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The History of Earl Grey Tea & Why It’s So Popular

The Origin of Earl Grey Tea 

There’s always been a certain mystique about Earl Grey.

Its distinctive flavour, colour, and mystery-shrouded origins make for a very good story. 

Undoubtedly the most classically-English tea there is, Earl Grey was created in the mid-18th century and is now one of the most popular tea blends in the world.

Earl Grey is a black tea flavoured with bergamot oil which is extracted from the rinds of citrus fruit (Citrus bergamia) that grow on bergamot orange trees. 

The tea is originally named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who served as British Prime Minister in the 1830s.

Cut Open Citrus Fruit for Bergamot Oil

Who Discovered Earl Grey Tea?

According to legend, the tea was originally created when a Chinese mandarin presented Charles Grey with a special blend of tea that was flavoured with bergamot oil as a gift for helping to save his son’s life. 

The Earl enjoyed the tea so much that he asked British tea merchants to recreate the blend, which quickly became popular among British aristocrats.

Jacksons of Piccadilly, a London tea house, claims to have originated Earl Grey tea first for sale in the UK when they were given the recipe by Earl Grey in 1830. Now owned by Twinings Tea. They claim to have never changed the recipe, which is based on black Chinese tea.

While the exact origins of the tea remain a little unclear, the story of the Chinese mandarin’s gift and the Earl’s love for the tea has become a part of its lore.

Earl Grey Tea fields

Earl Grey Tea History Timeline:

  1. 1803 – Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, becomes Prime Minister of Britain.
  2. 1830 – A Chinese mandarin presents a blend of tea to Charles Grey as a gift, which includes bergamot oil as a flavouring.
  3. 1834 – A tea merchant named Robert Jackson & Co. in London begins selling Earl Grey tea commercially, using the name to capitalize on the popularity of the Prime Minister.
  4. 1880s – Earl Grey tea becomes more widely available in the United States and other parts of the world.
  5. 1920s – The Twinings tea company begins selling its own version of Earl Grey tea, which becomes a bestseller.
  6. 1950s – Earl Grey tea becomes a staple of British tea culture and is often served with milk and sugar.
  7. 1990s – Earl Grey tea experiences a new resurgence in popularity, as part of a broader trend toward gourmet and specialty teas.
  8. 21st century – Earl Grey tea remains a popular choice among tea drinkers worldwide, and variations on the blend continue to be created by tea companies and individual enthusiasts. 
  9. Bonus: 2022 Est. – Tea House Candle launches its unique Earl Grey Tea Scented Candle :)


Earl Grey Tea

Popularity Around The World

One thing’s is for sure, Earl Grey tea has a long history linked with sophistication and high society in British culture. 

Beyond the UK and Europe, Earl Grey tea is also popular in other countries with strong tea cultures, such as India, China, Taiwan, as well as the United States and Canada. 

There is no exact figure of how much Earl Grey tea is produced, but it is estimated that Earl Grey tea is one of the most popular and widely consumed flavoured teas in the world, with millions of cups of it being brewed and enjoyed every day.The Earl Grey Family – 8 Popular Blends

The 7 Most Popular Earl Grey Blends:

      • Earl Grey Herbal Tea (Caffeine free)

      • Lady Grey (Seville orange or lavender)

      • Double Bergamot Earl Grey 

      • London Fog (Earl Grey + milk + vanilla) 

      • Russian Earl Grey (citrus and lemongrass)

      • French Earl Grey (rose petals) 

      • Breakfast Earl Grey (stronger black tea)

    Also, the distinct flavour of Earl Grey tea makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of sweet and savoury food dishes. Overall, Earl Grey tea has become a global phenomenon and is enjoyed by tea lovers in many different countries and cultures.

    Earl Grey Tea Scented Soy Candle

    What Is Special About Earl Grey?

    This exquisite tea blend has been captivating the hearts of tea lovers for centuries. The tea’s history is fascinating as is the flavour.

    The combination of the bold black tea with the floral and fruity aroma of bergamot creates a unique and irresistible taste that is both refreshing and soothing to the senses.

    Earl Grey tea also has a history of helping provide people with a calming effect on the mind, helping to relieve stress and anxiety.

    “The delicate aroma of bergamot can transport you to a peaceful oasis, where you can unwind and enjoy a moment of tranquility.”

    It’s no wonder that Earl Grey tea is a popular choice for afternoon tea parties or cozy evenings at home.

    So, indulge in a cup of Earl Grey tea and experience the magic for yourself!

    Earl Grey Scented Candle by Tea House Candle

    Earl Grey Scented Soy Candle

    Black Tea | Bergamot | Cedarwood


    This candle’s bold and citrusy fragrance will liven up any room and is perfect for lounging around on a gloomy day, or cozying up with a good read.

    Known for its distinct bergamot, vanilla, and cedarwood notes, Earl Grey Tea is uniquely smoky, delicately sweet, and refreshingly aromatic.

    by Tea House Candle


    Shop our Candles: Earl Grey Scented Candle or the London Fog Scented Candle.

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