A new appreciation for Earl Grey Tea!

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Organic Lavender Earl Grey Tea Leaves

I have to admit I have never liked Earl Grey tea.  The smell alone made me feel sick and then to taste it …yuck!  So when it came time for the Earl Grey tastings at  tea school I was not looking forward to it, I really was worried about getting nausious with all that perfumy tea being brewed!  The teacher prepared the cuppings, yes, don’t laugh, thats what tasting a lot of teas one after the other is called, and right away the room was filled with the smell of Earl Grey tea!  The only time before this that I had tried this tea was from tea bags conveniently set out for free on the counter at my work.  I really did try to acquire a taste for Earl Grey by brewing countless tea bags only to pour swill down the drain!  So as we line up to sample the teas at school I told the teacher I hate Earl Grey tea!  I knew it was flavoured with bergamot oil and I told him the smell made me ill, his response was have I tried it with organic bergamot?  Organic?  I had no idea about that and told him about the countless Earl Grey tea bags I had gone through.  He said the tea bags had synthetic, chemical bergamot flavouring and thats what was making me feel ill after drinking it.  The teacher had prepared 6 different Earl Greys, sure enough the first 3 were from tea bags and barely drinkable, then I tried the 4th tea and it was actually pleasant, the 5th and 6 teas were down right delicious, they had the distinctive Earl Grey aroma and taste but it was very different from the tea bag samples in that they were creamier and the smell was more natural than the strong perfume smell I was accustomed to.  The teacher informed the class the last 3 samples were tea made with organic bergamot oil!  Thats the key to a good Earl Grey tea, only buy tea flavoured with organic bergamot oil.  This will be a far superior tea than one flavoured with synthetic, bergamot flavouring.

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a hot cup of organic Lavender Earl Grey with dry leaf and wet leaf

Now a little history and a few facts about the most popular flavoured tea in the world! There are many stories about how Earl Grey tea got its name, one is that it was named after Henry, the 3rd Earl Grey (1802-1894) who recommended the tea to Queen Victoria.  Another story talks about an Earl in China saving a drowning boy so for a reward a tea was named after him.  My favourite story is the one about the Lord and Lady Grey who did not like the taste of the water at their estate so a Chinese Mandarin worker added the oil of the inedible orange bergamot to the water supply.  The water took on a pleasant citrus flavour, the Lady Grey used the water to make tea and soon people wanted to buy the tea they liked the flavour so much!  There is even a tea named lady Grey.  

Earl Grey tea is always flavoured with bergamot, a yellow orange like fruit that grows in a small area of the coastline in Calabria, Italy.  Its the juice that comes from the rind thats added to the Earl Grey tea.  Bergamot is also used as a base in perfume so thats why tea made with synthetic bergamot has an overwhelming perfume smell and flavour.  So if Earl Grey is not your cup of tea try an organic bergamot brand and taste the difference.  Earl Grey comes in many varieties including citrus, lavendar, Jasmine and smokey Lapsang Souchong!

Pinkies Up!

 

 

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