Earl Grey is a black tea flavored with citrus. Though origin stories of this classic English favorite vary, the blend has been served since the 1820's.
What is Earl Grey tea?
Though ingredients may vary slightly, Earl Grey tea contains a black tea and flavors of citrus. Variations may include blue cornflowers or other herbal ingredients. The original Earl Grey is believed to have included oil from bergamot, but today's blends may include pieces of bergamot or other types of orange as well as oil extracts.
The Origin of Earl Grey Tea
The tea gets its name from Earl Charles Grey, Prime minister of England from 1830 to 1834. One story suggests the black tea flavored with bergamot oil was a gift from a Chinese diplomat. Another legend claims the tea was received from a grateful Chinese man whose son was saved during a potential drowning incident by one of Lord Grey's men. Yet another story states the bergamot oil was asked to be added to black tea to help counteract the taste of the local water in England. There are many stories as to how Earl Grey became associated with the tea, but no one knows for sure how it came to be so. Nevertheless, the blend has been served from the 1820s through today.
Variations of Earl Grey Tea
Since there is no specific recipe for the tea, other than a black tea with bergamot, there exist many variations of this common blend. There is no registered trademark on "Earl Grey", so many tea companies produce their own version. Earl Grey Green and Earl Grey White contain green tea and white tea, respectively, in lieu of black tea. Similarly, there is a Rooibos Earl Grey that contains the red bush herbal tea from South Africa instead of black tea. The popular beverage known as a London Fog contains Earl Grey tea with lavender and/or vanilla flavor blended with steamed milk.
Which variation will become your new favorite?