First, let me apologise to Novus for my very delayed review! They graciously sent me several samples of the Novus Sapphire Earl Grey tea they are known for… several months ago. But better late than never.
And trust me, this tea is worth the wait. Novus Sapphire Earl Grey is a delicate and beautifully crafted classic tea blend that every Brit should try at least once in their life. In this detailed tea review, I’ll go over what you can expect from the flavour, how best to brew it (I have a great recipe), and where to buy it in the UK.
Novus Sapphire Earl Grey at a Glance
- Blend: Ceylon black tea with bergamot and malva flowers
- Flavour: Smooth Ceylon tea with light citrus peel bitterness and bergamot
This is one of the most refreshing Earl Grey teas I’ve ever tried. The smooth but slightly bitter flavour is wonderful for iced tea and beautiful when lightly sweetened. It’s a must-try and one of Novus’ best blends.
Full Review – Novus Tea Earl Grey
- Type: Tagged pyramid sachet
- Tea: Large leaf Ceylon black tea
- Additives: Bergamot, malva flowers
- Flavour Notes: Lemon, black tea, light, citrus peel, bright
- Aroma: Fruity, zest, lime, orange, bitter, tannins, bergamot, floral
- Milk or Lemon: Lemon and/or honey
- Where to Buy: Amazon UK
Novus kindly sent me a range of different formats of this Sapphire Earl Grey blend. I’ve been using the loose leaf to make my delicious Earl Grey and honey iced tea, but I’m using the pyramid sachets for this review. And don’t worry, the actual tea leaf used in every format is the same – I’ve checked.
The aroma from the dry leaves gives away that this tea is from Ceylon. It’s bright, slightly sharp and very clean with distinct tannin notes. There are also fruity notes to this tea, with hints of lime and orange.
It brews into a clear mid-amber brown tea colour – the kind that doesn’t go well with milk. See my notes about what to drink this tea with below.
As for the aroma from the brewed tea, the floral aspect of bergamot shines through with soft black tea tannins. It’s quite delicious and very delicate. Beautiful!
And finally, we get to the flavour. It’s smooth, slick and hydrating in your mouth. The black tea has a gentle body and light floral notes. But there’s also a bitterness that’s quite bold. In an Earl Grey tea, that bitterness works with the bergamot to create a citrus peel/pith flavour.
It’s not unpleasant, it’s just very rejuvenating. Adding something a little sweet balances the whole cup out.
How to Brew Novus Earl Grey Tea
There is conflicting advice on how to brew this tea. Novus’ official website states use 100°C water and brew for 4 minutes, however the packet states that you should use 95°C water and brew for 3 minutes.
I wholeheartedly recommend the 95°C/3 minutes method as it lowers the natural bitterness and produces a smoother brew. Delicious!
If you are drinking this tea hot, add a little sugar and/or a slice of lemon before you drink it. I don’t recommend milk with this Earl Grey as it’s just too delicate and floral.
Then we come to my iced tea recipe:
- Brew 4 Novus Sapphire Earl Grey pyramids in 1 litre of 95°C water,
- Remove tea bags once brewed very strongly,
- Dissolve in 2 tablespoons of organic, natural honey,
- Let it cool completely and store in the fridge,
- Pour over ice and lemon slices to serve.
Why Novus Teas?
Novus are a British tea brand with a great range of tea blends. I’ve reviewed a couple on the blog so far and I really like their flavour combinations and quality.
To start with, the pyramid teabag is biodegradable rather than plastic. If you buy the loose leaf version (the packet sizes are very generous) then you’ll reduce the packaging waste further.
Next, the quality of the tea is brilliant. Novus uses large tea leaf pieces, albeit not whole leaf. This ensures a better, more rounded flavour… although it can mean your tea takes longer to brew than your usual teabags.
Furthermore, Novus add malva flowers to the blend along with bergamot. This is genius! It adds a delicate floral flavour without detracting from the bergamot. Bergamot is naturally floral and citrusy, so the flowers just enhance that rather than adding another dimension.
It’s a clever Earl Grey.
Overall, this is a stunning Earl Grey that you really must try. Some Earl Greys are too light, others are so bold you just have to add milk. But Novus Sapphire Earl Grey is perfectly balanced and artfully blended with malva flowers.
You can find it on Amazon in the UK, or through Novus’ official website.
Hmmm. What can I recommend after this stunning tea? I think it has to be another great loose leaf tea. Umi Tea Sets does a brilliant Lapsang Souchong loose leaf tea. It has smoky notes and a great intensity. If you like chai, try blending it with whole spices.