The Good: Caffeinated, No aftertaste, Intriguing somewhat orange tea taste.
The Bad: Individually wrapped, Taste is a bit more mild than I tend to like
The Basics: Despite the extraneous tea garbage, Stash’s more mild, slightly citrus interpretation of Earl Grey is easy to recommend to serious tea drinkers!
My wife is a sweetheart. From pretty much the first time I mentioned to her that I have a favorite tea, whenever we go out to the grocery store, she goes hunting for it. I never ask her to, but she still looks. We’ve never found it locally. The tea is Celestial Seasonings’ Victorian Earl Grey and it remains my favorite for taste and environmental responsibility. But virtually every time she fails to find a box of that in our area, she picks up another brand’s Earl Grey and it’s hard not to look at her and think how sweet she is.
This week, that Earl Grey is Stash and truth-be-told, it’s a good alternative to Celestial Seasonings, though it is not quite the same. Stash has a more mild, slightly fruity Earl Grey tea, and they have managed to eliminate from their tea the dry aftertaste that seems to characterize many Earl Grey teas. Personally, I like that about Earl Grey, but for a mild alternative with caffeine, Stash Earl Grey is keeping me happy now. I’ve not had much experience with Stash, though I did like their Coconut Mango Oolong tea (click here for my review of that!).
Earl Grey is a tea from Stash. It is a tea that has caffeine and it is a weaker Earl Grey than most, but it is still a fairly strong black tea. Earl Grey comes in Stash's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a wax papery envelope it is sealed in for freshness. Each tea bag has a five-inch string with a little paper tab at the end, which is quite a bit more waste than I like from a tea bag. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and making a steeping pot of Earl Grey reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Earl Grey comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Earl Grey is marketed as a tea-flavored tea and it is very good in that regard, but it falls behind Celestial Seasonings and Twinings when compared to other Earl Greys (but above Bigelow and way above Red Rose!). If one wants something that is flavored like tea leaves this will do it. I tend to like flavorful teas and this is a good one, but not the best by any stretch of the imagination.
Ease of Preparation
Earl Grey is a black tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Earl Grey, as the directions clearly state, require water that is boiling. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea, though reusing the tea bags yields little more than hot water. These tea bags can be reused and the resulting beverage is about 1/2 strength and has a more potent dry aftertaste than the original brewing. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot.
To prepare Earl Grey, simply boil up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take one to two minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with boiling water, the tea is ready at the four minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than four minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
Earl Grey is a tea that tastes like what it is. Earl Grey is a tea flavored tea that is defined by the flavor of bergamot. Sadly, that's the best way to define it as Earl Grey is a mix of black tea and bergamot. Ideally, Earl Grey has a forceful flavor that assaults the taste buds and overpowers virtually anything that is combined with it. It is a very masculine tea and one that is strong, rich in aroma and uncompromising in its flavor.
Stash's Earl Grey, then, would be like taking a standard Earl Grey and adding a hint of orange to the flavor. There is a very subtle fruit undertaste in every sip of this tea that I’ve had. Stash has managed to cut the dry aftertaste and replace it with a subtly fruity flavor which is delicious and plays on the tastebuds in a way that usual Earl Greys just overwhelm. This flavorful tea is delicious, but is more mild than most Earl Greys.
With a teaspoon of sugar, Stash Earl Grey becomes a little fruitier, a bit sweeter, but no more strong. Similarly, milk does little for the tea, but it is unable to overwhelm the tea flavor. This is not an ideal tea to have iced, unless one likes cool, dry and sour for their beverage choices.
That Stash’s Earl Grey tastes like Earl Grey is no surprise, as the only ingredients are blended black tea and natural flavor of bergamot. Earl Grey tea is all natural, gluten free, Kosher, and does contain caffeine. There is not a ton of caffeine (the box does not say how much there actually is in this, but it does seem like it is sufficient to keep one awake, especially when drunk late at night).
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Earl Grey, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Earl Grey is supposed to be a fairly dark black tea and Stash’s lives up to that. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so simply do not let the tea cups or mugs linger on light colored materials that might stain!
Earl Grey is easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. One of the nice things about this tea - like most - is that so long as it is kept cool and dry, it can last for a long time and it is easy to clean up. However, like all Stash teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.
This version of Earl Grey is good and it offers a slight variety for fans of Earl Grey who are not looking for a significant departure from the tea they love.
For other tea reviews of mine, please check out:
Celestial Seasonings Tropic Of Strawberry
Yogi Berry Detox
Republic Of Tea Earl Greyer
For other tea reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.