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Earl Grey Girl

When people ask me what my favorite tea is, I always feel like they are asking, “who is your

favorite child?” Okay, so I love all teas. Yes, I drink them all. It depends on my mood, what I am eating, what time of day it is, or who I’m with. Tea is like a friend to me. I have many and I love them all for different reasons.

Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

But when I think of my morning ritual and what I like to drink when I first see light, I’d have to say, it is usually a cup of Earl Grey tea. What is Earl Grey? Earl Grey tea falls into the category of flavored teas. It is a citrus and floral infused black tea that has won the hearts of many. Any type of tea, including white, green, oolong, or black can be flavored or scented with fruit, flowers, bark, spices, oils, extracts, and natural flavors. I am careful about the flavored teas that I select because flavored teas can sometimes contain artificial flavors as well.

Although there are countless flavored teas, Earl Grey is one of the most recognized flavored teas in the world. It is a quintessential British tea, usually a black tea base flavored with oil from the rind of bergamot orange. Bergamot is an aromatic citrus fruit, a hybrid of a sour orange and a lemon, with a very sharp and intense citrus flavor that packs a sour punch.

So how did England first fall in love with Earl Grey? One historical account of the origins of the tea claims that a Chinese tea master first blended Earl Grey tea as a gift for Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl of Grey from 1830 to 1834. It is believed that the tea master used bergamot as a flavoring to offset the lime flavor in the well water on Earl Grey’s estate. But Earl Grey’s wife loved the tea so much that she served it exclusively and asked tea merchants in London to recreate it. This London-loved tea blend spread to other parts of the world becoming one of the most popular flavored teas and eventually made its way into my heart and my teacup.

There is something special about Earl Grey. Maybe it’s the complexity of the sweet, floral, and slightly bitter flavor of bergamot that blends perfectly with a bold, full-bodied black tea. Or maybe it’s the versatility of the tea blend that can be taken plain in the afternoon for a flavorful pick-me-up, or with milk and sugar for a real breakfast treat. But whatever the reason may be, I will always love all teas, but maybe I will always be an “Earl Grey Girl.”

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