Good morning, dear tea friends! In my quest to find an enjoyable, caffeine-free cuppa for my evenings, I’m doing a cupping on some Earl Greys: Rooibos Earl Grey, Decaffeinated Earl Grey and Premium Decaffeinated Earl Grey.
I’m using 3 cupping sets I’ve borrowed from work. These cupping sets are great. Having 3 parts – a steeping cup, a lid and a tasting bowl – they’re specifically made for the purpose of steeping a group of teas to compare and contrast them. Each cup has a 6 ounce capacity and little “teeth” on the rim opposite the handle.
I spooned a teaspoon of tea leaves into each cup and steeped for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.
Once my timer sounded, I gently started pouring the tea from the cup into the bowl making sure I was holding the lid on securely as I poured. The tea will pour out into the bowl through the little “teeth”. I layed the cup into the bowl with the top of the cup tilted down so that the rest of the tea would pour out.
To complete the process, I inverted each cup while holding the lid securely and tapped gently on its bottom. This will release the leaves onto the lid so the steeped leaf for each tea may be viewed next to its tea liquor. It’s a little tricky at first to do this but after you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s easy to get into the rhythm of it.
If more than one person is partaking in the cupping, use a spoon for each bowl so you can place a couple of spoonfuls in your cup, try that tea and so on as you make your way down the line. Since it was just me, I sipped directly out of each teabowl.
It’s a good idea to have a small notebook handy so you can jot down your thoughts about each tea.
I found the Rooibos Earl Grey to be very smooth with a lighter bergamot flavor. The vanilla/citrus-y notes of the Rooibos came through in the cup, pleasantly co-existing with the bergamot.
The Decaffeinated Earl Grey had a very sharp taste, most likely indicating that it really couldn’t take as long of a steeping time as the other two. So, next time I’ll try 3-4 minutes for this tea. The bergamot flavor, however, was very light, even oversteeped.
The Premium Decaffeinated Earl Grey was smooth with a stronger bergamot flavor and a sweetness I found very appealing.
My favorite is the Rooibos Earl Grey.
Have you ever done a cupping like this? If so, please share your experience!
Have a great week!