Afternoon Tea: Homemade London Fog Tea

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Because I live in the woods, I hadn't heard of London Fog Tea until I met up with my mom at the local coffee shop last week. Apparently it's been a staple on Starbucks and Caribou's menus for quite some time. Who knew? Oh, you did? As per usual, I am the last to know.

(For all of you would-be woods-dwellers, I want you to think long and hard before you move on up here about whether or not you are willing to deal with the fact that you may be the last person on Earth to hear about such things as London Fog Tea. It's not all loons and moons and woodfires up here; there are dire consequences that come from cutting yourself off from civilization.)

So anyway, I finally had a London Fog Tea. And it was amazing. Creamy and vanilla-y with enough tea in it to keep it from being cloying. It was so good that I decided I need to figure out how to make it at home. (Because I am not driving two hours round trip whenever I have a tea craving.) Since the only ingredients in London Fog Tea are Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup, I figured it couldn't be that hard to pull off. Happily, it's not!

I started off by making homemade vanilla syrup. I found this great list of homemade syrups for coffee drinks over at Annie's Eats and I used her vanilla syrup recipe. It takes all of 15 minutes to make (and only about 1 minute of actual hands-on time) and the recipe is an excellent use for the vanilla beans I bought on a whim last month. I store the syrup in the fridge in an empty maple syrup bottle.

The first time I made London Fog Tea at home, I attempted steaming the milk in the microwave. I quickly deemed this unnecessary. It was putzy and dirtied more dishes for a simple single-serving drink than seemed appropriate. I also really wanted the drink to be more tea-based than milk based.

After some trial and error, I've come up with a recipe that I've been brewing up every day around 3 p.m. to get myself through my mid-afternoon work slump. It's far from identical from what you'd be served if you ordered a London Fog Tea at a coffee shop because I scaled way back on the milk. If you're a lactose no-no, you can also leave the milk out all together. I did that this afternoon and it was still pretty tasty.

Recipe for Homemade London Fog Tea

1 tablespoon (or to taste) of vanilla simple syrup (Recipe here)
1 Earl Grey tea bag (Tazo is my favorite)
Approximately 8 oz. boiling water
1/4 cup milk

Place vanilla syrup and tea bag in the bottom of your favorite mug. Fill mug 3/4 of the way full with boiling water. Brew the tea for 3-5 minutes. (I find it's important to pay attention to how long you brew Earl Grey because if you let it steep for too long, the tea gets overwhelmingly perfume-y.) Add 1/4 cup of milk. Stir together. Enjoy!

This has just the right amount of caffeine and sugar to keep me focused and working hard on my daily to-do list until the work day draws to a close. If my attention's really lagging on a particular day, I'll pair the tea with some sliced apple to help keep me on track. Much better to take 5 minutes to make myself a snack than to find myself wandering over to Facebook and Pinterest for a pointless hour when I feel my focus slipping. 

What's your favorite afternoon pick-me-up?



  1. I never ever have heard of London Fog Tea either. And I am not even living in the woods. My tea however always looks foggy ;-) My afternoon pick me up? My first homemade fudge.

  2. Oh, yes, the marvelously velvety goodness of a London Fog... Mmmm Mmmm. I love them made with CREAM instead of milk so it's a good thing I don't have one every day!! I have also had it made with honey instead of the vanilla; it's called a Mist instead of Fog. how clever.

  3. I had not heard of this tea drink before either. But I can tell you I want some of that goodness!!

  4. It's funny, I went to a local coffee shop (well local to the area I visited I mean, about 45 min away from me though) and wanted a herba mate latte. She was a bit repulsed by my order and suggested an "earl grey latte". It was a London fog, complete with vanilla in it. Sooooo good and truly spoiled me. I think if it often! She used Rishi tea which I haven't found at a store and am too cheap to order online. So...I keep trying the so-so, comparatively, ones and dream of my first experience! Thanks for the syrup tip!


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