The Story of Earl Grey: From Politics to Tea Leaves

The Story of Earl Grey: From Politics to Tea Leaves

Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen-Xers alike cannot get enough Earl Grey tea. This classic blend has taken over our tea-drinking cups regardless of our age brackets. And while it may seem like this tea’s citrusy goodness has been with us since the dawn of time, my dear tea-drinking friends, its history is quite the opposite. The story behind Earl Grey tea is a fascinating tale that involves politics, aristocrats, and even a bit of mystery. Sit tight, grab a cuppa of Earl Grey, and let me spill the tea on Earl Grey.


Earl Grey is not just a fancy-schmancy-sounding name; it came from a former British politician named Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey. Grey was known for his progressive policies during his time as Prime Minister, and one of his achievements was the immediate abolition of slavery. But how did his name end up on a tea blend? The story goes that a Chinese Mandarin gave Grey a gift of tea. They blended the tea with bergamot oil to mask the taste of minerals in the water it was brewed in. Grey loved the tea infusion and asked that it be recreated. And that was how the Earl Grey blend was born.


The original blend is a black tea flavored with bergamot oil, but variations of Earl Grey soon followed. Russian Earl Grey adds citrus peels and lemon grass, while Earl Green and Earl White are made with bergamot oil, green tea, or white tea, respectively. On the other hand, Lady Grey is an invention of the Twinings company and includes bergamot, lemon, and orange peel.



Have you ever wondered what bergamot is and where it comes from? Well, my dear tea-loving friends, bergamot is a bitter orange that grows mainly in the Mediterranean region. Its flavor is somewhere between a lemon and an orange, making it the perfect ingredient to add to tea.


While we have already explained the origins of Earl Grey tea, its popularity remains a mystery. Some believe it has something to do with British colonization, as bergamot was a favored scent by the British aristocrats during that time. But whatever the reason may be, one thing is for sure: Earl Grey is widely loved by tea connoisseurs everywhere. Its flavor profile is both fruity and floral, with the right balance of acidity, making it excellent with pastries, biscuits, or just a simple slice of toast.


Who knew that a British politician would have such an impact on the tea world? From its humble beginnings to its near-celebrity status, Earl Grey has come a long way to become one of the most loved tea blends in the world. So whether you like it hot, cold, or with a dash of milk and sugar, sip your Earl Grey tea and raise a pinky in honor of Lord Grey and the tea blend he inspired. Cheers!

Back to blog

Leave a comment