2012/12/30

Dorian Grey


One of the teas I'm really liking lately is Dorian Grey.

I had originally hoped to try it in the Earl Grey loose leaf sampler from The English Tea Store, but they must have run low on Dorian Grey sampler pouches and instead replaced it with a sampler of Scottish Breakfast (which is a far cry from Dorian Grey and not at all like Earl Grey). Similarly I ordered the chocolate lovers sampler and instead of Night of the Iguana I got an extra pouch of chocolate mint tea. Do not think I am judging ETS, the sampler had a disclaimer that if they are low on stock they will substitute it with something else so I knew there was a chance I would not get everything I was expecting. So far I have only ordered from ETS once but they have a good variety of teas and some of the lowest prices I have seen anywhere for loose leaf tea and other tea stuff. I highly recommend shopping from ETS, just keep in mind about the samplers being substituted.

So I was still wanting to try Dorian Grey tea. for $5 I could order 4 oz of Dorian Grey from the ETS, probably the best deal for Dorian Grey but I did not want to have 4 oz of the stuff in case I did not like it. For those unfamiliar with loose leaf tea 4 oz equals about 50 cups of tea. That's a lot of tea if I don't like it. So I searched for a smaller size and cheaper price. My search was further complicated by the fact that there is more than one type of Dorian Grey tea out there.
  • The ETS Dorian Grey has black tea base, dried apple pieces, cornflower petals, linden flowers, and mallow flowers. 
  • Herbal Infusions Dorian Grey was more Earl Grey-like. Premium black tea, apple pieces, cornflower petals, daisy white, elder blossoms, linden flowers, mallow flowers, bergamot, caramel. It has ingredients similar to the ETS blend but has bergamot which to me is essential for Earl Grey tea.
  • Luhse Tea Dorian Grey is Earl Grey with vanilla, described as "Earl Grey's flamboyant brother". The Luhse Tea website lists black tea, cornflowers, bergamot oil and natural flavors as the ingredients.
  • Sympathy for the Kettle's Dorian Grey was even more different. No mallow flowers in this blend. The ingredients are Earl Grey, rose hips, rose petals and a touch of vanilla. Sympathy for the Kettle claims to have the original Dorian Grey which they first blended in 2003. I do not know when the other companies began blending what they call Dorian Grey, but it's likely Sympathy for the Kettle was first and that's why the other Dorian Greys are different from theirs. 
I would like to try Sympathy for the Kettle's original Dorian Grey but $7 for 2 oz of tea is more than I can afford at the moment. So I shopped around until I found the cheapest Dorian Grey out there. Bonjour Gourmet has Metropolitan Tea Company Dorian Grey, $3.39 for 2 oz. ETS would be the best deal, but as I said I did not want 4 oz of tea in case I did not like it. I also ordered Russian Earl Grey, Night of the Iguana Chocolate Chai, and because it was close to Christmas I ordered two 3" tea strainers for my sisters.

Bonjour Gourmet shipped my stuff right away and only a few days later I was opening my package, sniffing my new teas, but there was only one tea strainer. I checked the packaging and the packing slip, it listed two tea strainers but there was only the one. This sort of thing happens, especially around the holidays. Frenzied packer trying to get everything in the box properly wrapped up and misses something, drops something, has a pile of orders to fill. They're human. Just a few weeks before I was missing a pouch of black forest tea from ETS, I called the English Tea Store and they took care of it, sent me a pouch of the missing tea right away.

Not worth getting upset about
I knew it was not worth getting upset about, that it could easily be taken care of, and the sooner I gave them a call the sooner they can ship out the missing strainer so I could get it in time for Christmas. Having worked in customer service (which is hell) I've vowed to always be polite to those in customer service, rude customers can really ruin an already not-so-good day. I went to my room, got my cell and started to punch in the number when I heard a noise from across the hall. It was my brother playing and failing at some video game. I don't know what kids are playing these days but it did not sound like he was having a very fun time, he was very frustrated and swearing loudly. I waited but my brother was not cooling off and only seemed to be getting louder. As polite as I am whoever on the other end hears someone screaming "Load already! EFF you!" might think it's me yelling at them over a missing tea strainer. That's not what I want to do, spreading bad feelings does no one any good.

I know from experience that telling some irate yelling person to shut up never works (It only makes them more irate and they will swear and yell more and at you), but I had to go Christmas shopping so I could not wait much longer. So I took my cell to a nice quiet part of the house (the bathroom) and placed my call. The guy on the other end was also polite and said they would get it to me right away. This was the Thursday before Christmas, I did not think it would get to me on time but they must have overnighted it because Saturday morning there was a small box containing the missing tea strainer. I was impressed.

So back to the Dorian Grey. Here is my tasting note on Steepster:
Dorian Grey and Russian Earl Grey
I've been drinking this tea almost every day since I got it and am finally getting around to making a tasting note.

I thought in order for a tea to be an Earl Grey it needed to be infused with bergamot. However I do not taste any bergamot and do not see it listed in the ingredients.

Dorian Grey and Russian Earl Grey leaves in one strainer.
Besides the lack of bergamot this is a good tea. It's very creamy, I do not taste caramel but other creamyish flavors like vanilla. It's a mild tea. Usually I brew it for 5 minutes but got impatient, next time I'll be more patient, this cup is weak compared to the 5+ minute cups I've had before. I take it with milk and sugar.

To make up for the lack of bergamot I've tried brewing the leaves with other EG teas, like ETS double bergamot. The best combo I've found is half Dorian Grey and half Russian Earl Grey- Russian Earl Grey is on the other side of the Earl Grey spectrum.

Leaves expanding

Metropolitan Tea Company's Dorian Grey is pretty good but lacks the bergamot. When I run out of this tea and have money to buy more I think I'll try a Dorian Grey with more bergamot in it.

Tea brewed for five minutes

Tea with milk and sugar

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