According to Todd Chatterton, Director of Coffee and Tea at New York's Eleven Madison Park, Earl Grey—which consists of black tea flavored with Bergamot, a type of citrus—is one of the most fundamental, approachable types of tea, representing an "anchoring point in tea culture," due to its mild, balanced taste. "It's something that everyone has had once in their life."
History of Earl Grey Tea
While we do know that Earl Grey tea was most likely named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl of Grey, who was prime minister of England in the 1800s—the exact origins of the tea are a bit murky. Chatterton identifies two leading theories of how it came to be, both of which, he says, are "all conjecture":
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Theory #1: "This involves [Charles Grey] saving the life of a Chinese man who was into tea blending, so as a thank you, he was given [Earl Grey] tea."