Queen Elizabeth II starts every day with a pot of Earl Grey tea (no milk or sugar). Image source
Earl Grey may be the most British of all teas.
Earl Grey tea is a very aromatic black tea blend, originally made with Chinese black tea and oil of bergamot. Bergamot is a citrus fruit (an obscure branch of the orange family) grown around the Mediterranean. Bergamot is rarely eaten fresh (very bitter), but is wonderfully aromatic with a citrus tang.
But who was Earl Grey?
Portrait of Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey
No one really knows the origin of Earl Grey tea (the two biggest English specialty tea companies both claim to be the originators of Earl Grey). But most people think Earl Grey is named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, prime minister of England in the 1830’s. Legend has it that Charles Grey received this tea as a gift from a Chinese mandarin in 1803 in return for one of the Earl’s servants saving the mandarin’s son from drowning.
There are a couple of problems with this legend: first Charles Grey never was in China and bergamot has never been grown in China. But it’s a darn good story.
Since 1803 there have been many variations on Earl Grey; adding flowers like lavender, varying the amounts or kinds of bergamot, making a Cream Earl Grey etc.
They all share a couple of things; an incredibly aromatic and flavorful tea, and a mysterious past.
SHOP THE EARL GREY COLLECTION
Earl Grey White Tip
The best Earl Grey black tea we’ve ever tasted. Extremely aromatic and flavorful, this is a blend of Ceylon black tea, Chinese Silver Needles white tea, and natural flavor. This black tea is more powerful than most Earl Greys, and a hint of floral citrus comes through in both the aroma and cup. Once you've had this tea you may never be able to go back to regular Earl Grey again.
Earl Grey Lavender
Earl Grey with Lavender has all the wonderful citrus tanginess of traditional Earl Grey, but the addition of lavender brings a floral sweetness to the cup. The lavender also makes this tea powerfully aromatic. We’ve blended in blue cornflowers to make this an even more beguiling tea. Earl Grey with Lavender is sometimes called Lady Grey or Earl Grey Blue.
Earl Grey Crème
This tea has an incredible smooth, silky, sweetness to it. It is almost like drinking velvet. We begin with a delicious traditional Earl Grey and add natural flavor and calendula petals to make this a one-of-a-kind Earl Grey.