Lady Grey Tea
Twinings Lady Grey tea, a variation on the Earl Grey blend, is light flavored and delicious. Like Earl Grey tea, Lady Grey is a black tea blend flavored with bergamot. Having added citrus flavors (lemon peel and orange peel) and less bergamot, Lady Grey has a lighter, sweeter taste. It is very good as both an iced tea and a hot tea.
Even if you are someone who absolutely always sweetens your tea, you may want to try Lady Grey with no added sweeteners first. If you do choose to add something to it, only a little milk and/or sugar is advised, or a slice of lemon. More will drown the tea’s lovely flavor.
Both the Lady Grey and the Earl Grey blends were invented (based on older Chinese blends) by the Twinings of London tea company, sometime in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Earl Grey has since been copied by several other tea companies, which market their own versions. However, only Twinings produces Lady Grey tea, at least under that exact name. One company, the Ivy Tea Room, offers a variation of the blend under the name Lady Mary Elizabeth Grey. Unlike the original Twinings version, the Ivy Tea Room’s blend includes lavender.
While their namesakes are known, the exact history of these blends is somewhat murky. Earl Grey tea was named after Charles, the Second Earl Grey, who was prime minister of Britain from 1830 to 1834. Lady Grey was named after his wife, Lady Mary Elizabeth Grey. Whether or not the earl and lady ever drank their namesake teas, let alone had any input in creating them, is unknown.
Some sources say the Earl Grey blend was created for Earl Charles Grey as a gift. Others say the earl invented the blend himself. Around the origins of Lady Grey tea, no such legends have sprung up. All sources agree that the blend was simply invented by Twinings as a milder variation of Earl Grey tea. Lady Mary Elizabeth does not appear to have been involved in its creation.
Perhaps the mildness of Lady Grey tea has lent itself to the notion that it is a more ladylike blend. Because of its relatively low caffeine content (it ranks two on the one to five scale Twinings uses to rate the strength of their teas, with one being the lowest and five the highest) and light flavor, it is considered an afternoon tea.
Yet Lady Grey is also a higher quality tea than its masculine counterpart. Bergamot, which is strong in the Earl Grey blend, is often used to mask poor quality tea leaves. Indeed, Earl Grey is often made with lesser quality tea. Since Lady Grey has less bergamot, it must be made with higher quality tea leaves to have a palatable taste.
If you enjoy the Earl Grey blend, you will likely enjoy Lady Grey as well, perhaps even better. Mild, even sweet, and low in caffeine, it makes a pleasant pick-me-up in the afternoon.