As I mentioned the Earl Grey this morning, un-drunk though it was while the paroxysms lasted, I felt a little guilty. Is Earl Grey posh? I only used the name to avoid writing plain old ‘tea’. If it had been Darjeeling, Rooibos or PG Tips, I’d have said so. I just happen to like Earl Grey.
The young witch used to frequent Cranks, whenever her travels took her to London. (That was most of the time.) You would walk along the self service counter, order your tea, and then receive it a step or two further on. On one occasion I reached out for the mug standing on the counter, only to be informed by the ‘lady’ on my right that it was her tea. ‘It’s Earl Grey’, she sniffed at me, ‘and I don’t think you’d like that…’ I wasn’t quick enough to say anything other than ‘sorry’. Stupid me.
In more recent years I’ve been despairing of Earl Grey in cafés. Tastes of nothing, most of the time. The local bookshop served the most divine Earl Grey when they first opened. Then I gather the customers complained that it actually tasted of something, so they switched to Twinings-no-flavour-EG. I liked the original tea so much that I contacted the wholesaler and bought their minimum order of 500 tea bags. Soon time to order some more.
I’m so common, despite drinking Earl Grey, that I have it with milk. Often you get asked if you want it with milk or lemon. Once, at Lakeland in Handforth, I asked the waitress if she’d forgotten my milk, when none seemed to be forthcoming. ‘With Earl Grey?’, she asked in a tone worthy of Lady Bracknell on the subject of handbags. The shame of it.
For my daily tipple it’s Earl Grey loose leaf tea from Sainsbury’s. It used to be Jackson’s of Piccadilly.