History Of Earl Grey Tea
15 October 2018

Category: Talking Tea

Earl Grey Tea – The Timeless Tea With A Colourful History

Madura’s Earl Grey Tea is a smooth and refreshing brew infused with the subtle citrus-orange flavour of bergamot. With its delightful aroma and versatile nature, Early Grey is the perennial crowd pleaser. This sophisticated blend can work any room, effortlessly transitioning from a casual afternoon cuppa to the star of a fancy high tea.

With a reputation for reliability in quality and taste, it’s no surprise that Earl Grey is one our bestselling teas. What does surprise many, though, is Earl Grey’s colourful history. The story of Earl Grey’s name and fame is a fascinating little piece of tea history that’s anything but, well … grey!

Earl Grey – The everyday tea with an aristocratic heritage

The history of Earl Grey tea is coloured with intrigue and romance, and several theories have been put forward about how it evolved into one of the world’s favourite brews.

What we know for certain is Earl Grey tea was named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl of Grey, a Cambridge and Eton educated aristocrat who was elected to parliament at the age of twenty-two, and eventually served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 – 1834. But just how did Charles Grey come to have a tea named after him? This is where history gets a little bit murky.

Pop the kettle on, brew yourself a nice cup of Madura Earl Grey – let it steep for three minutes to achieve the perfect balance of body and taste – and by the time you’ve read the following top three theories, you’ll be ready to relax with the perfect pondering companion.

The first theory of how Charles Grey became associated with tea relates to one of the Earl’s staff saving the life of a Chinese man’s son. This man was a tea blender, and legend has it he created Earl Grey tea and presented it to Charles as a thank you gift. However, as Charles Grey never set foot in China, this theory is a little wobbly, and historians believe it was more likely delivered by an envoy on his return from China.

Another theory suggests Earl Grey tea was crafted specifically to suit the water at the Earl’s Northumberland home. Apparently, the water contained such a high mineral content that it required a tea that complimented its taste, rather than clash with it, and the citrus taste of bergamot delivered the winning combination.

According to a third theory, the creation of Earl Grey tea was simply a happy accident! Apparently, when a shipment of black tea leaves and bergamot oranges were shipped together from diplomats in China as a gift to the Earl, the citrus flavour was absorbed by the tea, resulting in the much-loved Early Grey blend.

Several other theories abound as to Earl Grey’s true origin, but one thing historians agree on is that of them all, one of the top three is the most likely.

Earl Grey Tea – The Aussie connection

The eldest son of Earl Charles Grey, Henry George Grey, followed his father’s footsteps into politics and eventually entered into Australian affairs. In 1846 when given the Colonial Office in Lord John Russell’s administration, he showed himself “…a fervid, doctrinaire free trader, an ardent believer in high imperial responsibility towards the colonies, and a forceful, impatient administrator.” His policies and proposals received a mixed reception, with varying degrees of failure and success, until he left office in 1852.

One thing that can be declared an enduring success, however, is Australia’s love affair with Earl Grey tea. In fact, in a 2015 survey by Canstar Blue, almost a fifth of tea-loving Aussies ranked Earl Grey as their favourite cuppa. As a side note, in that same year Madura Tea picked up Canstar’s Most Satisfied Customers Award for the fourth year in a row, beating the likes of our major competitors.

Earl Grey Tea – A Celebration

At Madura, we’re celebrating Earl Grey – the everyday tea with the aristocratic heritage. Madura Earl Grey tea is blended on our plantation and bursting with freshness and flavour. This October we will be blogging delicious recipe ideas fit for nobility – be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

PS – Want to know how to perfect the ultimate Earl Grey brew, and learn more about Earl Grey’s versatility and health benefits? Click here.

Madura Tea – extraordinary tea, for extraordinary people, with an everyday attitude. If you would like to know more about Madura or our delicious brews call (02) 6670 6000 or visit maduratea.com.au

Sources:

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/grey-henry-george-2126
https://worldteanews.com/insights/brief-history-earl-grey
https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Earl_Grey_tea.html
https://www.foodandwine.com/tea/earl-grey-tea
https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2017/07/timeline-a-short-history-of-australian-tea/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tea#Australia
https://www.canstarblue.com.au/groceries/australias-favourite-cuppa-revealed/

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