Monday, March 30, 2009

Pairing tea with food

There’s really no such thing as a traditional holiday meal at this time of year. Easter might find the table filled with ham or lamb while a Passover table will feature Seder foods, such as lamb, roasted egg, and charoset (a sweet mixture of chopped fruits and nuts with wine), or the Naw Ruz (Persian New Year) table will feature completely different foods.

Regardless of the menu, teas can be chosen to perfectly pair with any food you serve. Much like a good wine, a good tea can make a good meal a great meal. Serving a perfectly matched tea is not only totally classy, you'll need not fear for the safety of you lampshades, or collect keys at the door.

The best I can do is provide the following guidelines, but if you’d like a tea plan tailored to your dinner plan, please feel free to email me at and I'll do the best I can. Some of the teas I mention below are not yet available on the website, but are available at the shop. If you wish to order any of them online, just mention them in the special comments section of the order form (you’d have to order a sample of something in order to actuate the order form … I’ll throw that sample in with your order at no additional charge) Within the lists below, the tea names in blue are direct links to the appropriate page on the website.

Asiago: Keemun Qi Hong, Japanese Sencha, Pai Mu Tan, White A Cappella, Kukicha
Brie: Longjing, Darjeeling Avongrove, Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Tung Ting
Camembert: Longjing, Precious Eyebrow, Gunpowder, Darjeeling Risheehat Spring
Cheddar: Tung Ting, Darjeeling Risheehat Spring, Lapsang Souchong
Cream Cheese: Ceylon Courtlodge, Darjeeling Golpaldhara Summer
Edam: Ceylon Nadoototem, Darjeeling Makaibari Autumn, Java Kertasarie
Goat Cheese: Assam Rani Spring, Assam Gold, Afternoon With Aunt Faye
Gorgonzola: Precious Eyebrow, Ceylon Labookellie, Pouchong
Muenster: Tung Ting, Pouchong
Provolone: Ceylon Vithanakande, Nilgiri Korakundah Black

Herbs & Spices
Basil: Nine Dragons Oolong, Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Longjing, Gunpowder
Capers: Gunpowder, Ceylon Courtlodge, Java Kertasarie
Chilies: Assam Banaspaty, Yunnan Reel, Keemun Organic, White Tip Baihao Oolong Supreme
Cinnamon: Yunnan Gold, Assam 1947, Darjeeling Makaibari Autumn, White Tip Baihao Oolong Supreme, Immortal Nectar Pu Erh
Garlic: Japanese Sencha, Gunpowder, Genmaicha
Ginger: Tung Ting, Jasmine Yin Hao, Pouchong, Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Makaibari Green
Mint: Darjeeling Risheehat Spring, Tung Ting,Pouchong, Gunpowder
Mustard: Gunpowder, Precious Eyebrow, Nepal Ilam, Milima
Nutmeg: Assam 1947, Darjeeling Avongrove, Yunnan Spiral, Ceylon Kenilworth
Vanilla: Keemun Qi Hong, Tung Ting, Pouchong, Vietnam Black, Tinderet, Golden Monkey

Mushroom dishes
Chanterelles: Assam Rembeng,Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Hunan Pu-Erh Leaf
Common: Assam Rembeng, Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Nilgiri Korakundah Black
Morels: Assam Rani Spring, Tung Ting, Darjeeling Golpaldhara Summer, Immortal Nectar Pu Erh
Porcini: Assam Rembeng, Ceylon Labookellie, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Immortal Nectar Pu Erh

Buffalo Wings: Ceylon Vithanakande, Immortal Nectar Pu Erh, Makaibari Green
Chicken, curried: Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Pouchong, Longjing, Jasmine Green, Orchid Oolong, Makaibari Green
Chicken, fried: Assam Banaspaty, Ceylon Kenilworth, Nilgiri Korakundah Black
, Milima
Chicken, lemon: Tung Ting, Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Ceylon Labookellie, Gunpowder, Wuyi Oolong
Chicken, roasted: Ceylon Labookellie, Gunpowder, Afternoon With Aunt Faye, Wuyi Oolong
Duck, roasted: Formosa Beauty, Wuyi Oolong
Turkey, roasted: Nine Dragons Oolong, Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Ceylon Labookellie, Yunnan Gold, Wuyi Oolong

Anchovies: Ceylon Green, Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Gunpowder, Precious Eyebrow, Pouchong
BBQ Fish: Gunpowder, Hojicha, Precious Eyebrow, Bancha, Wuyi Oolong, Makaibari Green
Clam Chowder: Longjing, Precious Eyebrow, Ceylon Green
Lobster: Lishan Oolong, Alishan Oolong, Nine Dragons Oolong, Orchid Oolong, Royal Baihao Yinzhen, Silver Needle
Prawns: Ti Kuan Yin Royal, Longjing, Ceylon Green
Scallops: Longjing, Genmaicha, Gyokuro, Jasmine Yin Hao, Jasmine Pearls Organic, Dragon Phoenix Jasmine Pearl, Golden Jasmine Butterfly, Alishan Oolong, Tung Ting, Orchid Oolong, Royal Baihao Yinzhen, Silver Needle
Salmon: Tung Ting, Darjeeling Avongrove, Orchid Oolong
Seafood, Fried: Longjing, Genmaicha, Precious Eyebrow, Gunpowder, Wuyi Oolong
Seafood, Grilled: Longjing, Genmaicha, Precious Eyebrow, Gunpowder, Darjeeling Risheehat Spring, Wuyi Oolong, Orchid Oolong, Jade Oolong, Silver Needle, Royal Baihao Yinzhen
Seafood, Smoked: Tung Ting, Pouchong, Alishan Oolong, Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Ceylon Vithanakande, Longjing, Wuyi Oolong

Meat dishes
Bacon: Assam 1947, Assam Banaspaty, Gunpowder, Ceylon Kenmare, Lapsang Souchong
BBQ Meat: Ceylon Labookellie, Yunnan Gold, Gunpowder, Keemun Hao Ya A
Beef: Ceylon Lumbini, Yunnan Gold, Formosa Oolong, Kambaa, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Gunpowder, Yunnan Spiral
Beef Stew: Lapsang Souchong, Assam Gold, Assam Rani Spring, Nilgiri Korakundah Black
Carpaccio: Tung Ting, Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Ceylon Orange Pekoe
Ham, Baked: Ceylon Labookellie, Assam Gold, Milima, Assam 1947
Ham, Smoked: Nine Dragons Oolong, Jade Oolong, Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Longjing
Hamburgers: Ceylon Labookellie, Darjeeling Avongrove, Assam Rani Spring, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Milima
Lamb: Ceylon Labookellie, Darjeeling Golpaldhara Summer, Yunnan Gold
Meat Loaf: Yunnan Reel, Keemun Organic, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Tinderet
Pork: Darjeeling Avongrove, Ceylon Labookellie, Lishan Oolong, Hojicha, Lapsang Souchong, Longjing, Gunpowder, Precious Eyebrow
Salami: Ceylon Lover’s Leap, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Keemun Hao Ya A

Other wonderful foods
Antipasto: Longjing,Pouchong, Ceylon Nadoototem, Nilgiri Korakundah Black
Avocado: Tung Ting, Pouchong, Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Japanese Sencha
Baked Beans: Ceylon Kenmare, Assam Banaspaty, Kambaa, Yunnan Reel, Lapsang Souchong
Corn: Japanese Sencha, Hojicha, Precious Eyebrow
Corn Bread: Ceylon Vithanakande, Assam Gold, Tinderet, Yunnan Gold
Couscous: Ceylon Labookellie, Assam Rani Spring, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Yunnan Gold, Gunpowder
Curry: Darjeeling Avongrove, Jasmine Green, Alishan Oolong, Jade Oolong, Orchid Oolong
Eggplant: Ceylon Courtlodge, Darjeeling Avongrove
Eggs: Darjeeling Golpaldhara Summer, Nine Dragons Oolong, Keemun Qi Hong, Afternoon With Aunt Faye, Ceylon Lumbini, Milima
Lasagna: Assam Banaspaty, Ceylon Vithanakande, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Lapsang Souchong
Macaroni and Cheese: Japanese Sencha, Ceylon Labookellie, Tung Ting
Mexican: Assam Banaspaty, Ceylon Kenilworth, Java Kertasarie
Pizza: Ceylon Kenilworth, Yunnan Gold, Keemun Qi Hong, Immortal Nectar Pu Erh
Polenta: Darjeeling Avongrove, Yunnan Gold, Ceylon Labookellie
Potato Salad: Nine Dragons Oolong, Pouchong, Darjeeling Avongrove, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Ceylon Labookellie
Quiche: Darjeeling Risheehat Spring, Ceylon Labookellie, Japanese Sencha, Longjing, Precious Eyebrow
Salsa: Vert du Vietnam, Ceylon Green
Vegetables (Raw) Ceylon Labookellie, Nilgiri Korakundah Black, Precious Eyebrow, Japanese Sencha

Baklava: Darjeeling Makaibari Summer, Quangzhou Milk Oolong, Ceylon Kenilworth, Ceylon Green, Assam Rani Spring
Carrot Cake: Japanese Sencha, Longjing, Darjeeling Risheehat Spring, Ceylon Courtlodge, Assam 1947, Assam Rani Spring
Cheesecake: Japanese Sencha, Longjing, Ceylon Green, Ceylon Vithanakande, Darjeeling Avongrove, Keemun Qi Hong, Assam 1947
Chocolate, dark: Yunnan Gold, Hunan Gold, Cranberry Black, Assam 1947, Darjeeling Risheehat Summer, Jade Oolong, Quangzhou Milk Oolong, Keemun Mao Feng, Gyokuro.
Chocolate, milk: Yunnan Gold, Longjing, Japanese Sencha, Darjeeling Risheehat Spring, Quangzhou Milk Oolong, Golden Monkey
Crème Brûlée/Caramel: Darjeeling Risheehat Summer, Ti Kuan Yin Gold, Longjing, Assam 1947, Afternoon With Aunt Faye, Ceylon Green, Ceylon Lumbini, Golden Monkey
Crêpes: Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Alishan Oolong, Jade Oolong
Dessert with Apples: Darjeeling Goomtee Spring, Longjing, Ti Kuan Yin Gold, Frost
Dessert with Apricots: Alishan Oolong, Darjeeling Golpaldhara Summer
Dessert with Bananas: Ti Kuan Yin Gold, Tung Ting, Pouchong, Ceylon Labookellie, Golden Monkey
Dessert with Black Currants: Longjing, Darjeeling Risheehat Summer, Jade Oolong
Dessert with Coconut: Assam 1947, Vanilla Organic Black, Afternoon With Aunt Faye
Dessert with Coffee or Mocha: Yunnan Golden Halo, Assam 1947, Immortal Nectar Pu Erh
Dessert with Raspberries: Darjeeling Avongrove, Ceylon Green, Ceylon Kenilworth, Afternoon With Aunt Faye, Song Yang
Dessert with Strawberries Darjeeling Golpaldhara Summer, Longjing, Ti Kuan Yin Royal
Fresh Fruit: Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Pouchong, Tung Ting, Rooibos
Fruit Compote: Ceylon Labookellie, Darjeeling Makaibari Spring, Yunnan Reel, Longjing, Ti Kuan Yin Royal, Alishan Oolong, Jade Oolong
Pecan Pie: Quangzhou Milk Oolong, Alishan Oolong, Darjeeling Avongrove, Assam 1947, Ceylon Vithanakande
Pumpkin Pie: Longjing, Ceylon Green, Ceylon Labookellie, Darjeeling Risheehat Summer
Vanilla: Keemun Qi Hong, Tung Ting, Pouchong, Vietnam Black, Tinderet, Golden Monkey

Monday, March 23, 2009

How about a nice cup of chai?

To utter the words chai tea is to be completely redundant. That's like saying tea tea. Orginating in India, chai is the Hindi word for tea. It often refers to Masala Chai which is a stimulating combination of black tea infused with milk and spices that is savored for its rich, complex flavors. As with all spice blends, there is much variation from kitchen to kitchen. Most commonly, though, the spices used will include ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, clove, allspice and black pepper. As SensibiliTeas, our very popular chai blends use cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger and black pepper. Many feel chai produces a warming, soothing effect and a serene sense of well-being. One cup is usually followed by another.

But what if you were out of chai, your favorite tea shop was closed and you still craved a nice cup of chai? Here's a recipe I've rarely shared, but admit to using it myself with outstanding results.
Try it ... and let me know what yo
u think!

1 14oz can of condensed milk (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Blend spices with the milk and place in a clean dry jar. Cover tightly with a lid.Place in the refrigerator. The longer it stays, the better it gets.To use, stir the mixture and scoop out 2 TBSP or so into a cup of strong hot black tea (2tsp black tea to 12oz of water)

The best teas for this are Assams or Assam blends like Scottish Breakfast or Afternoon With Aunt Faye, though great results can also be obtained with Java Kertasarie or some of the Ceylon teas like Ceylon Kenilworth, Ceylon Vithanakande or Ceylon Lumbini (Vithanakande and Lumbini are new to the shop and not yet on the website, but both are outstanding Ceylon teas)


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fair warning ...

Each year during April, SensibiliTeas is closed so that the owner, Donnalynn, may travel to New England to help manage the largest international machine quilting show in the world. The Machine Quilters Exposition attracts quilts from all over the US, Canada, Europe and Australia and highlights the enormous strides that machine quilting has made over the last 10 years. This is also the best show to attend for anyone interested in purchasing a longarm, midarm or shortarm machine. See for details. (Or click the link under the ``A few of my favorite things'' listing to the right of this posting.)

This year the dates of the SensibiliTeas closure will be Saturday April 11 through Monday April 20, reopening on Tuesday, April 21.

We do apologize for any inconvenience this closure may cause you, and hope you will continue to visit our blog, our website and most of all our shop!

The hours of the shop have also been temporarily modified, as Donnalynn goes through training during the day at her other job. The hours for the next few months are Tues-Fri 2pm-5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.

Lights, camera, action ...

On this day in history, Auguste and Louis Lumière give the first public demonstration of the cinématograph.

In Besançon, France, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas Lumière was born October 19, 1862 and Louis Jean Lumière was born October 5, 1864 the sons of Charles Antoine Lumière, who ran a photgraphic firm. In 1870 they moved to Lyon, and attended La Martiniere, the largest technical school in Lyon. They later worked for their father, Auguste as a manager, and Louis as a physicist. Louis had made many improvements to the still photograph process. The most notable of these improvements being the dry-plate process, which was a major step towards moving images.

They had not, though, started to create moving pictures until their fathers retirement in 1892. They patented many significant processes all leading up to their film camera - most notably film perforations as a means of advancing the film through the camera and projector. The cinématographe itself was patented on February 13, 1985 and the and the first footage ever to be recorded using it was recorded on March 19, 1895. Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory was privately screened on March 22, 1895. Some consider this world's first movie.

The brothers stated that ``the cinema is an invention without any future'' and declined to sell their camera to other filmmakers. Consequently, their role in the history of film was exceedingly brief. They turned their attentions to photography.
The predecessor of motion picture was laterna magica (magic lantern) and toys called zoetropes. In the Shirt Factory that houses the teashop, there is a graphic artist well-versed in the subject of these devices. If ever you desire a truly entertaining show illustrating laterna magica, please contact my good friend Russell Serrianne!
(He's a really great graphic artist, too -- in case you ever need any professional artwork or logo development done)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dr. Livingstone, I presume ...

On this day in 1871, Welsh journalist Henry Morton Stanley (left) started his famous quest through Africa for the missing British explorer Dr. David Livingstone.

In the late 19th century, Europeans and Americans were deeply fascinated by Africa, hailed as the "Dark Continent", and its many mysteries. Few did more to increase Africa's fame than Dr. Livingstone, one of England's most fearless explorers. In August 1865, he set out on a planned two-year expedition to find the source of the Nile River. Dr. Livingstone also hoped to help bring about the abolition of the slave trade, which was devastating Africa's population.

Almost six years after his expedition began, very little had been heard from Dr. Livingstone. Stanley was sent to Africa, by New York Herald editor, James Gordon Bennett, to lead an expedition into the African wilderness to find Livingstone -- dead or alive. At age 28, Stanley had his own fascinating past. As a young orphan in Wales, he crossed the Atlantic on the crew of a merchant ship. He jumped ship in New Orleans and later served in the Civil War as both a Confederate and a Union soldier before beginning a career in journalism.

After setting out from Zanzibar in March 1871, Stanley led his caravan of nearly 2,000 men into the interior of Africa. Nearly eight months passed--during which Stanley contracted dysentery, cerebral malaria and smallpox--before the expedition approached the village of Ujiji, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Sick and poverty-stricken, Livingstone (right) had come to Ujiji that July after living for some time at the mercy of Arab slave traders. When Stanley's caravan entered the village on October 27, flying the American flag, villagers crowded toward the new arrivals. Spotting a white man with a gray beard in the crowd, Stanley stepped toward him and stretched out his hand: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

These words soon became famous across Europe and the United States. Though Stanley urged Livingstone to return with him to London, the explorer vowed to continue his original mission. Livingstone died 18 months later in today's Zambia. He was found in his hut, having passed away during prayer. A monument was erected on that spot, and his heart was buried there. The remainder of his body was taken back to England, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey with pomp and glory.

As for Stanley, he returned to Africa to fulfill a promise he had made to Livingstone -- to find the source of the Nile. He later damaged his reputation by accepting money from King Leopold II of Belgium to help create the Belgian-ruled Congo Free State and promote the slave trade. When he left Africa, Stanley resumed his British citizenship and even served in Parliament, but when he died he was refused burial in Westminster Abbey because of his actions in the Congo Free State.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Barbie!

On March 9, 1959, she was born Barbara Millicent Roberts, daughter of George and Margaret Roberts in the lovely little town of fictitious Willows, Wisconsin where she attended high school before transferring to Manhattan International High School to continue her education while pursuing her career as a fashion model.

Today, Barbie is 50 years old. Yes, that 11-inch beauty with the waterfall of golden tresses first appeared on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959. She was the first American mass-produced doll with adult features, touting a figure – 36-18-38 (at 7’ tall) – that would be controversial for decades to come.
Barbie was developed by Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler, after seeing her young daughter, Barbara, ignore her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women.

Barbie’s appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli which was based on a German comic strip character and originally marketed as a racy gag gift for adult men in tobacco shops. After Lilli became popular with children, Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made Barbie, named after Handler’s daughter.
Mattel became the first toy company to broadcast commercials to children and successfully used this medium to promote their new doll. The enormous demand for this new toy led Mattel to find a boyfriend for Barbie, and Ken was developed and named after Handler’s son. Midge, Barbie’s best friend, was introduced in 1963 and Skipper, her little sister debuted the following year.

Barbie has often been the center of controversy. On a positive note, many saw Barbie as providing an alternative to the traditional gender roles of the 1950s. She’s been a doctor, pilot, airline stewardess, astronaut, athlete – and even a US presidential candidate. Others, though, found the never-ending supply of designer outfits, sports cars and Dream Houses to seem materialistic, and a bad influence on youngsters. Her appearance, however, has been the greatest controversy, as many claimed that Barbie and her amazing measurements provided little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example, fostering negative body image.

Regardless, sales of Barbie-related merchandise have continued to skyrocket topping $1,000,000,000 annually in 1993. Since her debut in 1959, more than 800,000,000 dolls in the Barbie family have been sold around the world, and Barbie is now truly a global icon.

Now, no one has actually ever seen Barbie drinking tea, but she had many, many tea sets. There was a lovely tea room for the Dream House, and various tea sets including Victorian Barbie Tea Set, Twelve Dancing Princesses Tea Set, and Swan Lake Barbie Tea Set – even Ken got in on the action. Maybe he shouldn’t have …

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Happy Birthday to You

So many times this blog is about someone born of this day in history and a relationship (however loose) back to tea. Today we celebrate the publishing of the song, we've come to recognize as the official birthday song, ``Happy Birthday to You''. It was first published in on this day in 1924 by Claydon Sunny. So today we sing Happy Birthday to the song itself!

So what does that have to do with tea?
Well, there isn't a single package of green tea, white tea or a light oolong that leaves our shop without the words ``Happy Birthday'' on a bright green label on the back of the package. Why? As mentioned in previous posts, boiling water is too hot for tender tea leaves as found on green, white and light oolong teas. If the water happens to come to boiling, remove the water from the heat source and sing Happy Birthday. The length of this little ditty is just about right for allowing the water to cool to an appropriate brewing temperature.
Off the tea topic, the same song can be used to teach little ones to wash their hands for the proper amount of time.

I have a tea in stock called Birthday Wishes. It was developed when I was challenged to make a tea that is reminiscent of birthday cake. It even has sprinkles, just for fun. I'll offer that all week this week at 10% off. Just mention the blog.

As well, I'd like you all to know that I carry an electric tea kettle that has a temperature gauge. That means when it reached the set temperature, it stops heating. This means no more burning up the tea kettle! It's great for heating water for tea, coffee, hot chocolate, oatmeal, noodly soup, rice -- the perfect gift for anyone. It's energy efficient, too. It heats 1.6 L of water in about 4 minutes. If you are interested, please stop by the shop to see it, or give me a call. They retail for $50.00. I've personally been using the predecessor model for many years. I'd be lost without it!
How about a 10% discount on that too?! Sure!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Would you like green tea and ham?

You guessed it! It's Dr. Seuss' birthday. He was born in Springfield MA on 03/02/1904.

I'd really wanted to do a poem ... but in order to be good it will have to wait. Maybe next year ...

When people ask me my favorite author, they always look a little dejected when I mention Dr. Seuss made it to the short list of favorites. When asked for my favorite books I usually reply Yertle the Turtle. It confuses folks a lot. That's more their problem than mine...

There aren't a lot of direct Dr. Seuss tea links. Okay ... there's an early work of his in which he invents a contraption to help a hapless hiccougher not spill his tea at a tea party (the Lehrenkrauss Hiccough Machine, I believe), and everyone remembers the uptight little fish in the teapot in The Cat in the Hat (and who doesn't have the hat ??? Crushed velvet never looked so good ....(hat shown above), but I think the loose tea reference I'll go with is another quote from beneath the lid of a bottle of Honest Tea:

Unless someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not. -- the Lorax

So what can you do? There's so many thing you can do. Even in the choosing your tea ...
Did you know that if 10,000 tea drinkers chose an organic cup of tea over a conventional cup of tea every day for a year, we would keep the weight of 373 Dr. Seuss books in pesticides from pouring into the environment.

(Did you know Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet? His publisher bet him he couldn't write a book using only 50 words. The publisher lost the bet. Green Eggs and Ham contains exactly 50 words. Take that, Sam I Am ...)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'ts March! That means Earl Grey month!

Oh sure you know the tea, but do you know the man?
Did you know that Earl Grey was a real person?
The Earl Grey blend is named for Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, born March 13, 1764, the second but eldest son of General Sir Charles Grey and his wife, Elizabeth (1743/4–1822), daughter of George Grey of Southwick.

The Earl Grey blend is named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister 1830-1834, and author of the Reform Bill of 1832. The Reform Bill reformed the House of Commons and sought to abolish slavery in the British Empire by 1833. He was well educated and said to be one of the most prominent orators of his time. So what the heck does this gent have to do with tea?

No one is 100% sure how the tea came to be named for him. However, I'm always happy to share a few stories. According to one legend, a grateful Chinese nobleman was rescued from drowning by Earl Grey or one of Earl Grey's men during a trip to China. When asked how this rescue could be repaid, he remarked that having the recipe for that fabulous tea would be thanks enough.

Another version holds that the son of an Indian raja was rescued from the jaws of a hunger tigher by Grey or on of Grey's men.
Both stories sure make Earl Grey sound heroic, however, Earl Grey never traveled to China, and the Indian version about the tiger is a rarely told tale. Jacksons of Piccadilly lay claim that it was their recipe as given by Earl Grey to Robert Jackson & Co. parnter George Charlton. They state that the tea has been in constant production since 1830, and the recipe has never left their hands. Their recipe is based on a Chinese black tea since the beginning, while other companies tend to more commonly use black Indian or Sri Lankan (Ceylon) teas.
So that's who Earl Grey was ... how about what Earl Grey is!

Many believe that if they are drinking Earl Grey that they are drinking a better grade of tea. Sorry to say this is not necessarily true. Earl Grey is simply black tea flavored with bergamot -- the essential oil of a citrus fruit native to the Calabria region of Italy.

And what is Lady Grey? Well, Earl Grey tea was reported to cause improper impules in women so it was formulated to be a bit more citrusy -- usually with the addition of lemon. Lady Grey is said to better suit the temperment of a women. Oh, please ....

Fictional characters who are said to enjoy Earl Grey tea include;
Bruce Wayne of Batman
Eric Cartman of South Park
Frasier Crane of Cheers and Frasier
Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Dr. Donald Mallard (Ducky) of NCIS
Bobby Simone of NYPD Blue (I couldn't even watch the series after they killed him off)
Sir Leigh Teabing (The DaVinci Code)
and many others I'm sure.

A word of caution about Earl Grey, however. Bergamot, the primary flavor in Earl Grey, is said to create photsensitive reactions in many people, such as with tetracycline antibiotics and sulfonamides.

So what good does Earl Grey month do you? How about a 15% discount off all Earl Grey varieties from now until March 31! In shop, email and phone order customers need to remind me of the sale, as this sale is open only to blog readers. Online customers should enter the code blogearl in the special comments of the online order form.
Earl Grey Bravo
Earl Grey Creme
Earl Grey Organic
Earl Grey With Lavender
Darjeeling Earl Grey
Victorian Earl Grey
Earl Green
Earl Green with Lavender
Earl Grey Rooibos
Lady Myrtle Grey
Classic Iced Tea Blend