The oil of the Bergamot orange rind is what gives Earl Gray that unique flavor and aroma that is so ubiqioustis to the famed black tea. While the fruit of the Bergamot orange is not edible, its oil is incredibly valuable and useful in a number of flavorings and perfumes. The blend is said to get its name from Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey and Prime Minister of Britain in the 1830s.
There are a number of variations that have cropped up world-wide, uncluding blending the tea leaves with flowers. *For those of you curious, Earl GrAy and Earl GrEy are the same thing. The spelling of Gray depends on the education of the speller, with Gray being more common in America and Grey being popular in other English speaking countries. So, everyone is correct!
Hot Tea: 1 heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7 to 9oz./200 to 260ml of water in your teapot. Pour freshly boiled water over the tea, leaving to steep for 3 to 7 minutes.
Optional: Add milk or milk substitute and sweetener to taste. Adding steamed milk (or milk substitute) and vanilla will give you a famous London Fog variation on this tea.
Iced Tea: (Makes 1QT) Add 6 heaping teaspoons of loose tea into a teapot. Pour 1 ¼ cup/315ml of boiling water over tea. Steep for 5 minutes, then quarter fill serving pitcher with cold water. Pour tea into pitcher, straining out the tea leaves. Add ice, top up with water, garnish and sweeten to taste.
For another method, try cold brewing your iced tea. Fill your serving pitcher with cold water (1QT), and then add in a bag of roughly 5 to 6 teaspoons of tea. Leave in the refrigerator over night and in the morning, fresh cold tea is waiting for you!