What can you say about a tea company that’s been in business longer than the United States has been a nation? Quite a lot more than we can fit into this article, I’m sure. But suffice to say, for starters, that any company that’s been around for 300 years (and change) must be doing something right.
Nowadays, tea and the British go together like peanut butter and jelly or Brad and Angelina, but it wasn’t always so. In 1706, the beverage had yet to get a real foothold in Britain. Tea there had only been around for about a half a century and was still a relatively expensive drink favored by a smattering of well-heeled types who could afford to shell out for it.
As is the case in the United States today, in Britain, at that time, coffee was much more popular than tea, so much so that when Thomas Twinings first began serving it in the historic year of 1706, he did so at his coffee shop. Of course, one thing led to another and before too long tea was pouring into the country at an impressive clip, eventually pushing coffee to the back seat. Through all of this, Twinings of London was along for the ride.
These days Twinings of London is sold worldwide and proudly boasts that it offers more than 100 varieties of tea. Among these are Earl Grey, a distinctive flavored black tea. Though other companies may lay claim to being the first to offer this blend commercially, it’s said that it was first created by Twinings at the urging of its namesake, Earl Grey, a prominent eighteenth century British politician.
Earl Grey is made with the distinctively aromatic oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit primarily grown in Italy. A popular variation on this formula and one that Twinings can definitely lay claim to having created is Lady Grey, which adds Seville orange, lemon and cornflower to the mix.