Three Earl Grey Teas and Cream.

Lately, I have been drinking more tea. I tend to notice an affinity to drink coffee in the colder months, and teas in the hotter months. I have also been leaning towards more teas because of their wonderful health benefits. I have challenged myself to drink a cup of green tea, and black tea per day to increase my body’s immunity, fighting free radicals, and indulging in something that can stimulate me without the aftertaste of coffee. I love the variety teas offer and have been more creative in selecting unusual flavors and twists on classics.

Earl Grey Tea #1-Art of Tea’s Earl Grey and Creme.

I was at a local shop with a friend of mine, and noticed a bag of Earl Grey Creme by “Art of Tea”. As a side note, I had previously purchased their Coconut Creme black tea and found it’s tropical, nutty aroma true to life, natural and the richness of the tea a pleasant experience.  This caught my attention because I never imagined Earl Grey, it’s light, subtly floral flavor with the refreshing bergamot quality fused with rich and creamy French Vanilla. And its organic.

Perfect for first time introduction to your tastebuds, this individually packaged tea may not be enough it's so good.. I wish I bought the entire tin!

I sniffed the package, and inhaled a wonderful, strong aroma of bergamot and an underlying French Vanilla-custardy delicate note that encouraged me to buy it.  I reflected briefly and remembered my mom making this tea- Earl Grey with a splash of mil and a Vanilla flavored creamer, and wondered why she was so hooked. One taste, and I understood completely.

The first thing I noticed was the fragrance. Uplifting to the senses and emotions, I detected a strong current of bergamot, that married perfectly with the smooth vanilla flavor. Not only was this tea smooth and full in body, but the French Vanilla had toned down the citrus, but didn’t hide it too much. This was a delectable, dessert like treat that had depth. I added 2 teaspoons of white sugar, a little milk, and a Vanilla creamer (Coffee Mate’s French Vanilla). I was also able to make 2 additional cups after my first one, and although the flavor dissipated slightly, it was still strong enough to go around 2 more times. (One who for my friend) Impressive. I literally milked this tea to death-no cheesey pun intended. I paid $2 for this 1 bag, however, it was well worth it. As far as caffeine content is concerned, this tea has a medium amount, perfect to awaken the mind, but not too much.

Art of Tea Earl Grey Creme Yumfactor– 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4.5 stars out of 5) It’s rich, fragrant, citrus and sweet, perfectly balanced by that creme, and the black tea base itself is nothing but quality. True indulgence. Here is the link to their site- http://www.artoftea.com/

Earl Grey #2Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea.

Since my first true experience with Earl Grey tea was nearly perfect, indulgent, and rich, I expected to have a similar one from here on out. I remembered my mother making Earl Grey Tea at home, and decided that all I had to do was to add French Vanilla, or regular Vanilla creamer to the tea, and I’d have a similar concoction as the prior. Boy, was I wrong. -_-

Bigelow’s tea to me is hit or miss. There are times I have had their tea and felt that the flavors weren’t strong enough. For instance, take their Vanilla Chai. Pretty packaging, however, too sweet. I have had other brands of Vanilla Chai and felt the Vanilla accented the Chai well, but still tasted the warm, earthy essences of the spiciness. The spices in chat make it chai! Now, I’m no Chai expert, however, I had the pleasure of tasting all types of chai, and even tasted Chai made from scratch by a native Indian on a regular basis in the past. I wasn’t expecting the same spice factor, but I wasn’t expecting to have a tea that was extremely sweet, either. I digress, though.

Earl Grey #2

So, upon making my Earl Grey with Vanilla creamer, milk and sugar, I noticed that the fragrance was lighter. Okay, not a big deal. I tasted it and compared to the first tea, noticed that the citrus undertones were a bit muted. The vanilla flavor was pleasant,(Coffee Mate’s Italian Sweet Cream Creamer) but the tea was overall not as strong and inviting as the other one. I realized  three things at this very moment: 1) Art of tea makes incredible teas. 2) I shouldn’t compare the two, because this tea doesn’t have the creme finish and it’s a different brand/quality. 3) According to my tastebuds, Bigelow teas are average in my opinion. Some flavors just won’t suffice for me because they are not full/strong. Then I stopped comparing, and realized that the tea itself wasn’t bad. It just won’t be one I drink on a regular basis.

Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea Yumfactor– 3 tongues. (3 out of 5 stars) It’s not disgusting, but I was left searching for another brand. Specifically one with a stronger flavor of bergamot.

Earl Grey #3- Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea.

I was at Target (which I love!!) and saw a tea sale, and went crazy and bought 3 different teas: Mango Coconut Oolong, Double Spice Chai, and Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea. I figured the Double Bergamot would suffice because Bigelow made me feel lie it didn’t have enough bergamot. Maybe the bergamot flavor in the Bigelow brand was a bit shy, and didn’t want to be noticed. I understand, bergamot, don’t worry *pats it on its shy back*.

First and foremost, Stash teas are often lovely, full of flavor and priced at reasonable prices with a variety that is hard to ignore. I have often found myself pleased with the variety of teas, and the flavors they offer. Now, on to the tea.

Good stuff, Stash, good stuff.

I brewed a cup, and took note of the strong presence of the bergamot. Ah ha! I figured going off of the scent alone I would have a great replacement for the other brand (I was not able to make it to the store and get another box/bag/tin because of a few reasons so I needed a replacement). I added the milk and Italian Sweet Cream creamer and was pleasantly surprised with the similarity in body, richness and fragrance this tea had compared to the first one. I bought it for about $2.15 (for a box of 20 bags, which was *much*cheaper than the A.O.T, which was  $12/6oz tin of loose leaf. There was also the individual bags, but, you get the picture.) When I added the Vanilla, it danced gracefully with the citrus overtones, and completed it effortlessly.

Stash’ Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea Yumfactor– 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars) It’s inexpensive, rich, delicate and is satisfying.

*Remember, all of these tea do contain caffeine, so be aware. If I had to rate according to faves, I’d say Art of Tea ranks in 1st place for innovative taste and over all quality, but is pricey, in my opinion. Stash follows closely behind, because of quality and value, although Art of tea’s Earl Grey has a stronger dessert like creamy presence. Then last, comes Bigelow, because, apparently, the bergamot in that tea has an inferiority complex and doesn’t like much attention.

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Panera’s Strawberry and Cream Scone Review

I love variety new flavors and scones so when I went cruising Panera Bread’s website and saw they had a few new items, I was pretty chipper. The one that caught my attention the most was the strawberries and cream flavored

Panera Bread's Strawberry and Cream Scone.

 scone.  Hmm.. Instantly, I wondered it the scone would be glazed, or have a biscuit colored, creamy texture with bits of the dehydrated strawberries, and occasional tastes of vanilly nuggets. I even wondered if there would be any detection of cream at all, just to make sure Panera was not tricking me into thinking cream was in the scone.  Having already tried and loved the orange scone, I knew this one had to be consumed and fast.

So I bought one with a no ice, iced green tea. That’s how I do it, so I can get every drop of my drink without th ice deception making it look like I have more than I actually do. Milking it is my middle name. So what? I’m a broke college student. 😉 The texture was about the texture of their orange scone- rather hard but soft. Imagine eating a donut stick by Little Debbie this is exactly the consistency it has, and the glaze was a clear, sugary glaze that the donut stick has.  I was slightly disappointed, because I was expecting  thicker, opaque glaze similar to their orange scone glaze, but obviously in a vanillish cream variety. The taste was both refreshing as the strawberries gave a tanginess to contrast the sweet glaze, almost buttery more so than creamy, however. I;d have to pass on this one, though it isn’t bad, it does nothing in competition with the beautiful orange scone.

Pros: I love the fact that the scone had real dried strawberries versus those little dried hard balls of fruit you get in jiffy muffin mixes. Bring on the realness!

Cons: The glaze is like a dried glaze you’d eat when eating a little Debbie caked donut. Twins??? Or rather, it’s three-sided cousin from up North. Either way, they can very well be in the same family. May not be a bad thing if you don’t care. Also, strong buttery taste and a harder than normal scone texture. Perhaps, it’s the hardened glaze?

Yumfactor: About 3 tongues and a taste bud.