Earl Grey tea is a tea blend with a distinctive flavour and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit.
The Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s, who reputedly received a gift, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil, taken from bergamot, a citrus fruit typical of southern Italy.
The legend usually involves a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey's men. Although this blend of tea was first made from fermented black Indian and Ceylon teas. As green tea is much more popular in China than black tea, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would have had a recipe for what we now call Earl Grey to bestow on visitors, though over the years many other varieties of tea have been used. In addition, Lord Grey never set foot in China. Another version of the legend has the son of an Indianraja being rescued from a tiger by one of Grey's servants.
Jacksons of Piccadilly claim that it was they who originated Earl Grey's Tea, Lord Grey having given the recipe to Robert Jackson & Co. partner George Charlton in 1830; according to Jacksons the original recipe has been in constant production and has never left their hands. Theirs has been based on China tea since the beginning.