Our Seattle tea broker gets this Earl Grey from Copenhagen because, as he says, "It's really hard to do a great Earl Grey but these people are masters at it." They begin with high-quality tea (though they are secretive, we're guessing that it's mainly Ceylon with some Assam or Yunnan), then blend it in a drum with natural oil of bergamot (no synthetic sprays here!).
Bergamot is a small citrus fruit that's a cross between a sweet lemon and a Seville orange. Legend has it that tea infused with its essence was presented by a Chinese mandarin to Charles, the Second Earl Grey, when he was Prime Minister in the early 1800s. Drinking our Earl Grey should make you feel like royalty yourself.
Earl Grey's citrus flavor makes it a well-loved ingredient in baked recipes and anything to do with chocolate. Erika, a trained in the baking and pastry arts in Vancouver, B.C., came up with a fabulous Tea Truffle recipe using this tea. You’ll find the recipe, as well as the recipe for a wonderful tea-infused drinking chocolate, in the tabs.
5 teaspoons Oliver Pluff Cacao Shell Tea
1 sachet Steve Smith Peppermint Leaves
Bring 32 oz water to a boil. In a 4-cup teapot, add the Cacao Shell Tea and fill with boiling water. Let steep 5 minutes, then add the sachet of Peppermint Leaves and steep an additional 5 minutes.
Strain into your favorite mug. Add a sprinkle of sugar to bring forward the chocolate flavor for an even more delightful cuppa. Serves 4.
1½ cup whole milk
2 tbsp. cream
2 tsp. loose leaf Earl Grey tea
⅓ cup Chocolat Vitale drinking chocolate (approx. half a 4-oz package)
Combine milk and cream in small saucepan over low heat and bring almost to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in tea leaves. Cover and steep 8 minutes. Strain and pour back into saucepan. Add Chocolat Vitale and heat slowly, whisking constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and foamy (but not boiling).
Serve immediately in a demitasse. Add a biscuit and you have dessert!Makes 4–6 demitasse servings.