Earl Grey is a black tea scented with bergamot, an oil extracted from a pear-shaped Mediterranean citrus about the size of an orange.
Story has it that in 1830 Englishman Charles Earl Grey (the second Earl Grey, 1764-1845) was on a diplomatic mission to China, when a mandarin presented him with the recipe for making this distinctive tea. Now it is the most famous scented tea in the Western world. Earl Grey brews up a beautiful amber cup with a distinctive flavor and lightly fragrant aroma.
The tea leaves in Earl Grey are usually a blend of Chinese black or Indian Darjeeling teas. Stash uses superior grades of Ceylon black tea from Sri Lanka and black teas from China for our Earl Grey. We strive for a distinctive tea flavor that is not overwhelmed by the pungent citrus, and we use only 100% pure bergamot oil, not a mixture. While other citrus fruits are grown in many countries, bergamot is cultivated exclusively in a narrow strip of coastal land in the Reggio Calabria province of Southern Italy. Bergamot or Citrus Bergamia Risso, also called the "prince's pear", is inedible, but its precious and fragrant oil is an ingredient in both perfume and food products.
Bergamot is hand-picked in winter when the fruit is not quite ripe. The bergamot essence is extracted by a cold-pressed method using special "peeling" machines. The fragrant cold-pressed oil is then stored in special containers for a year or longer before sale.
Stash Earl Grey is a versatile tea, at its best in the afternoon or after dinner. Delicious and flavorful plain, Stash Earl Grey also may be served with sugar and milk. Plus it makes a wonderful, refreshing iced tea.
The Stash Tea Company is a privately-held company headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. Founded in 1972, Stash Tea originally operated out of an old Portland Victorian style house, supplying loose herbal teas and bulk herbs to natural food stores. Starting in 1975, the company broadened its focus to include bagged teas and then began to sell a full line of traditional, specialty blend and herbal teas directly to fine restaurants and through a mail order catalog to consumers.
Today, Stash Tea is one of the largest specialty tea companies in the United States. The company derives its name from an entertaining aspect of tea folklore. In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity traditionally transported by clipper ship. The ship's captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use. This supply was his "stash," stowed carefully as his "private reserve". Today, the term is still used to denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.