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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Earl Grey. Not.

As I have said before, I do not claim to be an expert on tea. With that in mind, I will try to approach my posts with the assumption that some of my readers may not be experts either. For those who are, skip over the parts you know and get to the good stuff!

Earl Grey is a black tea that is flavored with oil of bergamot. It was named after the second Earl Charles Grey of Britain, who, as legend has it, was given the recipe as a gift by a Chinese nobleman. It is also one of the most popular teas in the world.

Believe it, or not, I am a Star Trek: TNG fan. For all you non-fans, that's The Next Generation, not the original. And, as any good Star Trek fan knows, tea played quite a frequent featured role in that series as the preferred beverage of Captain Picard, who always ordered it hot. I can't even look at a box of Earl Grey tea without his famous line running across my brain: "Earl Grey. Hot." The good Captain's passion for this tea was the primary reason for my desire to give it a try.
And so I did.
Tea has had an influence on many things throughout history. Remember the Boston Tea Party? So, is it possible that tea could also have an influence on the way you view one of your favorite television programs? In the beginning, when I would see the Captain order his Earl Grey, it gave me the impression of strength, comfort, and a certain unattainable level of class.
Now, all I think is, "How can he drink that?!"
I confess, I hate Earl Grey. No offense to the man himself, but his tea leaves a lot to be desired. I know, I am in the minority, and am probably committing tea community suicide with that statement, but I have to get it off of my chest.
I thought I saw a ray of hope when Starbucks introduced their Tea Lattes. The nice man at the window explained the "London Fog Latte" to me, and raved about it, saying he now even drank it in place of his morning coffee. Earl Grey tea with milk and vanilla syrup. That's about as far away form being a tea purist as one can get, but I thought I'd give old Earl a second chance. Strike two.
I don't think I'll be offering another chance for that third strike. From now on, when I hear that familiar line in my head, I'll have to reply, "Earl Grey. Not."

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