Earl Grey Tea

If you enjoy black tea, you probably know about Earl Grey tea and its interesting flavor profile.  You may even know some background on how Earl Grey originated.

The background is murky at best but the most popular story is that there was an English earl in the 1800’s with the surname “Grey.” As a reward for championing some legislation in the House of Lords, he purportedly received a gift of black tea flavored with bergamot orange oil and thereafter, his special blend was known as Earl Grey tea.

Another story debunks this idea and reports that Earl Grey tea was given this special name as a marketing ploy and that it was simply a clever way to sell inferior black tea—infuse it with bergamot orange oil.

And, another tale shares that black tea was shipped from China to England in the 1800’s but the tea, during shipping, was in close proximity to crates of bergamot oranges that the flavor profile was created by accident.  Interesting to note is that the “parents of the bergamot orange come from Asia.”

Introduced to Italy in the 1700s, bergamot oranges are found in the northern city of Bergamo, Italy and are a small hybrid citrus fruit—a cross between a sour orange and a lemon or lime. The strong, aromatic oil from the rind is what is used for Earl Grey tea and other products like perfumes and colognes.

Give Earl Grey tea a try!  A fun hot drink to make with Earl Grey tea is called a “London Fog.”  You can easily go online and find a recipe for this combination of warm milk, vanilla syrup & Earl Grey or you can make it with warm coconut milk, vanilla extract, raw honey & Earl Grey. . . it’s up to you!



Bosie Tea Parlor - West Village, NYC

Typically, summer is a time for traveling, exploring and trying new things. This summer we traveled to New York City, explored the High Line http://www.thehighline.org/ and tried some new teas at the Bosie Tea Parlor https://bosieteaparlor.com/about/ in West Village. Bosie is a cozy little place modeled after the intimate tea rooms of Paris. Also, for a tea room, it is not all pink and frills and lace so the gentlemen in your party can truly enjoy themselves. However, what really stands out about this establishment is the amount of teas they offer—we were handed a booklet of over 100 loose leaf teas to choose from—and the fact they have a tea sommelier on hand to help you make your selection.

We arrived mid-morning so we shared a croissant and for tea, my husband ordered the Tropical Forest Green Tea and I had a hibiscus blend. We were so impressed with the green tea that we bought some to bring home and my husband has been enjoying it ever since.

In looking over the menu, we realized we’ll need to come back and order the tea service for two which includes a pot of tea, tea sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and macarons. (They have a French pastry chef on staff with first-class credentials.)

So, if you travel to NYC this summer, I implore you to make a little trip to West Village and peruse their vast listing of loose leaf teas and enjoy a little taste of Paris while you’re at it. Note: All teas can be tried as iced teas as well, in case you’re there on a sweltering summer day.

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Oolong Tea and Why It's Good for You


Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I loved going to Chinatown to our family’s favorite restaurant on Jackson Street. As soon as we sat down, the wait staff would bring over a large pot of the most delicious, fragrant tea—oolong. That tea was hot, flavorful and enjoyable and if you’ve ever had a “flavor memory” before, well, this is one of mine. I haven’t had oolong tea in a long time but lately, I’ve been craving it. I decided to do a little research to see if it has any beneficial properties. And, yes, it does.

Here’s what I’ve discovered:

1)      Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant used to make both black teas and green teas. However, there is a partial oxidation process which makes oolong tea. Black tea has been fully oxidized while green tea is minimally oxidized.

2)     It was known in China as a tribute tea. Discovered in the mountainous regions of Fujian during the Tang Dynasty, this tea was chosen by the emperor to be presented as gifts at the royal court.

3)     It contains theanine, an amino acid known for its relaxing effects but it’s also thought to improve mental health.

4)     Oolong tea provides some benefits for heart health. In one study of 76,000 Japanese adults, those who drank about 8 ounces of oolong tea per day had a 61% lower risk of heart disease.

5)     It’s good for bone health as it may help us retain minerals from other foods we eat.

6)     It contains polyphenols which may help prevent tooth decay.

7)     There’s about 25 mg. of caffeine per cup of oolong; the same amount of coffee contains 95 mg. of caffeine.

8)     Avoid oolong tea: if you are sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or have a thyroid condition.


·      For more information: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oolong-tea-benefits


Fight the Flu with Herbal Teas

Despite my best efforts to not get sick, I’ve now been sick with the flu for 8 days straight. All I can say is that I’m thankful I didn’t get this during the Christmas break when my kids were home. . . in the meantime, I have been drinking lots and lots of tea. There’s many choices but the one I find myself going back to is the simplest out there: freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh ginger chunks & manuka honey (regular honey works fine, too). Put all of these ingredients in a small teapot or teacup and pour boiling water over them—let sit covered for about 8 minutes. Sip slowly and enjoy the goodness in your cup!

There are a few loose herbs I wish I had on hand right now like rosemary and eucalyptus. . . it would take too long for me to order them and get them in time but I have been drinking thyme and olive leaf as well—hot water poured over these herbs and steeped for 8 minutes. 

And, if you don’t want to bother with chopping ginger & squeezing lemon when you don’t feel well, one great tea I’ve just discovered for the flu is Gypsy Cold Care by Traditional Medicinals. This tea is a nice blend of elder, yarrow and peppermint with their proprietary blend of herbs such as organic rose hips, organic cinnamon bark and organic ginger, etc. The company does list a few precautions with this tea: not recommended for children under 12 years old. Do not use this tea if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, like yarrow, chamomile or echinacea. And, talk to your healthcare practitioner before you drink this tea, if you have gallstones, bile duct obstruction, hiatal hernia or acid reflux. Bottom line: this tea has medicinal properties to it and you probably don’t want to drink it if you are taking certain prescription meds for these various health issues.