Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Tea Talk: Organic Earl Grey

Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness. 
- Lu Yu, Chinese sage and hermit

Happy glorious Saturday morning everyone!  After five days of getting up too early and going to sleep too late, it felt great to wake up when my body felt like waking up.  I love Saturday mornings.

Getting right into tea, what is the real difference between organic tea and conventionally grown? Besides obvious difference in levels of pesticides, is there a difference in taste?  I always thought there wasn't but when it comes to tea blends, it might not be that simple.

Earl Grey is one of my favourite blends of black tea.  It should contain black tea leaves, oil of bergamot and possibly some flavouring.  Not everyone I speak to loves Earl Grey like I do.  Most of the time people complain that it has too strong of a flavour for them.  I've always wondered about that because the tea that I've been drinking has a pleasant mild flavour but then again, what's mild for one person, might be too strong for another.

The Earl Grey that I usually drink is organic Earl Grey in loose form.  I get it from my local health food store which is about half an hour away from where I live.  Last time I ran out of my Earl Grey, I didn't have half an hour to go and pick it up again.  I decided this one time to go with the conventional one at the Bulk Barn.

What a disappointment that was.  I literally couldn't drink it.  It was so strong, and the flavour tasted so artificial that I didn't even finished my cup.  Frankly I was shocked.  There is not much that does into Earl Grey, how can two brands be so different?  Surely the culprit here must be the flavouring.

To continue my enjoyment of the Earl Grey, I knew I had to get my hands on a better one.  I was very happy to find out that David's Tea began stocking organic Earl Grey and I jumped at the chance to try it out.  I got my shipment last week and I mentioned it in last week's Saturday Tea Talk.

What can I say.  This tea is even better than the one I was getting from my health food store. The leaves are beautiful, tightly rolled and smell heavenly of bergamot.  There are tiny cornflower petals in between them.

I steeped a heaping teaspoon in a mug of boiling water for about 5 minutes.  The resulting tea is dark red in colour with the same lovely aroma the dry leaves had, although a little more subtle.

According to David's Tea ingredients list, this tea blend contains organic black tea leaves, cornflower petals and natural flavouring of bergamot oil.  I believe them.

Taste wise I couldn't be happier.  It's delicious, full body with a citrus hint, almost as if I put a drop of lemon into it.  I have it with a touch of raw honey, enough to get a honey taste but not enough to make it sweet.  I'm loving it.

So there you have it.  Two different organic Earl Grey blends that are delicious to drink and one conventional blend that tasted artificial.  I am far from making any definitive conclusions but it wouldn't be the first time that flavouring in conventional tea blends tasted artificial.  That is why I stick to organic blends (which only use natural flavours) whenever I can.  Natural is always better.



  1. I'm an Earl Grey fan too and know how much the taste can vary from brand to brand. I believe it has less to do with the tea itself and more to do with the quality and amount of bergamot. Some Earl Grey teas are unbearable perfumey to drink and others are just delicious.

    Not quite on point, but I once seduced a woman using oil of bergamot. Fond memory!

    1. Ha ha ha, now that must be an interesting story! :D

  2. Sadly I've never been much of a tea drinker. Wish I was because it is so healthy for you. Happy Mother's Day my wonderful friend.

    1. And Happy Mother's Day to you Mary! :)

  3. I am not a tea drinker, but this was great to read and of much interest,