I think Earl Grey is a bit of a funny blend. Everyone claims that it is extremely British & a national but I seem to find waves of popularity of it, where sometimes people do like it & then there are times when it not! I won’t do a big history on the blend but briefly the blend has been about since 1820 & legend has it, that it came from Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey & Prime Minister of England. The rumours of the blend come from his apparent diplomatic relations with China, though there is some issue with all the dates lining up.
It is basically a blend of black tea with the addition of oil of bergamot (a citrus tree from Italy). Due to it being a ‘type’ of tea & not a trademarked blend, everyone will do the blend slightly different.
I’ve had a couple of less that pleasant bagged versions when I’ve been out so have been keen to get a quality loose leaf blend to have at home. I think its a perfect blend for all year around, the addition of the citrus flavouring & that it is a hot drink works well in the winter but also its quite a refreshing blend as the days are getting warmer. I just found this blend online by a company called ‘Simpli-Special’ & though I’d try them for £4.70 plus £2 delivery for 100g didn’t seem too bad, I also received a free sample of their ‘Supreme Earl Grey’ blend. It came quite quickly as well so all in all, I have been quite happy with their service.Now I’m not sure why but quite a few Earl Grey blends have cornflower petals in but I think its just for decorative purposes & it does add a little some thing pretty to it.
The smell of the dry leaves is so good. This is going to sound crass but I could huff Earl Grey all day if I could. Is there an Earl Grey perfume?! I’d happily wear one if there is. (Just googled it & there is a Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne!!) I think it must be the bergamot. Most teabags have chemical additivies used to add the flavour so they don’t smell true which this blend does. It’s a wonderfully refreshing scent. You get the musky base of the black tea but its perfectly balanced withe citrus notes. The dry leaves are quite pretty as I knew it would be, the leaves are almost black but with the flecks of bright blue & white from the cornflower petals.
I brewed it for about 2 and half minutes, as the last Earl Grey I made I over brewed it. The smell of the liquor was a great lovely fresh citrusy. It wasn’t thick or claggy, The colour of it was bright & reddy. The taste was fresh like the scent & it didn’t give a dryness in the mouth. The mouthfeel was good, it had a full flavour and didn’t give any bitterness on the tongue.
The wet leaves had opened up but you could see they were broken leaves. there had lightened after brewing & were brown with hints of green in leaves. The cornflowers had gone which was a shame but I sort of knew it probably wouldn’t still have the bright blue in it.
Second cup is a bit stronger though I had taken the infused basket out so quickly but it still wasn’t bitter. Actually left a nice aftertaste & had the bergamot flavour on my tongue for a while after.
Couldn’t finish this on the Sunday or Monday so I am finishing this post on Tuesday. I had another cup yesterday & it was just as delicious (if not more). It was very more-ish & you could definitely taste a brightness in the bergamot. I really would recommend this loose leaf tea if your looking for an decent Earl Grey. Its not overpowering but has a really good flavour that makes me want to drink lots of it. After having tried lots of Earl Greys, its finally one I’m not disappointed with & I will surely buy again! Its definitely one for as things start to feel more summery & the citrus makes me feel like the sun is that little bit brighter!