Chai and found it kind of off-tasting. Almost like perfume rather then spice. Not a good quality in tea.

velveeta
01-11-2005, 12:35 PM
I bought some Tazo Chai and found it kind of off-tasting. Almost like perfume rather then spice. Not a good quality in tea.

I've been trying to put my finger on what's wrong with Tazo Chai and you got it. I have a whole box of it and the spices just taste odd. I should really toss it out.
Stash seems to be one of the better store bought brands, but I've only tried their green/white tea blend.

Gulo gulo
01-11-2005, 12:36 PM
I will do unholy things for Murchie's (http://murchies.com/frhomeDec27.html) Early Grey tea. If you have a friend who lives in the Victoria or Vancouver area, you should ask them to send you a sampler.

JThunder
01-11-2005, 12:43 PM
Replicated. And hot.

FriendRob
01-11-2005, 02:02 PM
Twinings for me too...

but it has to be the loose tea, steeped in a tea ball.

Baker
01-11-2005, 03:19 PM
Replicated. And hot.

That's "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot"

Miabella
01-11-2005, 03:54 PM
Thanks for all the great suggestions! I have a tea ball at home that I hardly ever use, I'm going to snag some of these great loose teas and put it to work.

Tapioca Dextrin
01-11-2005, 04:18 PM
I'll second the vote for anything from adagio (adagio.com). Expensive, but well worth it. Plus, they have the world's best teapot (http://adagio.com/teaware/concert_teapot.html?SID=613c3cdf28838293363164c668b3552f).

BiblioCat
01-11-2005, 04:55 PM
After seeing Alton Brown's show on tea, I was thinking about getting a cast iron tea pot. Crate & Barrel has a small one for about $35, and I have a gift card there with about $30 left on it.

Anyone have a cast iron teapot? Ever use one?

Angua
01-11-2005, 05:05 PM
The Pakistani restaurant I go to takes longer to make the cup of chai than it takes to receive and eat your meal.

That's probbaly because a proper cup of chai is brewed for a while. None of this "pour boiling water over tea leaves and spices mixture", but rather:

Put water, and milk (to taste) into a saucepan. Add tea leaves and spices. Heat on hob until boiling, and leave simmering for a few (about 2 or 3) minutes, until the tea develops to the strength you want it at. Serve immediately with sugar to taste.

Baker
01-11-2005, 05:44 PM
After seeing Alton Brown's show on tea, I was thinking about getting a cast iron tea pot. Crate & Barrel has a small one for about $35, and I have a gift card there with about $30 left on it.

Anyone have a cast iron teapot? Ever use one?

My, I've seen all kinds of cast iron utensils, but I've never heard of a cast iron tea pot. Now I have to keep my eyes open for them.

kelly5078
01-11-2005, 06:15 PM
teavana.com

sangfroid
01-11-2005, 10:02 PM
Twinings... Stash... Bigelow... others..
In that order.

And yes, served HOT.

jayjay
01-11-2005, 10:11 PM
I'm kind of partial to the 2nd Earl Grey (http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/terrace/adw03/pms/grey.htm), actually...

Podkayne
01-11-2005, 10:21 PM
Thanks for all the great suggestions! I have a tea ball at home that I hardly ever use, I'm going to snag some of these great loose teas and put it to work.You probably do not want to waste good loose tea by cramming it into a tea ball. In order to release their flavor, the tea leaves need to be able to unfurl.

Try super-big tea bags or a reusable filter like a Swiss Gold (both available at specialty tea sellers). Bodum pots are transparent and come with a transparent filter, and adagio.com has clear mugs with a clear plastic filter also. The last two options are nice because you can watch the tea leaves swirl around as they steep, which is just lovely!

GingerOfTheNorth
01-11-2005, 10:48 PM
Another vote for Twinings. You can buy it at Giant grocery stores in our area (i'm in Baltimore), in the 'foreign' foods section - not with the tea. With marmalade and L'Petit Ecolier cookies.

available light
01-12-2005, 12:41 AM
I'm only a recent tea drinker, and I've only tried the major store brands, but I prefer Bigelow to Twinings (at least in our grocery stores, Twinings is always on the shelf next to Bigelow). I don't like Stash, for some reason. Can't quite explain why.

I, too, saw the Good Eats tea episode and may at some point get fancy and try loose tea leaves. But it seems like kind of a pain to have to wash both a strainer and a mug, and dump tons of loose leaves, especially at work. The bags are just so much easier.

As a slight hijack, how do you all take your tea? I make a mug of tea with two tea bags, add half a sweet 'n' low packet, and then add a shot of Coffeemate French Vanilla. Mmmmm.

don't ask
01-12-2005, 12:50 AM
As a slight hijack, how do you all take your tea? I make a mug of tea with two tea bags, add half a sweet 'n' low packet, and then add a shot of Coffeemate French Vanilla. Mmmmm.

That would be close to unique.

I like it strong, with about 1/3 of the milk most people use. No sweetener ever.

Green Bean
01-12-2005, 01:07 AM
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Jackson's. It's damnably hard to find, but worth it. As far as I know, it's pretty common over in England. Their Earl Grey is my favorite.

I find Twinings Earl Grey to be kind of bland, but decent enough. I love their Lady Grey. (And if you're looking for a more delicate non-flavored tea, try Prince of Wales.)

Trader Joe's Earl Grey is not the best, but their decaf version is better than other decafs I've tried.

Bigelow is not good at all, IMHO. I find their teas to be generally inferior. Constant Comment is nice every now and then, however.

VampyChick
01-12-2005, 01:34 AM
I am allergic to bergamot, so I am uniquely unqualified to post in this thread. In general, I prefer Twinings, but my cousin gave me a bunch of Stash tea for Christmas, so we'll see about that.

El Cid Viscoso
01-12-2005, 01:37 AM
Dalfour Organic is sweet, but not horribly perfumy.

Trader Joe's is mild, soft, and slightly spicy when it's oversteeped.

Twinings is breakfast tea with perfume. Good in a pinch.

Bigelow is bitter heartburn.

(Nods to Green Bean)

BlackKnight
01-12-2005, 04:04 AM
Twinnings is by far the best I've tried, but I admit I haven't tried very many.

Unfortunately, the local WalMart stopped carrying Twinnings so now I'm stuck with Bigelow. *sigh*

Halfling
01-12-2005, 05:13 AM
I agree with Green Bean, Jackson's is definitely the best but it's getting quite hard to find. Twinings is my fallback but it's just not the same. Do they use real Bergamot in Twinings? BTW am I unusual in liking my Earl Grey with milk?

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