Earl Grey tea – the very name transports you to the world of Downton Abbey, as you may imagine it to be the beverage of noblemen and aristocrats. Surprisingly the origins of this tea remain mysterious though it is named after an English Prime Minister. Despite the enigma behind the history of Earl Grey tea, it remains as the most popular tea in the world.
A well brewed cup of Earl Grey tea has the flavor and aroma of bergamot oil and transports you to resplendent banquets or the quaint English countryside. Earl Grey is essentially black or green tea with a citrusy flavor due to the addition of bergamot oil once the tea leaves are dried. Bergamot is a citrus fruit which is the hybrid of Sicilian orange and lemon. The flavor profile of this tea comprises of notes of citrus, fruitiness, tanginess and malty after taste due to the black tea leaves or nutty taste if green tea leaves are used.
The history of Early Grey tea is that this tea existed even before the name was coined. Black tea was preserved by adding citrus fruit oil during long overseas travels. Hence the tea was found more as an experiment rather than as a new flavor. Nevertheless, the flavor kicked off and became popular around the globe. How or why it became famous as the drink of the upper class remains a mystery.