A quintessentially British tea, nearly as classic as English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey Tea is beloved among many avid tea drinkers, known specifically for its unique flavour created by blending black tea and oil from the rind of the citrus fruit, bergamot.
We know that tea has its origins in the Far East, and understand that in colonial times it made its way to the West, but how did England and the rest of the world come to fall in love with this particular blend? Furthermore, how did it get its name?
Let’s go back to the beginning.
While Earl Grey tea was indeed popularized by the English, it was not an English invention. Scented and flavored teas are uniquely Chinese, created by tea masters who blended their teas to capture the attention of the reigning emperors of the time but to also entice business of worldwide trade merchants looking to return home with the unique flavors of the Far East.
On one particular occasion, a Chinese mandarin tea master blended the first Earl Grey tea as a gift for Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl of Grey and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834. According to the Grey family, the tea master used bergamot as a flavoring to offset the lime flavor in the well water on Earl Grey’s estate, Howick Hall, near Newcastle, England. Earl Grey’s wife, Lady Grey, loved the tea so much that she entertained with it exclusively. It proved so popular with London society that she asked tea merchants in London to recreate it. The most fascinating of all facts about the 2nd Earl of Grey is that he abolished slavery and reformed child labor laws in England during his political leadership, however, despite his many memorable accolades, he will be most famously remembered for the beloved tea he helped introduce to the world.
Earl Grey is most widely defined as a black tea that has been flavored with the oil of bergamot, and there is no one way to make Earl Grey tea, with some blends out there using artificial flavours or sprays, higher concentrations of citrus or lower of florals, which is why every Earl Grey tea you've ever tried has probably tasted slightly different. Firebelly Shades of Earl Grey Tea, however, is made with real bergamot – no fake bergamot flavoring or oils – so it’s a milder version of this classic tea with just a hint of lemon.
Here’s how you can enjoy it:
- Add 1 tbsp. of Shades of Earl Grey to your Firebelly Tea Infuser
- Pour slightly below boiling water (90˚C/195˚F) over your leaves
- Steep for 3-5 minutes
- Remove your infuser and enjoy the perfect cup
- Follow all of the HOT steps but use 2 tsps. instead
- Pour over ice
Black Tea, Lemon Myrtle, Bergamot Peel, Lemon Thyme, Juniper Berry.
Black tea contains antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids to help prevent cell damage.
Less caffeine than coffee to give you a smooth boost of energy without the crazies.