The history of London Fog: The Earl Grey Tea Latte with a Controversial Past
London Fog: The Earl Grey Tea Latte with a Controversial Past
By Bronwyn Hope.
If you are romantics/tea nerds like us at Grow Tea Company, you may find yourselves sitting around during your afternoon tea times, pondering the origins of your favourite teas and tea recipes. One of our favourite tea lattes, the London Fog has one of those origin stories we wonder about.
We all know and love the London Fog: a perfectly brewed cup of GTC’s *Organic* Earl Grey, a dash of vanilla syrup, topped with steamed milk and garnished with a sprig of lavender (if you’re fancy). For those who don’t frequent to Pacific Northwest or Canada’s west coast, may be unfamiliar with the London Fog, but may know it by its other aliases: the Early Grey Latte, Vanilla Tea Misto, or the Vancouver Fog (in Scotland).
With a name like London Fog, we can only begin to make assumptions about the history of this delicate and delectable tea latte recipe. We imagine a brooding writer, cooped up in their flat on another dreary London afternoon, about to sit down to their usual cuppa Earl Grey. Tired of their typical clear tea, and feeling that all too familiar 3 o’clock fade, they decide to get a little creative and put a little pep in their step. Swinging open their cupboards, they thumb through their sweeteners, pushing boring white sugar and sweeteners aside to land on vanilla syrup. Sweet and light they think, how they wish the weather would be, and steamed some milk. As the warm milk hit the black Earl Grey tea it created a cloudy plume, turning the colour of the fog-laden London afternoon and thus the name was born.
Cute, right? Romantic. But not entirely accurate.
Actually, the infamous London Fog is yet another genius idea, born out of our true and Native land, Canada (just like your favourite online tea shop, Grow Tea Co.).
The History of the London Fog
Though its original creator still remains highly elusive, the London Fog recipe is rumoured to have been first made in Vancouver, British Columbia. A few establishments have tried to claim the London Fog tea latte as their invention, including the Buckwheat Café that once sat on 4th Ave in Vancouver. Their story goes back to 1994 when a pregnant patron, Mary Loria, with an aversion to coffee, came in looking for an alternative and asked for some steamed milk and vanilla added to her favourite brew, Earl Grey. To most tea nerds, this seems to be the most agreed upon origin story.
However, other tea and coffee shops have tried to take ownership. Island Coffeehouse in Langley, Washington, claim they came up with the idea for the Earl Grey tea latte as they served a similar concoction, theirs only with peppermint tea. The tea latte also surged in popularity, popping up in Starbucks and Second Cups, in the early 2000s in Calgary, a place Loria’s family frequented (coincidence?). Though we can’t be certain who truly invented the London Fog, we can say thank you for this beautiful contribution to the wonderful world of tea.
The London Fog and Tea Lattes Today
Today, the London Fog is loved throughout the world, taking on many variations, adapting to its surroundings. In most places in North America, you’ll have no trouble ordering a London Fog at your local coffee shop. At Starbucks, you’ll find it on the menu as an Earl Grey Latte. Across the pond, you may come across the Dublin Fog substituting Earl Grey for Irish English Breakfast tea. Those south of the border may fancy the Mexican Fog, which switches out the vanilla for agave. East coasters, try the Halifax Fog subbing in a few dashes of Nova Scotian Maple Syrup in lieu of the vanilla.
Essentially a hug in a mug, the London Fog is best served on those days when a little extra comfort is necessary. But ever since the temperatures have started to go up, we’ve been opting for the iced varieties of our favourite Grow Tea Company loose leaf teas. Regardless of your brew being hot or cold, it’s important we whip up the perfect base drink.
The Perfect London Fog Recipe
How to make a perfect London Fog every time:
1. Heat your water to 85-95°C. 2. Pour hot water over your GTC’s *Organic* Earl Grey tea leaves.
3. Infuse for 2-3 minutes.
4. Remove your leaves.
5. Pour in desired amount of vanilla syrup (1-3 tsp).
6. Top with steamed milk and enjoy.
Those interested in making an iced version could make their tea as a cold brew the night before, letting the tea leaves steep in cold water in the fridge overnight in a pitcher. When you’re ready for your iced tea latte, pour the cold brew tea over ice and add the vanilla syrup and the milk. It’s the perfect afternoon pick me up on a warm summer’s day.
Let us know your favourite way to drink a London Fog! Follow Grow Tea Company on Instagram and tag us in your tea stories!