Last year, I tried an Earl Grey Creme by Art of Tea that has left an indelible positive impression, and I’ve been searching for its equal ever since. Perhaps it’s better in my memory than in truth (I’ve ordered some to find out), but upon opening this Vanilla Creme Earl Grey, the fragrance alone was a let down. The Earl Grey base wasn’t as complex as I prefer; I enjoy being able to identify each ingredient—the base tea, the bergamot, the flower petals, the vanilla—while savoring how well they marry, and this one was, um, muddy?

My first cup was steeped a little long, to be honest, so it was more tannic than creamy. So, I tried again the next day. And it’s a decent tea. But I wouldn’t drink it for the decadence I want from a creme tea, and I wouldn’t choose it as an Earl Grey. Other teahouses offer better Earls. Other teahouses offer better cremes. The descriptions on the California Teahouse website are so personable and fun that I wanted to love this tea, but it just didn’t happen for me.

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