Earl Grey tea is an extremly popular tea variety and as popular as our English Breakfast tea. The addition of bergamot oil to Ceylon tea, infuses a fragrance and taste profile that is totally unique.
The tea is thought to have been named after Charles Grey (an Earl) who was a British Prime Minister in the 1830’s. However, how it was originated remains a controversial issue with stories that range from a Chinese trader rewarding Earl Gray for having had his staff save a young boys life to a company called Jacksons of Piccadilly being given a secret recipe by the Earl himself.
The most likely origin though is that Earl Grey himself had the tea made with bergamot oil to offset the taste of limescale that tainted the water at his residence.
Of course, bergamot oil is a citrus oil which is made from the Bergamot orange.
Today, tea manufacturers use other orange varieties and may even add addition flavours to enhance and differentiate their Earl Grey offerings.
One notable thing about Earl Grey tea comes from a survey held in the UK. The survey found that most people surveyed thought that Earl Grey was an upmarket tea and was tea drunk by the rich and famous. This just goes to show that branding and an illustrious, if a little controversial, history can go a long way to creating perceptions.
Enjoy this tea and let it take you back over 100 years to the balmy days where tea drinking was not as rushed as it is today, and quality tea was ony enjoyed by the rich and famous.