Quick Recipes and Easy

Earl Grey Tea – All the Pleasure in a Cup

After the Chinese learned tea five thousand years ago, it took another couple of thousand years for the tea to spread to the rest of the world. Botanical name for tea is Camellia sinensis.

Among possibly 1500 varieties of tea, my favorite is Earl Grey. Since I like the convenience of teabags, I always stick with teabags.

To make a perfect brew, one needs to store the tea bags or loose tea in an air-tight container at room temperature. One teabag is used for each cup, and freshly drawn boiling water is a must. This is because the water must contain oxygen for perfect flavor, and most of the taste is lost if the water is boiled more than once.

The specific fragrance and taste of Earl Grey Tea comes from the oil of bergamot. Bergamot is a small orange, a cross between pear lemon and sour orange. As a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas, this tea has been the favorite of many, even the nobility and the kings, for quite some time.

The Earl Grey tea blend is named after the second Earl Grey–Charles Grey–who served as the Prime Minister in Fantastic Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century. Earl Grey Tea carries a couple of legends about its origin. One of the legends involves Earl Grey’s servant rescuing an Indian rajah’s son from a man-eating tiger, and according to another legend, a Chinese nobleman–after his son’s rescue by the Earl’s men from drowning–served the tea blend to Earl Grey.

Twinings sold the first Earl Grey tea to the British; although Jacksons of Pickadilly say they were the first ones who came up with Earl Grey at about the same time. I don’t know if Jacksons’ claim is right or incorrect, but I like the quote under their logo by Kakuzo Okakura, which says: “Tea is a work of art and needs a master hand to bring out its noblest qualities.” This quote alone gives the tea a special character as if it were a person.

Besides Twinings and Jacksons of Piccadilly, many companies nowadays provide the Earl Grey Tea for consumers: Stash, Barrows, Yogi Tea Company, Bigelow’s, Pickwick, Numi Tea, Dragonwater, Tazo, Harney and Sons, Excellent Earth, Gevalia, Celestial Seasonings, etc.

In York, UK, several Earl Grey Tea Rooms spread out in the city. Some of them carry all the formality of the British teatime rituals. Although seemingly formal, these establishments are very friendly to the tourists. For Earl Grey Tea lovers like me and probably for Captain Picard of Star Trek, visiting York’s Earl Grey Tea Rooms has to have a constant place on the to-do list, but for today, a freshly brewed cup of Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea will have to be enough for me.

Joy Cagil is an author on Writing.Com/ Writing.Com/
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