It’s always a good Monday when there’s an Earl Grey tea involved. Today, Hampstead Earl Grey is on the agenda. I’ve taken my tea session outdoors, not just because it’s a beautiful day, but because I want to honour the eco-friendliness of this tea by sipping it in nature.
This tea is certified organic, biodynamic (see below for what this means), and Fairtrade. I am very impressed by this – it’s a huge deal and the requirements for these certifications are by no means easy to pass.
Well done, Hampstead!
Now, let’s find out if the flavour is as good as the quality.
Hampstead Earl Grey Teabags at a Glance
- Blend: Darjeeling black tea with bergamot oil
- Flavour: A smooth and gentle black tea with strong citrus notes
What a lovely tea! Hampstead Earl Grey provides a very smooth and welcoming black tea base with strong citrus notes from the bergamot fruit. There’s no astringency in the cup whatsoever.
Full Review – Hampstead Tea Earl Grey Blend
- Type: Tagged paper filter teabag (unbleached, biodegradable)
- Tea: Black tea from Darjeeling, India
- Additives: Bergamot oil from Reggio Calabria, Italy
- Flavour Notes: Strong citrus, smooth, gentle
- Aroma: Classic Earl Grey, citrus, bergamot, lemon, drying
- Milk or Lemon: Either
- Where to Buy: Amazon UK or Hampstead Website
I love the scent of bergamot but so few teas manage to get it right. With the price of bergamot oils, most teabag brands opt for bergamot flavouring which just isn’t quite the same. Thankfully, Hampstead use natural bergamot oil, extracted from fruits grown in the Reggio Calabria region of Italy. You can really tell when you sample the dry loose leaf. The aroma is rich with a bergamot lemon scent and classic black tea base.
Once brewed, it’s quite dark in colour but catches the sunlight magnificently, throwing highlights of amber gold around your cup.
Mmm. The aroma of the brewed tea just hits the spot. Overall, it’s a smooth black tea aroma with classic bergamot notes tickling your nose.
The flavour is superb too. Citrus notes are strong from the bergamot, which is excellent as they’re often drowned out by a strong tea base, and the Darjeeling tea is effortlessly smooth. The texture is silky, totally free of astringency, and just glides over your tastebuds.
As for mouthfeel, it’s hydrating at first but becomes drying towards the end of each sip. It’s incredibly pleasant and refreshing.
To summarise, Hampstead have done a fantastic job with this one. It’s a well-executed Earl Grey with a strong flavour and great aroma. The only way to boost my star rating higher would be to introduce more complexity to the Darjeeling base… but then again, the simplicity of this tea is part of the charm!
How to Brew Earl Grey
Earl Grey is a classic and is very simple to brew. Pop one teabag in your mug or cup, pour over freshly drawn boiling water, and let it steep for up to 3 minutes.
For my review, I followed these instructions to the letter. My cup holds approximately 250ml and I found the 3-minute brew recommendation to be spot on. In fact, if you want to drink your Earl Grey with milk you could probably get away with 4 or 5 minutes of steeping instead.
You have a choice of lemon or milk. Both are delightful and I highly recommend you try both (just not at the same time).
Why Hampstead Tea Biodynamic Teabags?
Hampstead Tea sent me a huge bundle of their range on Instagram, after I won a giveaway. This is just one example of their generosity, and their amazing certifications are another. This Hampstead Earl Grey tea is certified:
- Organic, for a clean and chemical-free flavour,
- Fairtrade, to ensure the tea farmers are paid fairly,
- Biodynamic by Demeter, so the way this tea is grown gives back to the environment.
Biodynamic farming is wonderful. Here’s how Hampstead describe it on their website: “The goal therefore for any biodynamic farm is thus to minimise external inputs; not stretch the land beyond its natural capacity; and for human activity to put back more than is taken out. The aim is resilience and regeneration.”
And as for the quality of the tea, it’s not bad. The grade is poor, as you’d expect from a teabag, but the sourcing of the ingredients and their vitality is incredible… possibly the best I’ve ever tasted.
This is a spectacular tea and one that any Earl Grey lover should try. Not only is the flavour and sourcing amazing, but the packaging is notable too. It’s entirely plastic-free and biodegradable!
You can find this tea on Amazon, which usually offers the best delivery options, or on Hampstead’s official website (link above).
This is just one Earl Grey of the many I have reviewed at Immortal Wordsmith over the years. If you’d like to see how Hampstead Earl Grey stacks up to the likes of Twinings, T2, Whittard and more, read my Best Earl Grey Teas List next.