Earl Grey Tea is overwhelmingly popular in the UK and beyond! It is probably the most renowned tea in the world! But what is Earl Grey tea? Where does it come from? How is it produced? Let us discover all this!
Earl Grey Tea owes its name to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who was the British Prime Minister in the 1830s.
There are many legends surrounding the history of Earl Grey Tea.
The most popular version of the origins of this blend is that one of Lord Grey’s men had rescued a son of a Chinese mandarin from drowning. To express his gratitude, the mandarin had given Lord Grey a very special present, a box of bergamot-flavoured black tea.
This legend, albeit popular, is highly unlikely to be true because, first, Lord Grey had never set foot in China and, secondly, bergamot was not used for tea flavouring in China in the early 19th century.
However, what is likely to be true is that Lord Grey received a box of bergamot-flavoured black tea as a diplomatic gift in the 1830s. Then his family took to this tea, and Lady Grey started offering it to their guests. That is how Earl Grey Tea had gained popularity amongst the upper classes by the 1850s.
Additionally, the introduction of Earl Grey Tea to high society coincided with the creation of the afternoon tea tradition. Not surprisingly, Earl Grey Tea remains a very popular choice for afternoon tea to this day!
What is Earl Grey Tea? Production.
Earl Grey Tea is composed of different types of Loose Leaf Black Tea, flavoured with bergamot oil. The teas chosen for Earl Grey Tea are usually Darjeeling, Ceylon tea and Assam, in relatively equal proportions. In some versions of Earl Grey Tea, Keemun is used instead of Ceylon Tea.
However, the crucial element in Earl Grey Tea is bergamot, to which this tea owes its fragrance and refined taste.
Bergamot orange (or “citrus bergamica”) grows in the Calabria region of Italy and blossoms in winter. It is a hybrid of 2 other types of citrus fruit: the sweet lime and the bitter orange.
What is Earl Grey Tea ? Variations.
Earl Grey Tea has many variations that have also become very popular.
The most famous variation of Earl Grey Tea is Lady Grey Tea, which was developed by Twinings. Lady Grey Tea consists of the same elements as the classic Earl Grey Tea. However, in addition to bergamot oil in its flavouring there is another element present in this tea type: the lemon peel.
Therefore, thanks to the addition of another citrus fruit, Lady Grey Tea is even more refreshing than the classic Earl Grey.
Smoky Earl Grey tea is a very interesting variation of Earl Grey Tea, invented by Fortnum & Mason! This tea type, in addition to other black tea types and bergamot oil, also contains Lapsang Souchong Tea, which gives it a smoky aroma and taste.
Another lovely tea type invented by Fortnum & Mason, which stems from Earl Grey Tea, is the Countess Grey Tea! This tea type contains marigold flowers in addition to other compulsory ingredients of Earl Grey Tea. That is why this tea is particularly aromatic!
Earl Grey Tea does not only have black variations. For example, the green version of Earl Grey Tea, i.e. the Earl Grey Green Tea, is also quite interesting. Usually it consists of classic Sencha Green Tea and bergamot oil. Thanks to the fact that it is a green tea, it is particularly refreshing, aromatic, and rich in vitamins!
Finally, the most sophisticated variation of Earl Grey Tea is the White Earl Grey! Bedford tea is very proud to offer you our Organic White Earl Grey Tea “The Earl in White”! Everything is exquisite about this tea: its unique taste, its very delicate aroma, and most importantly, its healthiness.
White tea is known for being one of the healthiest tea types, but the addition of bergamot oil, that contains a huge amount of vitamins, especially the vitamin C, will make it even more beneficial for you. And last but not least, our Organic White Earl Grey Tea, as the name suggests, contains solely organic ingredients!
As mentioned previously, Earl Grey Tea is very popular in the UK, and in the entire world. However, should you wish to understand what is Earl Grey Tea, we will proudly offer you several versions and variations of this blend, from the classic Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea to more unusual and sophisticated types, such as Earl Grey Green Tea, and Organic White Earl Grey Tea “The Earl in White”!