Maker: Queen Mary
Type: Earl Grey black tea
Brew: 1 tsp / cup, boiling, 3 min
While Earl Grey’s brisk citrus flavor is quite welcome, it can sometimes pack a punch—hence why it’s often a favorite tea to mix with milk, especially if it’s a black Earl Grey. Such a milk and black Earl Grey drink is popular enough to have a name: the London Fog.
For the dairy-intolerant among us, or for those without easy access to milk, there’s still a way to have a London Fog kind of experience: by softening the taste of the bergamot oil with another ingredient. While such blends normally use cream and/or vanilla flavoring to do this, Creamy Earl Grey instead uses malva flowers.
Malva is otherwise known as marsh mallow, which sounds familiar to you if you’ve ever had S’mores. Marshmallow confections these days have no actual marsh mallow ingredients, but they used to use the roots of the mallow.
The malva/mallow flowers are quite effective softening taste—they can be used as a thickening agent after all—and do so without adding what may to some be too much of a milk flavor. In contrast, some Earl Grey blends use corn flowers, which look pretty but seem not to do much for taste. Lavender softens taste in another way, by adding floral notes, but for flowers in Earl Grey, nothing beats malva for me.
Rating: 4/5—an excellent everyday tea for a more subtle afternoon Earl Grey