Tea: Special Blend (Teabags)

An Earl Grey Tea from Ahmad Tea

Picture of Special Blend (Teabags)
Brand:Ahmad Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
# Ratings:1 View All
Product page:Special Blend (Teabags)

Review of Special Blend (Teabags)

8 of 104 of 55 of 577 of 100

A local Middle Eastern market had a gift pack of this tea along with a free Ahmad tea mug for $4, so I couldn't pass it up. I decided to try it alongside the loose leaf Special Blend. One thing that I'll note is that, though I assume they're intended to be the same tea, the packaging on the bagged tea doesn't include the "with Earl Grey" wording that is on the box of loose leaf tea.

As should be no surprise, the tea in the bag is chopped into fannings. It smells strongly of bergamot, but the maltiness of the tea penetrates the citrus even before adding water. After steeping, the bagged tea is noticeably darker than the loose leaf, even though everything else is the same (2 grams of tea, four minutes in boiling water from the same kettle).

When tasted together, the tea from the bag is slightly more astringent and bitter than the loose leaf, but otherwise the same tea. The maltiness is dark bread crust and well balanced with the bergamot giving a sort of toast and marmalade flavor. It's more bitter than other Earl Greys than I'm used to, but then again, I'm used to Earl Grey that's packaged for American consumption. By the end of the cup, I'm finding the bitterness to be a bit distracting and unpleasant. Considering the difference between tea bags and loose tea, I think that a shorter steep might be in order. If I'm offered a choice, I think the loose leaf tea gives a better cup, but the difference between bagged and loose isn't as great as with some other brands (Twinings, for example) that I've had the opportunity to sample this way.

As price goes, I bought the box of 100 tea bags on sale for $3.99, but I'm assuming that even before the markdown, it was a gray market item, since Ahmad's website sells the same box for $15. Four dollars is obviously a steal, but even at suggested retail, this tea is priced comparably to US grocery store brands (like Bigelow, which is my standard for comparison), but far superior in quality.

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