Earl Grey Tea is a quintessential style of British tea; Black tea and Bergamot extract. Despite being popularised by the English; combining flavours extended long before the English to the traditional connoisseurs of Tea, the Chinese tea masters. In their attempt to impress the emperor with new teas, the Chinese experimented in blending exotic flavours such as jasmine flowers, rosebuds, bitter oranges, onions, and sweet lychee fruit.
One of these hits involved Bergamot added to black tea that was then gifted to Charles Grey (the 2nd Earl of Grey and Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 – 1834). Charles and his lady, Lady Grey, loved the tea so much they used it exclusively within their estate and later shared it beyond their finely pruned hedges to the London populace. While Charles Grey abolished slavery and reformed child labour laws, he is now celebrated for his fine choice in tea, the beloved Earl Grey enjoyed around the world.
Monsieur Earl Grey (How the French and English love to differ)
It was love at first steep. The fruity notes of the Bergamot with the solid punchy notes of a black tea base made for an almost perfect cup-of-tea. Perfected, of course, by a French nose that decided to add floral notes to enhance the aroma and flavours on the bouquet. And so began the French Earl Grey Tea romance, lavender was added for a distinctive Parisian style, rose petals for others, corn flowers or even hibiscus are now commonly enjoyed.