Spot of Tea: Fortnum and Mason Earl Grey Classic Tea

Carrie Vasios

Fortnum and Mason is a dangerous place for me. They have walls (walls!) of three of my very favorite things: tea, coffee, and jam. I've recently discovered that they ship to the United States, which is both a very good, and very bad, thing.

I'll console myself with the knowledge that I'm hardly the first person to spend too much money here: Fortnum and Mason has been selling tea since 1720, when the then-tiny shop received its first shipment of East India Company tea. So does the Earl Grey Classic taste like almost three hundred years of history? Maybe. It does taste extremely refined.

My favorite characteristic of this particular brew is the balance between citrus and earthiness. The black tea is robust and deeply flavored, not falling away in face of the bergamot. It's got the strength of an English Breakfast tea and a hint of smoke. The bergamot adds the lively zip of orange. I like to play up this contrast of bright and mellow flavors by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to my cup. Unlike some other refreshing Earl Grey blends that I like to drink in the afternoon, this is a tea I prefer in the morning.

Available online and at some Williams Sonoma stores, £3 for 3.3 ounces.