There was a brief period when Earl Grey tea of any brand was unavailable in our town – a situation that has fortunately been rectified. Feeling rather desperate for some, I was delighted to find this box of Closemyer Earl Grey tea lurking on a shelf in between organic herb teas, almond flour, and chai seeds among other items. Not having tried this brand before, I bought it.
Naturally I boiled the kettle and eagerly opened the box as soon as I got home … and was assailed by a distinctly chemical smell! This smell was so pervasive that it permeated the tiny foil-wrapped tea bags. Each tea bag is so tightly woven so that it initially ‘floats’ on the water like a little buoy … not good news. Well, neither is the taste. I tried it out on family and friends. Verdicts (before even tasting the tea) ranged from “insecticide” to a “very bad cough mixture smell”. The brew itself is pale, thin-tasting, and distinctly artificial.
What ingredients would you expect to be listed on an average box of Earl Grey tea? Apart from a black tea base, surely you would expect to find bergamot? Bergamot being oil from the rind of bergamot orange. Given the history of tea, the Chinese are generally credited with having first developed scented and different flavoured teas. As Closemyer Earl Grey tea is a product of China – surely it would be a top class tea?
I’m afraid not. We all know that the citrusy flavour of Earl Grey comes from the addition of natural or synthetic bergamot oil – the problem with the Closemyer version is that it is overwhelmingly synthetic in smell and taste. So synthetic in fact that the ingredients are simply listed as … Earl Grey tea!
Reluctant to waste good money, I have valiantly imbibed several cups of this tea – with and without milk. The tea is not to be recommended and so I have finally succumbed to the fact that as it brings me no pleasure, the rest of the bags have simply had to be binned.