I have to admit, I’ve never much been a fan of Earl Grey, the tea that is. Unfortunately I never met the man, he was a British PM in the 1830’s. The origins of the tea are disputed however it is regarded by the Grey family that Twinings were the original mass provider of the blend and yes, it was named after a man called Earl Grey.
Whenever I think of Earl Grey I for some reason see Nigella Lawson and hear her saying ‘citrusy bergamot’ in her sexy cooking voice. What on earth is a ‘citrusy bergamot’! Good question, thanks for asking. Well it turns out a Bergamot is simply a type of orange, grown predominantly in Italy for its oil and not juice, and Earl Grey tea is China black tea infused with the oil from the rind of this orange. It goes a long way in explaining why I’ve never been too fond of the brew, I don’t really like orange flavoured anything.
I can pinpoint the moment where I first developed a dislike of Earl Grey. I was at the house of an acquaintance and she very poorly made me a cup of tea, the unfortunate victim was Earl Grey. The teabag was steeped in that cup for such a long time that by the time the tea touched my lips the flavour was bitter and overly strong. I can remember that when she excused herself to use the bathroom I quickly tiptoed to the kitchen, poured some down the sink and added several spoonfuls of sugar then tiptoed back to the lounge where I continued to drink the hideous beverage under the watchful eyes of my host. I could not have simply poured the whole thing down the drain, that would have been far too obvious.
Fast forward five years and a lovely friend gave me a beautiful mug with a box of Earl Grey’s for my birthday. It was time to try again.
I boiled my kettle and prepared my cup. I placed the tea bag in and poured over the water. I pulled the tea bag out after what could only be described as the longest minute of my life. I wanted to start mildly. The ‘citrusy bergamot’ aroma wafted through the air and to my surprise was actually rather pleasant. Once the tea had cooled I tasted it; to my great surprise it was lovely!
Earl Grey wont replace English Breakfast as my go to black tea but it makes a very nice pick me up.
Where does Earl Grey take me when I close my eyes? Probably not where you’d expect, or maybe it is…
If you guessed riding on top of an elephant in British ruled India with a giant parasol, then you were correct! Maybe it's the spicy citrus flavour that makes me think of Indian food?
Tea: Earl Grey
Shop: Harrods - available instore, online or in Australia at selected David Jones stores
Rating: 4/5 if brewed correctly
Comment: Now we know what ‘citrusy bergamot’ is this tea makes more sense. An uplifting black tea that makes a nice change from the regular black tea blends such as English Breakfast. Steep your teabag for 1-2 minutes for a light and refreshing flavor.