Revealing the history of Earl Grey Tea
What is earl grey tea ?
Earl grey is tea blend which has a distinct flavour and aroma. The flavour is that of “Oil of Bergamot” – it is an oil which is extracted from the bergamot orange which is a citrus fruit.
Earl Grey is traditionally is usually black tea which is blended with bergamot oil. However today there are various versions to it. Some like to put lemon peel and cornflower petals to black tea and make a blend. There are a few who like to make Earl Grey Green Tea – though personally I don’t approve of this but yes, people do like to try out new formulas.
History of Earl Grey Tea?
Did you know that Earl Grey tea is named after the 2nd British Prime Minister Earl Grey in the 1830, he was also the author of the Reform Bill in 1832. It is claimed that he received a gift of tea which was flavoured with Oil of Bergamot.
There is another story, which is that a Chinese mandarin son was saved from drowning by one of Lord Grey’s men. The Chinese man presented the tea to Lord Earl Grey. However, there is a mention on the Twinings website as “having been presented by an envoy on his return from China”.
The Jacksons of Piccadilly claim that Lord Grey gave the recipe to George Charlton, a partner of Robert Jackson & Co in 1830. According to the Jacksons the recipe has been in production since and never left their hands.
The history of the Jacksons can be traced to 1680’s, they were known as purveyors of luxury goods and for their expertise as cheese mongers, cloth cutters, herbalists, hosiers (stocking sellers), booksellers, wax and tallow chandlers & oil men. In the 1800’s tea was a new beverage in UK, Robert Jackson used to blend tea at home and by 1815 he was an established blender of tea. By 1890, the Jackson blends were a favourite of the Royalty and they gained the right to use the royal warrant.
Lady Grey as a political hostess would entertain her guests in London, her favourite was Earl Grey. It became so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings introduced it as a brand Earl Grey.
Today there are various versions of Earl Grey Tea available in the market, may companies have made their own blends, each one has a distinct taste. I wonder if the Queen can do blind Tea Tasting and select which one is the closest to the original.
Teacupsfull will be introducing Earl Grey Tea in Tea Bags soon. We benchmarked our tea after tasting all the different brands that are available in the market, including the Queen’s favourite Earl Grey. Our Earl Grey is close to that of what the queen enjoys, look out for this space and we will keep you posted.
Our blend is inspired by Lord Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey - the second Prime Minister of Great Britain and Her Majesty the Queen of Britain.