Taking on Tetley’s Earl Grey was a bit of a challenge for me. Not because I find it difficult to review Earl Grey teas, or teas in general, but because I know that it’s quite beloved by a lot of people (including a lot of my coworkers). It’s a classic tea and it’s a readily available classic tea, which makes it all the more popular. Earl Grey comes in a familiar canister, with a plastic lid that fits snug into place and a foil seal that kept the tea bags from getting stale.
Each tea bag is a familiar round bag with no tag. The dry leaf has a light bergamot aroma to it, I was hopeful for a little bit more. Earl Grey consists of black tea and natural flavour. The packaging mentions Orange Pekoe, but it’s not listed under the ingredients to specify the type of black tea.
Tetley recommends steeping in boiling water (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 4 minutes, and suggests “serve clear or with milk and/or sugar”. My initial steep was for 4 minutes.
Earl Grey steps to a reddish brown. I found that the flavour to better than I expected considering how light the bergamot aroma was in the dry leaf. I can taste both the black tea base and the bergamot flavouring. Although I did steep it according to the recommendations, I found that there was a slight bitterness at the end of each steep. I did a second initial steep at 3 minutes and found that it was still present.
I did add a touch of honey and evaporated milk to my cup, and found that it covered up the bitterness easily.
A Second Cup?
My attempt to resteep Earl Grey was disappointing as the flavour of bergamot was missing. I would say that Earl Grey is good for just one steep.
My Overall Impression
I thought that Tetley’s Earl Grey was just okay. For the price, I was pleasantly surprised by the initial steep of Earl Grey (although I think for future attempts I’d do even shorter steeps). I found that this tea took very easily to being doctored, since the bergamot wasn’t overwhelming. I think it’d be a great candidate for milk tea if you’re looking for an easily accessible tea to use!