I am more interested in decaffeinated teas than I used to be – every year, it seems, I have to stop drinking caffeine earlier in the evening in order to get a decent night’s sleep. I’m always on the lookout for decaf versions of teas I already like – there are lots of plain decaf teas out there, but I want some of the same flavored and scented teas I enjoy the most in their caffeine versions, in decaf versions. And here is one such – a lovely Earl Grey with lavender added, that tastes exactly like the fully-caffeinated version.
Teas Etc describes this tea as:
This house blend is an enticing combination of traditional Earl Grey decaffeinated black tea and superior quality French lavender. The black tea is decaffeinated with a CO2 process, maintaining the maximum taste and benefit. All the flavor of our caffeinated blend without the caffeine.
When I first opened the packet, the aroma of lavender was slightly stronger than the aroma of bergamot; once brewed, the aroma was about an equal blend of both. In taste, the bergamot is definitely stronger. The underlying black tea, from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is a moderate one – not too strong, medium body and briskness.
The tea tastes good without anything added, but a small pinch of sugar doesn’t hurt it. I personally don’t like milk in my Earl Grey, so I don’t have an objective opinion about that – chances are, thought, that whatever your general opinion is about milk in Earl Grey without lavender will hold true for the Earl Grey with lavender. Normally I like a bit of lemon or lime in my Earl Grey, but because of the lavender, I don’t usually add it to this tea – I think that the sourness of those citrus flavors conflicts with the lavender, even though it normally complements the bergamot, which is also a citrus.
This makes a moderately good iced tea, although it loses a great deal of the aroma when iced; definitely add sugar to it as an iced tea, and mint also goes nicely with the lavender. Remember when making iced teas out of scented teas, that they are usually scented with oils, which will separate and turn bitter if you leave them standing too long, so drink your iced tea fresh after brewing!
This tea is available in a one-ounce portion which comes in a cute little tin with a leaf design, or in larger quantities that come in resealable black plastic packets. Because of the tin and the sturdiness of the plastic packet, this tea should keep well – you can order larger quantities and be reasonably sure that if it takes you a year to use them up, it’ll still be OK. The labels on the tins peel off with just a bit of work, so that you can re-use the tin.