Review of Earl Grey Tea Bags

AromaFlavorValueTotal
9 of 105 of 55 of 588 of 100
SuperbExcellentOutstanding

Now this was an unexpected treat! Rarely (if ever) have I had the loose and bagged version of a tea from the same company, at the same time, from the same order. Not only that, they're rather different (how?), but both delicious. I specifically had ordered the EG loose mainly for my wife, and the EG bags came in a variety pack I got for its other teas. So here they are, side by side. Since I already posted a review of the EG loose, I'll just highlight some key differences along the way.

The dry-bag aroma was sharp, direct and eye-opening, as if the bergamot was concentrated from earlier-picked (more sour?) fruits. Yet the tea still came through. The in-mouth flavor and in-cup smell weren't sour, though unlike the loose version, the aftertaste was, just a bit. Like the dry aroma, the taste was sharp, rather forceful, not as layered nor creamy as the loose-leaf, and rather potent on both bergamot and base-tea flavor. If tea has personality, this one is the "brutally honest type". Bergamot and rich black tea are the two tastes, are well-balanced, and don't hide nor pretend something else. This is a no-holds-barred waker-upper, for sure.

The bagged EG offers no doubt as to what it is, and it's not the least bit subtle. I happen to like that directness and power, though fans of more nuanced, multi-flavor EGs likely will appreciate the loose version better. The bagged EG also got more bitter, quickly, and almost surely would have become uncomfortably so had I left the bags in for another minute. I was tempted to experiment, but didn't want to "ruin" a nice experience for that purpose, on a limited number of bags. [Yes, I even steeped the bags for less time, consistently.]

The bagged tea brewed up very dark like the loose, but much faster, and also took less time to waft up the in-cup aroma. I guess that's a function of the finer chopping done to the bagged leaves, to some extent, though given other distinctions above, I also suspect the two versions came from different base batches. Indeed, I was surprised at how contrasting (but both wonderful) the Murchie's loose and bagged EGs are. If you like EG variety while maintaining quality, both teas provide it. Just don't expect identical twins; they're more like siblings that look similar but have disparate personalities, both fun to hang out with, as long as you treat each as an individual. I ended up grading them the same for different reasons!

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