Why is Earl Grey Tea called so?

What tea does Christopher Nolan drink?

Earl Grey.

Cast and crew on his sets have often mentioned how Nolan keeps a flask full of hot Earl grey tea handy and keeps sipping from it all day. Even while giving interviews, he is known to be sipping a cup of Earl Grey.

What tea does Emily offer Ross when they are addressing the invitation cards for their wedding in London in the popular sitcom Friends?

Earl Grey.

Ross, unfortunately, does not get what Emily is asking and instead feels she is asking if she can invite ‘Earl Grey’ to the wedding and says, “Yeah sure, invite whoever you like”. This could probably because she just found out that Ross is inviting Rachel, his ex, to the wedding and she feels it would be awkward while he does not seem to think so and is kinda lost on what to do.

Earl Grey does enjoy quite the popularity, doesn’t it?

What is Earl Grey Tea?

In a very simple way, any tea flavored with bergamot oil can be called an Earl grey tea. Bergamot are orange-like citrus fruits, and its oil is extracted from its rind. Earl Grey Tea is regarded as the world’s most favorite flavored tea.

Who was Earl Grey?

Charles, the second Earl Grey and the British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834 is the man responsible for the Earl Grey tea being named so, the tea is named after him. Charles’ most notable political achievements would be the Reform Act of 1832 and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.

How did Earl Grey Tea get its name?

There are multiple stories about how the Earl Grey Tea got its name.

Some people say that Charles saved the life of a Chinese Mandarin and was given a tea as a gift. Some also say that it was the Mandarin’s son that Charles saved, not the Mandarin himself. Either ways, he got the tea as a gift for his effort.

However, the catch here is the Earl never went to China!

There is another group of historians who believe that the tea was given as a gift to Earl Grey for opening up trade routes for tea by abolishing the East India Company’s tea import monopoly. They Grey family legend states that a Chinese Mandarin especially blended the tea for Lord Grey by adding Bergamot oil to the tea to compensate for the lime abundant in the water at Howick Hall in Northumberland, where the Grey family lived.

Either ways, Lord Grey was either gifted a tea or purchased a tea for whatsoever reasons, which he liked quite much, and had replicated by the addition of the Bergamot oil to the tea. In England of those times, flavoring a tea with Bergamot oil was not as uncommon, especially for the cheaper teas. It was usually done with an aim to imitate the more expensive the Fo Shou and Qimen teas from China. Incidentally, doing this also helped balance the flavors of the minerals present in the local water.

The Earl Grey Tea actually became quite famous because it is believed that it was this tea which was used by Lady Grey when entertaining in London.

Where does Earl Grey Tea stand today?

It has been over two centuries since Earl Grey Tea came to be. Tea companies have been fighting for whose Earl Grey Tea is original since. The Jacksons of Piccadilly seem to claim that Charles Grey gave the original recipe for the Earl Grey Tea to Robert Jackson & Co. partner George Charlton in 1830. However, weirdly, the advertisements for the Earl Grey Tea anywhere do not seem to have reached the market till 1888!

Now, Richard, the sixth Earl Grey lent his endorsement and signature to Twinnings, and it is his signature that you will find on the box of Twinnings Earl Grey Tea. Twinnings also has a trademark on ‘Lady Grey’. Incidentally, Stephen Twinning has been known to have said that it was his family that originally blended the Earl Grey Tea at the Earl’s request, of course, to make it drinkable when it was brewed with London water when the Earl used to be at Westminster, as London water had a high limescale problem.

East India Company had also claimed that what they have is the original recipe, however, their recipe of the tea contained Neroli oil instead of Bergamot oil.

However, the fact of the matter is there is no documentation, no evidence, no government or private records, basically no proof to be found anywhere to substantiate or eliminate any of these claims and stories. For all we know, Earl Grey Tea could be one of the biggest marketing gimmicks ever pulled off in the world? And it blows my mind to think that as I write that sipping my own cup of Earl Grey!

No matter which story is true, the truth is Earl Grey has been quite the fashion statement, and has introduced countless tea novices to the art and joys of tea drinking. And that should be reason enough to celebrate the legend of the Earl Grey Tea. Go brew yourself some and enjoy your tea!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or find me on Instagram @banjaranfoodie

One Comment Add yours

  1. bhavipatel says:

    Reblogged this on blackbeautyandme.

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