What is Earl Grey tea?
Contrary to popular belief, Earl Grey is not a kind of tea at all. It’s actually plain black tea, infused with the citrus flavor of bergamot (similar to orange blossoms). The term “Earl Grey” is also applied to green and white teas containing this same flavor.
The tea is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s, who, it is said, received as a gift tea flavored with bergamot oil. As the legend goes, the tea was a thank you present from a Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued by one of Grey’s men.
Another notable, who enjoys Earl Grey, is Patrick Steward who played Jean-Luc Picard, Commander of the USS Enterprise-E, in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
For me, leafing through a recently-released compendium of teas with many first-flush single-origin varieties is akin to salivating over those luscious photos of vegetables in a seed-seller’s catalogue: Each entry promising something new, summoning a hopeful if guarded belief in Nature and the growing conditions of my garden. What will the … Continue reading