Warming the hearts of many, Earl Grey has become a timeless tea enjoyed most frequently in the West. Earl Grey is said to be named after English Prime Minister Charles Grey, who was also the second Earl of Britain in the 1830s. Historical tales say Lord Charles Grey rescued a drowning boy in China. The boy’s father who was a tea blender showed his appreciation by giving the prime minister the famed black tea recipe, later known as Earl Grey. There are a number of varied accounts, but it is questionable in all the stories whether Grey ever visited China. If he did, bergamot oranges were not harvested in China at that time, nor was it common for the Chinese to drink black tea.
How did the pear-shaped citrus appear in the tea? Some sources say that during the Jewish diaspora, bergamot was used as the etrog, a citrus fruit used in rituals during the Jewish festival of Sukkot. The bergamot was obtained from Corfu, Greece, which became the British naval base in the Mediterranean. Britain’s tea loving, naval officers were then stationed in the world’s primary market for bergamot. There is a notion that a British commander possibly introduced the tea to Grey. Whether the stories are fact or fiction, Grey is remembered for his namesake tea. In fact, the English still refer to Earl Grey tea as “old stinky” as a nod to Grey’s foul odor and the tea’s distinct scent.
So what makes Earl Grey tea an Earl Grey? It’s the bergamot oil. A classic Earl Grey is black tea flavored with the oil from the rind of the bergamot orange, which is native to Italy. Nonetheless, we at Art of Tea find that Earl Grey is a versatile tea that can be blended with different tea types or even recreated in a caffeine free form creating fifty shades or blends of Earl Grey or at least a handful of Earl Grey varieties. The tea blending possibilities are limitless!
Art of Tea’s organic and fair trade certified Earl Grey showcases everything one expects in a classic Earl Grey with the Art of Tea touch—a hand-picked black tea from Sri Lanka flavored with oil of bergamot to produce that distinct fragrant, citrus zest revealed in flavor and aroma.
Earl Grey is distinguished as a strong black tea, so the astringency is often toned down with sweeteners like milk, honey and sugar. Kiss those sweeteners away when you try Art of Tea’s Earl Grey Crème. This bestseller and AOT office favorite has the great flavors of a traditional Earl Grey but perfected with a touch of vanilla. It is just heavenly—creamy, light and bold at the same time with citrus notes harmoniously dancing in your mouth.
Interested in a unique spin on Earl Grey? Try Green Earl Grey, a green tea with bergamot oil. Dr. Oz listed Art of Tea’s very own Green Earl Grey as one of his top favorite green teas in Oprah’s O Magazine. The organic green tea leaves are hand rolled and blended with Italian bergamot. It steeps a beautiful amber hue.
In a place where blending is second nature, Art of Tea created the beautifully aromatic Earl Grey Lavender. This tea marries organic and biodynamic black tea from Sri Lanka with lavender and bergamot oil. There is a delicate balance of sweet and floral with a mild citrus richness that will soothe the nasal cavities and gently warm the throat.
Defying all Earl Grey boundaries, Art of Tea caters to the tisane lovers with a caffeine free version. We use organic and fair trade South African rooibos in place of tea and pair it with the Earl Grey signature ingredient, bergamot oil to create Herbal Earl Grey. Enjoy similar profile flavors without the caffeine!
Whether you prefer to stick to the traditional Earl Grey, an award-winner at the World Tea Expo, or explore other shades of Earl Grey, you will be delighted with the aroma and distinct flavor profiles the bergamot fruit provides when complimented with different tea types and herbs.