Why is it called Earl Grey tea?

This well-known type of tea is named after Charles Grey, 2. – Earl Grey, (1764 – 1845). He was Prime Minister of England from 1830 to 1834. His Government was contributing to the repeal of slavery in the British Empire. Today, however, he is best known as the originator of Earl Grey tea. According to a legend, Earl Grey received the Bergamot-based blend of a grateful Chinese Mandarin, whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey’s men. The narrative seems to be true with modifications since Lord Grey never set foot in China, and the use of bergamot oil for aromatization was even unknown in China. “Grey’s Tea” has been known since the 1850s, and the first published Earl Grey teas are ads originating from Charlton & Co. in Jermyn Street in London in the 1880s.

Recipe and Trademark

Several English companies have over the years tried to claim copyright of the Earl Grey tea. According to the Grey family, the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey. The mixture should fit the water at Howick Hall, where the family was based. The bergamot oil seemed to be suitable for balancing out the dominance of calcium in the local water. Lady Grey also used the tea to entertain in London as a political hostess, and it turned out to be so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others. Subsequently, Twinings Tea House in London (The Strand) came to market it as a brand, but Jacksons at Piccadilly claims that Lord Grey had given the recipe to Robert Jackson & Co. In 1830. According to the Jacksons, the original recipe has been in constant production and has never left their hands. The tea has been based on Chinese black tea ever since the beginning, but is now also seen in green variants and Rooibos.

“Earl Grey” (as applied to tea) is not trademarked and numerous tea companies produce their own versions of the tea using a wide range of tea leaves and additives. “Lady Grey”, on the other hand, is a trademark of Twinings. At A.C. Perchs we market our own Earl Grey, but our recipe is not nearly as old, in spite of us being one of the oldest tea houses in Europe.

The tea consists of bergamot (Citrus bergamia), a small citrus tree that blooms during the winter, and is grown commercially in Calabria, Italy. The plant is most likely a hybrid of Citrus limetta and Citrus aurantium.

See : Earl Grey teas in Perch

How long should Earl Grey infuse?

We recommend a draw time of about 7 minutes for this tea. If you let it infuse for longer, the tea will become stronger and the tannic acid will quickly drown out the delicate aroma of bergamot. The result is a more bitter, dark tea. In England, a little milk is traditionally added to the tea. This relieves the tannic acid taste and gives the tea a softer feel in the mouth. Others appreciate a strong and dark Earl Grey, who has been allowed to infuse for a long time. There is no right and wrong – enjoy it as you prefer it!

Does Early Grey contain caffeine?

The answer is yes. Like pure black tea, it has the highest caffeine content of all tea types. However, one can adjust the caffeine content by regulating the infusion time. The longer, the higher the caffeine content of the tea.