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Friday, October 18, 2013

Avoiding Earl Grey tea with...Suzi Love

"Is it perfume?'
Is it tea?
Whatever it is it does nothing for me
Should I drink it?
Or dab it on?
Can I swap it for a coffee or has all the water gone?..." 
(lyrics from Earl Grey by Enda Kenny)

My taste (or not) for Earl Grey tea is becoming infamous and here to join me for a cup of tea and a chat this week, is the irrepressible SUZI LOVE, one the of the most generous writers I have come across. Her knowledge of all things Regency which she shares through her blog and her Pinterest boards is astounding... So is she here to discuss muslin and lace? No...she is going to torment me with a post about Earl Grey tea... Enjoy!

Alison, I know you loathe Earl Grey Tea, so instead of trying to convince you how lovely it is (AS:  errrkk...), I'll share some of my favorite Weird and Wonderful facts about Earl Grey Tea. Which will probably convince you even more to never lift a cup of Earl Grey to your lips.
Basic Facts:
Traditionally, the term "Earl Grey" was only used  for black teas that contain oil of bergamot, which gives it a citrus aroma and taste.

Disputed Facts: 

·         Earl Grey's Mixture is assumed  to be named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister  in the 1830s, who reputedly received a diplomatic gift of tea  flavoured with bergamot oil by an envoy returning from China. 

·       Jacksons of Piccadilly claim they originated Earl Grey's Tea after Lord Grey gave  the recipe to a Robert Jackson & Co. partner  in 1830 and the recipe, based on China tea, has been produced by them ever since.

·         However,  the Grey family states that  the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey to suit the water at the family seat,  Howick Hall, in Northumberland, and the bergamot was added to offset  lime in the local water. Lady Grey used it when entertaining in London as a political hostess and it became so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it as a brand.

Weird and wonderful?

Would you like to try some foods flavoured with Earl Grey tea? 
(AS...No I would not!)

·         How about Breakfast Banana Bread with Earl Grey?
·         Or perhaps a Kit Kat Earl Grey from Japan?
·         Have you tried any cakes, confectionery, or chocolates flavoured with the tea?  For sweet recipes, loose tea is added to melted butter or hot cream and strained after the flavour is infused.
·         What about savoury sauces?  Tea bags are added to the basic stock, boiled for a few minutes, and the bags discarded.

The tea itself?
Earl Grey drinkers are revolting...????
·         Bergamot is a source of bergamottin which causes the grapefruit juice effect, where juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs. An Austrian man, in a study, drank four litres of Earl Grey a day, equivalent to at least 16 cups of tea, and the overdose of essence of bergamot caused muscle cramps. Moral of the story? If you only drink one litre of Early Grey a day, you’ll stay healthy. (AS A litre of the stuff???)
·         When Jackson's sold the recipe to Fitch Lovell food manufacturing in 1985, it caused world turmoil because the recipe had been traditionally processed for 155 years at Jackon's.
·         When Twinings changed the flavour of its Earl Grey, tea drinkers rose up in revolt. The ultimate storm in a teacup. And Twinings had to make the original recipe again, though they kept their new version as well. (London Telegraph)

'Tea with cake' takes on a new meaning!

Earl Grey tea cream and Eccles cakes by Marcus Wareing from Great British Menu

·         Earl Grey tea creams are mixed like a  crème caramel while the pastry is chilling.
·         But don't leave the bags to steep or the creams will taste like stewed tea. Ewww!
·          Milk, cream, tea bags, and sugar are boiled, egg yolks sieved into the mixture, and left to set overnight.

I get excited about different genres and eras and write in a few.  A mix of historical romance  - Early Victorian, Regency Noir, Erotica… plus….an outback medical.
Though always romance, the language of love…  Ah …. L’amour!
Find out more about Suzi at her WEBSITE.

SUZI's latest book:  THE VISCOUNT'S PLEASURE HOUSE will be released on 3 December
Historical erotic romance

Lady Chrissie Wellsby and her two country friends research dozens of rogues before selecting the notorious Viscount Hawkesbury, owner of London’s most exclusive and expensive brothel, to educate them in erotic seduction. The ladies coerce Justin Tremayne into letting them visit The Pleasure House and to teaching them the sensual tricks mistresses and prostitutes use to entertain men. Justin concedes to Chrissie’s demands simply to gain information about his long-lost mother and sisters, yet he falls head over heels in love with his pupil. But can he convince Chrissie to take a chance and marry again?


PS... I have been asked WHY I so dislike Earl Grey tea. The answer is that it was the "drink de jour" when I was in Year 12 at school and we felt we were all grown up with our own little kitchen. EVERYONE drank Earl Grey (probably because we felt it was a classy, grown up sort of thing to do) and Moccona instant coffee. We drank gallons of the even the smell takes me back to the Year 12 centre!


  1. I'm with you Ms Stuart. I can't countenance Earl Grey tea. I don't like Green Tea either.
    Just regular normal, Dilmay tea bag is my must-have of the morning. And I don't mind camomile or some other herbal tea at night.
    Thanks for the post ladies!
    Lily M

  2. My personal preference these days is Australian Afternoon Tea. I am sure that is just a posh name and expensive price tag for the sweepings off the floor but at least it doesn't reek of bergamot!

  3. I was going to hide my light under a bushel (of Earl Grey) but have decided to stand tall and proclaim my love of this much-maligned beverage!! A nice cup of black Earl Grey with a squirt of lemon in it...Ahhh! Thanks Suzi for a whole post on EARL GREY TEA!!

  4. Oh I so do enjoy a cup of Earl Grey for breakfast or evening.
    :)Love your historical post SuziL

  5. Thank you Jo and Mary...clearly Earl Grey is a divisive beverage :-)

  6. Not a fan of Early Grey however I can be quite partial to Lady Grey tea (though my usual black tea is a tie between Irish Breakfast and Chai).

  7. I have to admit I do like Earl Grey but I usually drink plain black. Very interesting background on this, Suzi

  8. For some reason, I enjoy a cup of Earl Grey tea on a rainy day.

  9. I have to confess that I haven't tried Lady Grey. Does it have bergamot in it?

    A good old fashioned Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea for me and occasionally Russian Caravan.

  10. Oooh, it's so nice to have other lovers of Earl Grey tea. And yes, I also adore Lady Grey for a milder tea.

    I'm late replying and thinking Alison for having me because I'm in the scorching outback for a week. Topping up feed troughs, pulling stupid sheep out of places they shouldn't be, and have a great laugh with a bunch of old nursing friends.

    Thanks for dropping by to comment everyone, and thanks to Alison for the kind words of introduction.

  11. Me, I like Lapsang Souchong (I really don't know if I've spelled that right!). My Mum tells me it smells like biltong, but at least it doesn't smell like perfume!
    Call me a heathen, but I really like the sound of banana bread flavoured with Earl Grey. Can't do the stuff by itself, though.
    A couple of questions, Suzi: have you ever slipped a cup of the dreaded beverage into one of your stories? And where in the world were you that necessitated rescuing of sheep?! I take it you're feeling quite well again!

  12. As a lover of Earl Grey tea I really enjoyed todays post with all the info. There's just something about Bergamont Oil .. ..

    Thank you ladies!

    And ... I always have a tea bag or two in my handbag ... Just in case! ;-)