by Twinings of London
(Order from their site, or find it at your local grocery store.)
Fruit slices, veggie trays, chicken salad, cucumber sandwiches: chick food. This list may make a man sweat at the thought of being force-fed any of these items. However, women generally love it. Yes, I too enjoy the occasional cheeseburger, the bag of greasy chips, or a nice tender steak. But I also like chick food—probably because it’s programmed into my DNA.
If you’re planning a tea party, Lady Grey is a must. Unlike her husband, the Earl, Lady Grey prefers orange and lemon peel to bergamot. Similar undertones, but overall a lighter, fruitier taste. It’s great for an afternoon lazy sip, or a perky morning flavor. Because of the light citrus combination, along with the full-bodied black tea, Lady Grey goes well with cookies and biscotti-like foods. Shortbread is a divine pairing.
Like most tea companies from Great Britain, Twinings has also established its name “by royal appointment.” But they’ve done more to impress Her Majesty: they survived. Twinings must be one of the oldest tea merchants in England. Having established his tea company in 1706, Thomas Twining’s family took over the business and has kept it running ever since. They are still operating out of their original building on Strand Street (which was a prime piece of real estate after the Great Fire of London). Twinings was the first to introduce the Earl Grey flavor to the public.
With so much history, you can taste the richness of their flavors. So sit back and enjoy a cup of fruitful bliss. And don’t forget—pinkies up!
Earl Grey Supreme
by Harney & Sons
(Available at harney.com.)
I found myself enjoying Harney & Sons tea a few weekends ago at a hotel in town. I was attending a conference for our church and exploring the breakfast spread. I thoroughly enjoyed their Orange Pekoe, so I made a mental note to look up the teamakers when I got home. Turns out, their site is very well organized and informative. That’s when I spotted it: Earl Grey Supreme. You’re kidding, I thought, No way these guys are trying to perfect a classic like Earl Grey.
I ended up ordering the a box of the Supreme, Orange Pekoe, and Paris. All of them are excellent, but this blog is about the Earl.
This tea assaults your tongue with bergamot and leaves you (no pun intended) warm and satisfied. Have you ever sipped regular Earl Grey and just felt like it lacked something? If you’re a fan of rich, black tea with full-bodied flavor with nothing left to your imagination, this is the tea for you. Bergamot, of course, is a fruit that acts as the key ingredient in Earl Grey tea. It’s a citrus fruit grown mainly in Italy, and the essential oil from the peel is extracted for flavoring.
The Earl, for those of you who may not be familiar with this tea’s history (but neither was I until I did some research), is more formally known as Earl Charles Grey (1764-1845). He supposedly received black tea with bergamot oil from a friend, and the drink was named for him. Apparently Grey was also Prime Minister who made a bunch of politically progressive decisions for the Whig party, but his legacy is overshadowed by his gift of tea. I don’t know if we should feel sorry for him or not. Either way, we have Earl Grey tea, and what a delight it is.
This particular tea comes in loose-leaf, bags, and sachets, all in a variety of sizes and very reasonably priced. Check it out.