A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a lady named Emily Stone letting me know about the launch of her new tea business, Mr Earl Tea. When she offered to send me a subscription box my head filled with dreams of an afternoon spent sipping earl grey from miniature tea cups and nibbling on cakes dotted with fruit and dusted with icing sugar. So I gathered the teapots and vintage floral plates (thanks ladies) and hosted a fair tea party from my teeny tiny apartment. It was a lovely excuse to catch up with the girls, try the teas and find out what Mr Earl is all about.
The concept is simple. Mr Earl sources premium teas from Australia and New Zealand and chooses three each month to go into the subscription boxes. Tea lovers can sign up for a one, three or six month subscription ($20, $45 or $78). You won’t know what you are getting until that Mr Earl box arrives at your door but that’s the beauty of it. You get to sample teas that you may not necessarily have tried before or chosen yourself if you had the choice. Each subscription box contains around 50 grams of loose leaf tea and comes with an info card so you know exactly what you are drinking and how to brew the perfect cup. If you love any of the teas you can buy them online from Mr Earl’s website.
My January subscription box was their first ever. It came with a No.7 French Early Grey from Deitea, a fresh mint tea from the Informal Tea Co and premium Matcha Green Tea Powder from Kenko Tea.
We started with Deitea’s French Earl Grey. A twist on the traditional, Deitea’s version is a romantic earl grey blend mingled with calendula flowers and delicate rose petals. The result is a divine, clean tasting tea with pleasing floral notes (both on the palate and the nose), while still maintaining that distinctive earl grey taste. It was a truly comforting cup and we all fell head over heels. We brewed a second pot despite the other two teas waiting for us.
Next up was the Premium Matcha green tea by Kenko. Sourced from Nishio Japan, Kenko’s matcha is a vibrant jade green colour with a soft powdery texture. Matcha is traditionally used in formal Japanese tea ceremonies. Mr Earl suggests that the powder be sifted into a bowl of hot water (70 degrees Celsius or cooled for five minutes) and whisked quickly to produce a creamy, frothy tea.
Unfortunately we forgot the sifting part and our whisking did not produce lasting frothiness (perhaps it wasn’t meant to), but overall I thought the matcha was a wonderful, smooth tea. One of the ladies complained of a few minor clumps of powder here and there but I’m sure the sifting would have prevented this problem.
While I’m no expert on matcha, Kenko’s version is a soft, elegant green tea with a distinct earthiness and not a hint of bitterness. You could just taste that this tea was bursting with health giving qualities. Mr Earl tells us that matcha has 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea. Perfect for those dreary, sniffly winter days.
Lastly we brewed a gorgeous pot of the organic mint tea. I am a daily peppermint tea kind of girl so was super excited to try this one. Turning the old style mint tea on its head, the organic fresh mint is a giddy mix of organic green tea, peppermint, spearmint, rosemary and a tumble of lavender.
The addition of the rosemary and lavender was truly inspired, giving the tea warming, soothing qualities instead of that hit of refreshment you get from pure peppermint. It was a great end to our tea tasting party.
Overall we thought Mr Earl’s subscription box was lovely and would be especially wonderful for tea lovers with a thirst for new and exciting varieties. Mr Earl tells us that each subscription box will make around 20 cups of tea but if I had to guess I would have said more. My friends and I spent a lovely afternoon sampling all the January offerings and had lots left over. Of course, next month’s subscription box won’t have the teas we tried but they can all be purchased from Mr Earl’s website. It’s a great idea and a fantastic opportunity to sample some different and interesting blends.
My review of those gorgeous cakes above will be coming in Part 2 – keep an eye out 🙂
MFM received a complimentary January subscription box from Mr Earl Tea.