Friday, 19 June 2015
Shibui Tea: Earl Grey Pyramids
A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a lovely chap called John from Shibui Tea.
Shibui Tea is a small family business that can be found in Edinburgh, Scotland, and John kindly asked if I'd like some samples of his new ranges, and I, of course, said yes.
I was kindly sent several samples of all sorts of tea, from red tea, to green tea to the more traditional black tea's. This evening, I decided to pop on some music (some great fare from The Small Faces. "Wouldn't it be nice to get on with me neighbours?" Steve Marriott is currently asking!) and try one of the generous samples that John sent to me.
In a post I wrote this afternoon I was bemoaning the chopping and changing in established Earl Grey recipes so I thought it was timely to review a Earl Grey. And as readers know, my heart does rather belong to the Earl!
Shibui Tea's wonderful Earl Grey comes in a pyramid teabag. I really liked the texture of the teabag. It was smooth and silky and contained a generous amount of tea. I love the idea of pyramids, I find there is nothing nicer to feel the fabric of the teabag and just feel the tea, too! Tea is such a wonderful thing that we should not restrict ourselves to the taste and smell, it's also nice to feel too!
I infused the teabag for about four minutes and enjoyed the citrus flavour that the tea emitted. Very fresh, very summery and delicious.
Once I was settled on my comfy bed, I took my first sip and instantly knew that this was a Earl Grey that I was going to enjoy very much.
I know that I often say this when reviewing a Earl Grey, but although it looks a simplistic tea on the surface it's one of the hardest tea's to get right. Often it's either totally devoid of flavour, or, it's overly perfumed and artificial making your cup of tea turn into a bitter mess that is undrinkable. There are very few tea's that get it right, let alone give you a wonderful, perfect cup of Earl Grey. So far, the only company who have got it right is Northern Tea. And now, happily, I can add Shibui to the list too!
This Earl Grey is evenly balanced. Firstly, it brews to a gorgeous mahogany colour. Rich, dark and inviting. It does not have that strange oily skin on the top that I have encountered in some Earl Grey's, obviously from the use of cheap bergamot oil. It's smooth and robust.
This strikes the right balance between having the traditional flavour of Earl Grey whilst retaining the actual flavour of the tea. Many brands over compensate with the bergamot and other flavours but this allows you to experience the nice flavour of the tea behind the flavouring. And the tea is of a lovely quality too.
So what of the flavouring? It's evenly balanced, present yet delicate, you know you're drinking Earl Grey but it feels totally natural, not at all artificial. It doesn't resemble the perfume department of Debenhams which Earl Grey can tend to do.
The bergamot brings a light, fresh citrusey tone, it's not at all heavy or hard to drink. It has a comforting element about it, making it a versatile, all year round tea. Brilliant for warm summer days, but equally as comforting when the nights draw in.
After finishing the tea it left my mouth feeling refreshed. I thoroughly enjoyed this Earl Grey.
In the eighteen months since I established this blog I have tried lots of Earl Grey's, which swing from absolutely glorious to absolutely foul. There doesn't seem to be many in the middle tea's. Earl Grey, for me at least, is a tea of extremes. One or the other!
I loved this tea and it certainly is one of the best I've had. You simply do get the best of both worlds in this tea. A lovely flavour coupled with a rich black tea which is strong and holds it's own against the bergamot flavouring.
It is quite fashionable for Earl Grey's to come with cornflowers in, but I find, at times this makes it a bit too strong. This tea doesn't have cornflowers or anything else except bergamot and that is what makes it so nice. It's simple but effective.
If you are hunting for a really good tea, and especially if you prefer your tea in bags, I'd highly recommend this wonderful Earl Grey from Shibui
Personally, I can't wait to dip in my box of treats to try some of the other marvelous tea's John kindly sent me.
In the meantime, if you are hunting down for the perfect Earl Grey do visit their website. Don't miss out on a great tea!