Dear Canadians: It’s Not Called ‘The Earl Grey Tea’

Have you ever heard someone refer to Earl Grey Tea is “The Earl Grey Tea?” 

There’s a very specific reason for that, and it’s kind of interesting how it came to be…

Let’s start with a quick lesson about Canada. In Canada, they have two national languages, English and French. As such, any packaged products in Canada must have both national languages on them.

International brands often have to print a different label for products coming to Canada as opposed to those destined for the United States or elsewhere. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of adding a stick or an extra insert to an English product to include French information, other times they’ll make an entirely new label.

As a side note, we’ve put together a list of the best Earl Grey Tea brands that are worth sipping on if you’re looking to try something new!

In the example below, you can see there’s just a little sticker that says “THÉ“.

Alright, with that backstory out of the way, what does that have to do with Earl Grey?

Earl Grey, being the proper name of something, stays the same whether it’s in English or French.

The word “tea” in French is “thé”, so you can probabally see how this is all started to come together.

“Earl Grey Tea” in French is called “Thé Earl Grey”. So, when tea companies package their Earl Grey for sale in Canada, they’ll simply print “Earl Grey” once, with “Thé” infront and “Tea” after.

As such, at quick glance, if you read the label it looks like it’s called “The Earl Grey Tea”, but you’re actually just seeing the name in both languages at once, merged into one. French people read it as “Thé Earl Grey”, English people read it as “Earl Grey Tea”, and adorable people think it’s called “The Earl Grey Tea”.

Interestingly enough, on the Twinings Tea pictured above, there are many other languages on the packaging as well as references to countries it was imported into, however no mention of French, or Canada, which seems contrary to Canada’s requirement of having things in both languages – perhaps there’s some kind of loophole or something that excludes this from being necessary? Typically you’d find everything, including preparation instructions, ingredients, and any other information in both languages on most Canadian products.