Friday, 26 June 2015

Whittards: Afternoon Earl Grey

Today is a first for Laura's Tea Room - I am writing my first review of a Whittard's tea!

Recently, I found myself in London and after visiting Twinings, we walked up to Covent Garden and I popped into the Whittards shop which can be found in the center of Covent Garden. On the surface level it looks tiny, but there is a extensive downstairs part of the shop.

On the top level there are lovely gift sets and biscuits, but it's downstairs where it get's interesting - they have tea's in huge caddies that can be brought loose and also a wide selection of boxed tea too. Not having much money left to spend I decided to try at least one tea and I opted for their Afternoon Earl Grey tea.

The tea comes in a box of fifty standard round bags. Inside there is a secure silver foil packet. The outer box is attractively designed. It's pretty and traditional.

You may be wondering why Whittard's haven't appeared on here before. There is a reason of course! Many years ago, when I first started drinking tea black, I went out for the day and purchased a tin of their Christmas tea. I was new to tea and a baby when it came to drinking tea without milk. I brewed up a pot of the Christmas tea, took a sip and was almost sick. It was not Whittard's fault it was mine. Christmas tea's, as you may know, are full of spices and things like cloves. It was way too strong and shamefully, I was put off from trying Whittards. It was a error on my part and now I'm wondering what lovely tea's have I missed in the interim!

So, I was stood in the basement of Whittards a couple of weeks ago wondering what to try first, and my eye was caught by this lovely, delicate tea.

The tea consists of a black tea from Indonesia with a light bergamot flavouring.

I couldn't wait to fire up the tea maker and get going with this tea. I put three bags into the pot and brewed for three minutes, however, I soon discovered this wasn't enough, so have changed the process slightly and now use four teabags and brew for four minutes.

Afternoon Earl Grey is not the kind of Earl Grey to knock you out with it's strength so if you like a hearty Earl Grey this may not be the Earl Grey for you, but, even though I love Earl Grey very strong, I appreciate this is a afternoon tea, so it's intended to be lighter version. After all, afternoon tea's are intended to be taken with cakes and all things delicate and this tea reflects that very well.

First of all, I enjoyed the depth of flavour I had with the black tea. It's delicate but tasty and is not at all bitter or overpowering. It's a very refreshing tea, light and airy but with a solid base.

The bergamot flavouring is very delicate and is very evenly balanced.  It not in your face like some bergamot flavourings can be, but it certainly makes it's presence known. I do think that perhaps it could be a little bit stronger, but it enjoyable none the less.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this tea. It's almost a more feminine spin on Earl Grey. It's very refreshing and it's lightness is very enjoyable. In a odd way you feel as though you are not overburdened with bergamot which I can feel like sometimes when I drink a lot of Earl Grey.

Obviously, this is perfect for afternoon tea, to serve up to your friends in your best china! But it's just as nice to take in your old battered mug as well!

This is ideal if you like your tea a little weaker, or if you find many of the standard Earl Grey's too strong. It's also a great starter tea if you are stepping into the world of taking tea without milk, as many black tea's and many flavoured tea's can me quite overpowering when you first ditch the milk.

After a bumpy start with Whittards I am now more than impressed and I certainly look forward to trying more of their wonderful tea's.

And, there are quite a few branches here in London so I'll be spoiled for choice.

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