Most of the households I grew up around had a 100 count box of Lipton or Salada brand black tea bags in their kitchen pantries…tea dust in a stapled paper bag. At our house, we also had either Twinings or Bigelow’s Earl Grey tea. These and Bigelow’s Constant Comment tea were considered fancy teas in my circle. These days, I usually prefer pure, organic leaf teas … pure… meaning with no scents or flavors added, just the tea leaf. I had not consumed an earl grey tea in ages…but a couple months ago, while hanging around the historic Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano getting ready for our big tea tasting events… I came upon Hidden House Coffee house and ordered a pot of earl grey, it was stunning! It actually stopped me in my tracks! I had to know where they got this spectacular tea from…it is Tea Forte‘s loose leaf earl grey. It’s more floral than most earl grey teas – I think because along with bergomot oil, they add corn flower petals too. I got hooked again on this popular flavored tea. I woke up craving “that” cup of tea for several days…which led me back to Hidden House to indulge in more pots of this fragrant brew. I decided to check out Tea Forte online and spent an hour enjoying their site, their award winning tea accessories, as well as, I now have a stash of my own Tea Forte earl grey at home too. (see photos below of their Kati brewing system and their single steep pre-portioned pouches for us lazy bones 🙂 This is my new favorite steeping tea cup and tea gift).
Today’s earl grey tea offerings are not like those of days gone by…the quality and choices available are delightful.
This got me thinking about other earl greys. My daughter loves Mighty Leaf’s earl grey…offered in a silken pouch.
Harney & Sons has several, even a white earl grey. Harney describes their Earl Grey Supreme as…
What makes earl grey an earl grey? Bergamot.
Bergamot is an aromatic oil found in the peels of bergamot oranges. It’s floral and rich, with a slightly bitter or astringent taste. Earl Grey tea is a tea blend with a distinctive flavor and aroma derived from the addition of this oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus. Other varieties add lavender, jasmine, and differing citrus peels to the mix.
Why is Earl Grey tea called Earl Grey?
Earl Grey was named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. According to the Howick Hall website, “The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it. Lady Grey used it to entertain in London as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it. It is now sold worldwide and the Greys were sufficiently unbusinesslike not to register the trade mark; as a result, they have never received a penny!”
In getting out of my little tea rut … and branching out to try something new (even though it stems from something old for me)…I came across my new favorite tea gift for tea novices to tea lovers – Tea Forte’s Kati tea brewing system – allowing anyone to brew loose tea by the cup…..simple to use and enough design patterns to satisfy most needs and interests.
They describe the Kati system as:
“Our double-wall ceramic tumbler and integrated stainless steel infuser make brewing loose tea by the cup simple. The innovative double-wall construction keeps tea hot and the tumbler cozy to hold. Brews a generous 12 oz cup, is dishwasher and microwave safe.”
There is much innovation going on in the tea delivery systems and in the availability of high quality leaf teas…making it a great time to drink tea. Hurray for us tea drinkers…it’s about time 🙂