We have all heard of Earl Grey tea, but you might be surprised to learn that the famous bergamot-flavoured tea is said to be named about Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and British Prime Minister in the 1830s. The exact origin of the name is still unknown, but Charles Grey is rumoured to have received this tea as a gift, thus becoming synonymous with his name.
Earl Grey tea was originally made to imitate more expensive Chinese tea. The actual origin of the Earl Grey blend is often refuted, however the first known reference to it were in advertisements by Charlton & Co. of London in the 1880s. The Grey family claim the tea was specially blended for Lord Grey by a Mandarin man to help offset the taste of lime in the local water supply.
There are many variations on the classic Earl Grey including Lady Grey, London Fog, French and Russian Earl Grey, however the classic blend is simply black tea flavoured with the Bergamot orange or an oil derivative which is commercially grown in Calabria, Italy.