One of my favorite teas is Earl Grey tea. Actually it is quite a popular tea with people from many cultures; it is sold in more than ninety countries. This tea is apparently named after Charles Grey (also known as Baron Grey and Viscount Howick) who served as the British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. Likely through his tea namesake he enjoys his greatest notoriety. There are many stories of how Earl Grey came to be associated with the tea…most of them indicate that the Earl sent an envoy to a Chinese mandarin, and this envoy happened to save the life of the mandarin. Eternally grateful, the mandarin sent to the Earl a wonderful tea and its recipe. The Earl’s tea merchants, Twinings, would be ultimately become responsible for mastering the recipe and continuing production through the years.
The unique flavoring of the tea is derived from the oil of Bergamot orange peels (Citrus bergamia). There is evidence that this orange species represents a crossing between the sweet lemon (Citrus limetta) and the sour orange (Citrus aurantium), which is native to southern Vietnam.