Earl Grey Tea: What Is It?

For those of you reading this who have had the immense pleasure of tasting this delicious tea, you’ll know that it possesses a flavor like no other.

Earl Grey Tea: What Is It?

Deeply aromatic, full of gorgeous botanical notes, and an incredibly bold taste. No other tea really compares to Earl Grey. 

Those of you who have visited the UK will probably know that this is it’s country of origin. If you were to order something from an afternoon tea menu, you’d likely see Ear Grey placed proudly at the top of the list. 

In recent years, it’s been used more and more to infuse different dishes too. Recently, we ourselves made some Earl Grey cupcakes, which might I add, tasted absolutely scrumptious! 

So, if you want to know more about Earl Grey, including its backstory, the best way to prepare it, and some of the amazing health benefits, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look. 

Where Does Earl Grey Come From? 

As we covered before, the English are very proud of Earl Grey, as it’s become heavily associated with the country as a result of their great love of it.

But, what many of you might not be aware of is that Earl Grey doesn’t originate from England. Gasp!

Earl Grey tea, despite being popularly drunk in the country for centuries, is actually Chinese in origin. Chinese tea masters, many years ago, found unique ways to infuse their teas.

This is why you’ll find a whole range of different flavors in this particular tea itself, ranging from citrus notes to sweet lychee. 

The reason why Chinese tea masters were so eager to infuse their teas with different and unique flavors, is because it brought them an immense profit in the process.

Trade merchants from the west would go to the country seeking the most unique flavors to bring home to sell. These became increasingly sought after and revered in the UK. 

Earl Grey itself has quite an interesting backstory. It actually comes from the 19th century, when the 2nd Earl of Grey, and former Prime Minister of Britain had the tea specially made for him by a tea master from Mandarin. 

His wife was a particular lover of the tea, and when she would host, would refuse to serve any other type of tea. She exclusively offered her guests Earl Grey. We certainly wouldn’t have any complaints!

This tea eventually became so popular all across Britain, that the Earl’s wife asked British tea makers to recreate this unique tea. Twinings credit themselves as being the first to make the Westernized variety of this tea. 

What Ingredients Are Used To Infuse The Tea? 

Now that we’ve taken a brief look at the history behind Earl Grey tea, we can move on to discuss some of the ingredients that are used to infuse during the making process.

First and foremost, Earl Grey is a black tea, which means that it has a deep and rich taste. 

It has been made using the same plant as every other black tea, so if you thought the leaves in this tea were unique, not so much!

They’re actually incredibly common. The interesting thing about this tea, however, is the particular infusions that it employs. 

The ingredient that’s used to infuse Earl Grey tea is bergamot. Many people might think that this would provide the tea with an incredibly sweet taste, but this isn’t the case.

In fact, the bergamot gives the tea a delicious tartness that’s incomparable to anything else we’ve tried. 

Ultimately, it has an incredibly fragrant, and floral taste that makes it unique from any other tea on the market. 

How Is Earl Grey Tea Made? 

Some of you reading this article might be curious about how Earl Grey tea is actually made. The process is a little different from other teas on the market, and involves far more drying of the leaves. 

The leaves will undergo an extensive drying process, and this is conducted in different ways depending on the specific company making the tea. Some will be pan fried, and some will simply be roasted.

Those who have a deeper understanding of the different flavor notes may even be able to taste the subtle differences in the way the tea has been dried. 

The black tea is then withered, rolled, and finally oxidized. It is not until this process is complete that they’re then infused with the bergamot.

In order to infuse with bergamot, most companies will simply place essential oils on the leaves themselves. 

Others, however, will actually use small amounts of dried rinds, which are mixed in with the tea leaves. This helps to give the tea a more citrusy flavor, if so desired. 

How Do I Drink Earl Grey? 

So, how exactly are you supposed to drink Earl Grey tea, we hear you ask. Well, just like with any tea, although there is a way that’s considered to be ‘proper’, it’s really up to you and your personal preferences. 

In Britain, the tea is normally drunk black, with a tiny squeeze of lemon, and a teaspoon of sugar added into the mix. This is a great way to serve the tea if you’re looking to create an afternoon tea. 

If this isn’t your preferred way to drink tea, however, that’s absolutely fine, and there are a few other ways it can be consumed. 

In the UK, it was actually shown that a whopping 88 percent of Earl Grey drinkers preferred to have it with some milk added into this mix. This is also true for many American tea fans, who like to add in some milk and sugar. 

Or, if adding in extra items really isn’t your thing, then you can just enjoy it by itself without any additional ingredients. 

What Foods Should Be Served With Earl Grey Tea? 

In terms of the kinds of food to serve with your Earl Grey tea, we would initially like to suggest baked goods as the natural choice.

These can include breads, pastries, and cakes. Some of the very best cakes to enjoy with Earl Grey include those which have a citrus flavor added to the mix, such as lemon tarts. 

But, you can enjoy a wide variety of different sweet treats with Earl Grey tea, even chocolate has been suggested as an ideal pairing. 

Some tea experts have even suggested that dairy products make an ideal pairing, so think of items such as eggs and cheeses. Have fun experimenting with different items and see what you think. 

What About The Caffeine Content? 

Those of you who are familiar with tea will know that each of the different varieties have some level of caffeine in them. Black tea has marginally more than green tea, so it’s not the lowest in terms of caffeine content. 

You can expect your Earl Grey (and any kind of black tea for that matter) to contain approximately 15 – 60 mg of caffeine per cup.

Of course, we can’t tell you exactly how much you can expect to find in each, purely because the concentration will differ between each specific brand and company. 

Green tea has less of a caffeine content than black tea, coming in at approximately 25 – 40 mg of caffeine per cup. Again, the specific caffeine content will depend on the particular variety and brand. 

Coffee has far more caffeine than both black tea and green tea combined, with approximately 100 mg per cup.

It’s good to be mindful about how much caffeine you’re consuming on a daily basis, and many people don’t even realize that tea contains caffeine. 

Earl Grey Tea: What Is It?

Health Benefits Of Drinking Earl Grey Tea

Now that we’ve answered some questions to do with the ingredients and preparation of Earl Grey tea, we can move on to discuss some of the health benefits provided by drinking this tea. 

Many of you will be surprised to discover how many there are, and drinking Earl Grey on a regular basis could really serve to improve your health. In order to find out more, simply keep reading below. 

1. Could Aid In Weight Loss 

When it comes to weight loss, many people will drink coffee in order to fill themselves up. Coffee, however, as we mentioned briefly above, contains a great deal more caffeine than tea.

It therefore might be a good idea to replace your daily cup of coffee with a nice cup of Earl Grey instead. 

It has absolutely no calories whatsoever, so you don’t need to worry about indulging in a few a day. 

There has also been a lot of research that’s been conducted into the polyphenols in the tea. These are known for being a great aid in terms of weight loss by aiding your digestion and metabolism.

So, the next time you’re feeling peckish, pick up a cup of Earl Grey to help you through the day. 

2. Helps The Heart 

Another massive benefit provided by Earl Grey tea, is that it can aid the function of your heart.

Black tea in particular has been shown to lower blood pressure, so if this is something that you suffer with, or you just want to take some preventative measures, we’d recommend drinking a cup a day. 

Having lower blood pressure is known to reduce the risk of developing various different cardiovascular diseases, which can be life threatening, so the benefits are therefore significant. 

3. Lowers Cholesterol 

In addition to lowering blood pressure, it has also been proven to lower cholesterol levels. The LDL levels in particular, are lowered when you drink this tea, along with your total cholesterol levels too. 

Its effects have been described as being similar to those of cholesterol specifically designed to lower cholesterol. 

Having high cholesterol levels have been linked to narrowing of the arteries, stroke, and heart attack. Therefore, consuming a cup of Earl Grey each day can be highly beneficial. 

4. Antioxidants 

If you’ve been feeling under the weather, then consuming a cup of black tea might just be the trick to make you feel better. 

Apart from being incredibly soothing to drink, Earl Grey has been shown to have a whole host of different antioxidants, these, in turn, can help you to fight off a whole host of different diseases, strengthening your immune system in the process. 

5. Phytochemical 

There is an ingredient that’s been discovered in Earl Grey tea that has phytochemical properties. Phytochemical substances are known to reduce the risk of developing serious diseases such as cancer. 

Several studies have also shown that drinking this tea on a regular basis can help with issues related to bone density, such as osteoporosis.

So drinking this tea might help to reduce your risk of having these issues and conditions later in life. 

How To Store Earl Grey Tea

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the health benefits of Earl Grey tea, we can move on to discuss its storage.

So, if you’ve decided to take the plunge and purchase a box of Earl Grey tea, you’re probably wondering about the best way to store it so that it remains fresh. 

First and foremost, make sure that you’re always purchasing your tea from companies that are reputable. These companies will often give you specific instructions on the back of the jar or box, which tell you how to store your tea. 

Generally, you should always seek to keep your tea in a cool and dry space, such as a cabinet. This ensures that your tea stays as fresh as possible. If it’s stored somewhere too damp, it can actually become moldy. 

Generally, however, the good news is that black tea lasts far longer than green tea. It has a much longer shelf life, so you don’t need to worry about it going bad anytime soon.

We would recommend, however, that you pay attention to the sell by date on the back of the pack. 

Although properly stored black tea can’t go ‘bad’, per say, it can become bland and stale over time, completely losing its flavor in the process. So, if you want to get the most out of your tea, make sure you’re always reading the box. 

If you have loose tea leaves, then we’d recommend that you’re always placing them in an airtight container, such as a jar, so that they can stay as fresh as possible. 

Tips For Making The Best Cup Of Earl Grey Possible 

Now that we’ve taken a look at proper storage instructions, we can move on to discuss some tips and tricks you can employ to make the very best cup of Earl Grey possible.

There are a few things you can do that really elevate your tea drinking experience to the next level. 

1. Use Filtered Water 

If you want your tea to taste as fresh as possible, then we’d always recommend using pure spring water if you can. This will help to bring out the natural flavors of the tea more too. 

2. Steep The Tea 

Have you ever sat down to enjoy a favorite cup of tea, only to find that it’s bland and hasn’t got any flavor? This is likely because you haven’t steeped the tea properly before removing the leaves/bag. 

If you want to create the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea, then we would recommend steeping your tea leaves for a total of around 3 minutes.

You might not need to do it for this long, and we’d recommend checking in after two minutes and tasting your tea to see if it’s okay to drink. 

On the other hand, make sure that you’re not steeping your tea for too long, because this will mean that the flavors will become too rich and strong. The effect is a bitter taste. 

3. Pay Attention To The Amount Of Tea You’re Using 

Unless you’re using a bag of tea that’s already been prepared to be steeped, you’ll need to pay attention to the amount of tea that you’re using in each cup.

This isn’t just because of the caffeine content, but you want the maximum amount of flavor without overdoing it. 

If we were to recommend the amount of tea leaves to place in each pot, we would suggest roughly 2 grams of tea leaves for each 8 oz amount of water. This will help to give you the perfect cut. 

Final Thoughts 

Now that we have taken a look at all the ins and outs of Earl Grey, including its nutritional benefits, its history, and the best food pairings, you’re all set to try your first cup!

Make sure to store leaves in a cool dark place in an airtight container.

Joanne Baltimore
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