On this day in history : 13th March 1764 – The birth of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey – future British Prime Minister and for whom Earl Grey tea is named….

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey – Portrait by unknown artist

Earl Grey is a blend of traditionally black tea, flavoured with oil of bergamot…. The oil is extracted from the peel of the bergamot orange, supposedly a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange plants – which mainly grow in France and Italy….

Legend has it the tea was presented as a gift to Lord Grey by a Chinese Mandarin-speaking man….who was grateful to the lord as one of his men had saved the Mandarin’s son

Earl Grey tea blend – Photo credit: Sebastian Stabinger CCO

According to the Grey family the tea was specially blended for them to suit the lime found in their local water source…. Lady Grey would entertain with it in London and so popular was it people asked it if could be purchased…. This is how Twinings came to market it….

However, Jacksons of Piccadilly claim they were the original company to make it…. They say the recipe was given to Robert Jackson in 1830 and they have used it unchanged ever since….

It was once thought of as a tea enjoyed mainly by the upper classes – but nowadays it is one of our most popular brews….img_2554

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