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I have found that when it comes to Earl Grey tea, there are 2 camps: those who love it and those who do not.

I am in the camp who does not.

However, any tea connoisseur will tell you that not all teas are equal since quality and blends can vary between producers. It never hurts to experiment.

This weekend, I tried two types of Earl Grey Cream tea, which is not quite the same as Earl Grey. To understand one, you must first understand the other.

Earl Grey tea is a blend of tea with the addition of oil of bergamot, which is extracted from the rind of the citrus fruit grown on bergamot orange trees. It is an unmistakable, highly floral aromatic that is also used in perfumed products. Originally, this tea wasn’t meant to be consumed with milk, but tea companies have modified the blend to include stronger black teas, such as ceylon, which lend themselves better to being consumed with milk. Tea companies have also been experimenting using unconventional tea bases, like green tea. Earl Grey Fog lattes have become very popular.

It’s assumed to have been named after Earl Charles Grey, the British prime minister in the 1830’s. Lady Jane was his wife. Charles Grey reputedly received this special blend of tea with the oil of bergamot after ending a tea monopoly by the East India Tea Company. The floral flavour was specially blended to help compensate for the lime levels in Earl Grey’s local water. The first advertisement on record for Earl Grey tea was in the 1880’s.

Earl Grey Cream teas differ in that they do not contain the oil of bergamot (so you don’t have that nasty oily film on the top of your tea cup) but they do mimic the floral flavour (or citrusy flavour, depending on your tastebuds).

Pluck’s tea contains black tea, corn flowers and natural flavours, where as David’s tea of the same name, contains organic black tea, natural earl gray cream flavor, blueberry centaury, and organic marigolds. Please don’t ask me what “natural flavours” mean… I found Pluck’s tea was more like an astringent black tea with a light traditional earl grey flavour. It was a moderate amber colour. David’s tea had the much stronger, heady smell and flavour of earl grey, but with a silky, creamy texture. It was less astringent than Pluck’s tea, and also a much darker colour.

Pluck’s Earl Grey Cream

While both teas surprised me, I still have to be “in the mood” for something floral. I still really like that Pluck’s tea is blended in smaller batcher in Canada for quality control, and their tea is sourced from an Ethical Tea Partnership supporting local growers and workers. Both teas are kosher; they are also caffeinated. For a decaf version, try a Lady Jane Grey blend.

Well, I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.

Quartermaster (“Q”), Skyfall

Happy Monday!