If you’re into your teas, you’ve definitely heard of Earl Grey. It’s like the go-to fancy tea at those upscale cafes or for serious tea lovers. But it’s not something you’d usually find in the average kitchen, right? These days, though, we’re all about experimenting with teas. Remember when green tea was this exotic thing? Now it’s everywhere.
So, what’s the deal with Earl Grey Tea? It’s this slightly exotic blend, super flavorful thanks to bergamot oil. It’s basically black tea jazzed up with the oil from bergamot rind. That’s what gives it that unique taste.
Back in the day, they used specific black teas, like Chinese Keemun, for Earl Grey. It’s not really a milk-friendly tea. But times change. Now, they often use stronger teas, like Ceylons, which actually go pretty well with milk or cream. And here’s a fun twist – blend it with lapsang souchong tea for a smoky vibe. And it’s not just black tea anymore; you’ve got green and oolong varieties too. Super versatile, right?
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Earl Grey Tea History
The first reference that one can find to bergamot dates flavoring tea dates back to 1824. However, that does not mention Earl Grey Tea particularly. Bergamots seemingly bettered the taste appeal of teas of low quality. However, this was not a good practice. So, in 1937, the concerned authorities charged a company for using bergamot that deceives the customer with a tea of lower grade.
Several theories show where Earl Grey Tea comes from. However, in this article, we will see the most probable and popular theory.
Charles Grey, Second Earl of Grey
Many believe that the British Prime Minister in the 1830s, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey is the figure behind this exotic Earl Grey blend or “Earl Grey’s Mixture”. However, there is one problem with this. The cases against bergamot were brought at a time when Earl Grey was nearing his death. Therefore, in his lifetime he must have known about them. So, even if he had tasted Earl Grey Tea, there are very few chances that he championed something so disreputable. However, there are still a few popular legends that link him to the tea.
According to one of the legends, a Chinese mandarin had offered this blend to the Earl in 1803 when one of the latter’s men had saved the drowning son of the former. However, this is quite improbable because Grey had never been to China.
As per another legend, it was probably a gift from some diplomat. So, this might be because of the slowly ending monopoly of the East India Company in trade between China and Britain.
However, the Grey family says that Lord Grey received this special blend from a Chinese mandarin. So, this was to suit the water at Howick Hall which is the family seat in Northumberland. Moreover, the use of bergamot was important to balance the high amounts of lime in the local water. Lady Grey would serve this to guests. However, the tea soon became so popular that they thought of commercializing it. So, this is how Twinings as a brand brought Earl Grey Tea to the market.
Jacksons of Piccadilly
However, Jacksons of Piccadilly believe that they had started this tea because Lord Grey had shared the original recipe with George Charlton. Moreover, the latter was then a partner at Robert Jackson & Co., back in the 1830s. This original recipe includes Chinese black tea which they have been using since then. Moreover, they believe they have always owned the original one.
Earl Grey Tea Twinings
Twinings is arguably the pioneer brand of Earl Grey Tea. Over the years, the brand has grown and launched many variations along with the classic taste of the black Earl Grey Tea. Moreover, the tea with bergamot still has very strong reactions. So, you can find this extremely popular brand on various online shopping sites. Moreover, you can find it on Amazon which will transport it to you no matter where in the world you are.
Earl Grey Tea Bags
So, Earl Grey Tea, as we have already seen, is made of black tea. Therefore, this is black tea and quite heavy. So, only nylon tea bags can bear their leaves. Coming to tea bags, there are a lot of options available. Tea bags are more beneficial than direct tea leaves because they make making tea easy and without any hassle. Moreover, they are also great for travel. All you need is a tea bag, some hot water, and sugar or milk if you may. However, there are various brands out there in the market. Following is a list that shows you which ones are the best amongst them.
- Stash Earl Grey Black Tea will be the best one currently available. So, it has a strong black tea taste with a beautifully blended flavor of citrus fruits. Moreover, within only three minutes of its brewing, it produces a really strong tea. However, it is not bitter. So, you can find it at Walmart only for 3.99 bucks.
- Next in line is Tazo Earl Grey Black Tea. If you are looking for a lemony age to your tea than heavy bergamot, then this one is for you. So, you can find it at Target for 3.39 bucks.
- TeaTwinings of London Earl Grey Black Tea is the most decaffeinated version of the tea that you can find now. So, you can get it at Walmart for 3.32 bucks.
- O Organics Earl Grey Tea, as per experts, is the most organic tea. Moreover, it is also the most affordable one among the best options. So, you can get it at Safeway for only 2.99 bucks.
Earl Grey Tea Online
In today’s highly technologically advanced world, it is difficult to even imagine something that the web cannot provide. So, online shopping is one of them which also includes grocery shopping. You can always depend on popular sites like Amazon to browse through and pick up your favorite brand of Earl Grey Tea amongst many national and international brands that come in a wide range of costs. However, if you are a tea connoisseur, you might want to check out special websites on tea to get a curated or handpicked version of the Earl Grey Tea that you are looking for.
Earl Grey Tea Price
The prices of the various brands of Earl Grey Tea vary widely. As we have already seen it can be 3 to 4 bucks every 20 tea bags. So, it can be more or less than that depending on whether you are looking for bags or cans and the quality of the brand that you are opting for. Therefore, check your taste preferences and buy the one you prefer the most. However, loose tea leaves in cans will cost you less.
Earl Grey Tea Price in India
The Earl Grey Tea prices in India also vary widely. So, different brands cost you differently. For example, 100 tea bags of Twining Earl Grey Tea will cost you around 955 Rupees (on Amazon). On the other hand, 100 grams of loose tea from Twinings only will cost you around 575 Rupees (on iHerb). However, you can find tea bags of this one at prices as low as 155 Rupees for 25 tea bags from Ty-Phoon available on Amazon. Moreover, go through various sites like Big Basket, Grofers, Wellcurve, Meesho, Society Tea, and others to get the best deals on your favorite brands. However, the costs can gradually increase depending on the brands and quality of tea you choose.
Earl Grey Tea Benefits
So, Earl Grey Tea is not just a posh beverage or something you drink for the aesthetics or just for the sake of drinking it. Hence, this tea has several benefits that you might have no idea about. To begin with, Earl Grey Tea is great for stress relief. It soothes and calms you down. Moreover, since many versions are decaffeinated, they can be much healthier alternatives to coffee. However, it does not just give relief from stress but also fights anxiety and depression. So, this is because of the bergamot that can elevate your mood with its aromatherapy capacities. Moreover, even if not as strong as coffee, it can still be an energy drink.
One of its lesser-known benefits is that it helps in digestion. So, it can tackle painful digestion and even intestinal problems naturally to some extent. Moreover, it is also good for your teeth because it contains catechin. So, catechin is a great antioxidant that helps to fight various oral infections. Moreover, it also contains fluorides that help to fight the teeth against cavities and decay.
Prevention to diseases
However, there are even more striking things. So, because of the antioxidants, the tea can fight off free radicals that cause diseases like Cancer. Therefore, it helps to prevent cancer to some extent. Moreover, the citrus extracts help you to be healthy and lose unwanted weight. So, try avoiding cream or milk with your tea and go for lemon juice instead! Moreover, as per a 2012 study, antioxidants can even help to prevent major heart diseases if you drink the tea in proper quantities. Along with these, the tea can also give relief to colds because bergamot is a natural remedy for the common cold.
Finally, it keeps you hydrated. However, this is not because you take it with water but because it has high potassium content that maintains the body’s fluid balance.
Earl Grey Tea Is Flavored With?
So, as we have already seen, the key flavor in Earl Grey Tea is citrus extracts that come with a lot of benefits. Therefore, it is a black tea that has infusions of bergamot orange. So, the rind of the bergamot orange is at first dried. Therefore, this is then added to black tea leaves. Hence, the resultant mixture is Earl Grey Tea. However, some blends also utilize the oil that can be extracted from the orange rind.
Earl Grey Tea Cake
So yes, you can put Earl Grey Tea into baking as well. However, while baking you might want to be as dark as possible because that would mean more capacity to bolder the flavors. To put it in simple words, an Earl Grey based on black tea will be able to bear stronger flavors such as a choco cookie or a maple scone. Moreover, fruity and grass or herb-like greens will get along better with more citrus or floral flavors that are much more light.
How To Make Earl Grey Tea
There are a few easy steps that you can follow to properly brew Earl Grey Tea.
Step 1: Boiling cold water
As per Twinings’, it is always better if you use filtered, fresh, and cold water and boil it in a kettle. So, this gives the necessary oxygen to the tea to build the flavor properly. Moreover, it is best if you can use an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting. So, set it right below the boiling point at 206 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, you can also warm the water up in a microwave oven. However, it is always better to boil it.
Step 2: Warming up the teapot
Now pour the water that you have boiled right now inside the kettle. So, swish it a little. Having done this, let the water go. This warming up of the teapot is important because it will allow your tea to build the best flavor as it will unfurl inside the brew. Moreover, it keeps the tea warm and prevents it from getting cold.
Step 3: Putting the tea into a teapot with the addition of hot water
So, Twinings’ will always ask you to “never pour boiling water over a tea bag or loose tea.” Therefore, this is because the boiling water will burn the tea. So, it will scald it and you will never be able to enjoy the maximum flavors.
Step 4: Covering of the teapot and steeping for 3 to 5 minutes.
For black tea, you need to steep it for around 3 to 5 minutes. So, Earl Grey Tea is a kind of black tea and as per experts, you can steep it for around 4 minutes. However, you might want your tea to be strong. So, for this, use more tea leaves than steeping them longer. This is because if you brew the tea excessively it will get bitter instead of being strong.
Step 5: Straining of the tea leaves and pouring of the tea into a cup.
So now your tea is ready. Therefore, pour the strained tea into a teacup. Hence, your tea is ready now. Now as per your choice, you can add lime juice, milk, or cream. Moreover, you can also add sugar as per your liking.
Finally, serve or enjoy it with a cookie or some baked delicacies.
Earl Grey Tea FAQs
Is it okay to drink Earl Grey Tea every day?
Yes, it is okay for most people if you take it in moderate amounts. However, if you go off the limits, it might get bad. So, you might end up having muscular cramps, caffeine jitters, and your body will reduce its ability to absorb iron.
How long should you leave Earl Grey Tea?
So, ideally, Earl Grey Tea is a variety of black tea. Therefore, the steeping time for black time is between 3 to 5 minutes. Hence, a fair balance in steeping time of Earl Grey Tea is 4 minutes. However, some argue it might need a full 5 minutes to steep. So, this is roughly the time the tea will need to develop the beautiful flavors of the citrus orange. However, do not go beyond 5 minutes or your tea will be better. Follow the section “How to make Earl Grey Tea” to know the entire process of brewing it.
How much Earl Grey Tea can I drink in a day?
So, Earl Grey Tea contains antioxidants that are great for our bodies as we have already seen. It also helps to release stress. Therefore, for the best results, try not to have more than 2 to 4 cups every day. Excess intake might end in a lot of other issues as well like reduced sleep or painful cramps. However, if you drink tea very frequently, you might want to go ahead with the decaffeinated or least caffeinated varieties TeaTwinings of London Earl Grey Black Tea.
Can you put milk in Earl Grey Tea?
So technically pure Earl Grey Tea is a black tea that is very light. Therefore, you should not be using milk. Hence, the British would never use milk but use lemon and sugar which is healthier as well. However, brands have developed stronger versions also over the years. So, you can intake them with milk or cream as Americans do.
Does Earl Grey Tea keep you awake?
No, Earl Grey Tea will not keep you awake because it has very little caffeine which acts as a stimulant. On the other hand, the citrus flavors will soothe your nerves, relax your body, release your stress and bring you to sleep.
Can you drink Earl Grey Tea cold?
So yes, you can brew it cold to take as iced tea. However, experts would always suggest you take it hot. This is because the temperature brings out the best of the flavors.
How many times can you steep Earl Grey Tea?
So, the first time you steep Earl Grey Tea, it will give you a really strong taste. However, as you steep it more, the taste becomes milder and more distinct. You can do this 2 to 3 times. So then you can re-steep back around 3 times to prevent the tea from losing much of its flavor.