Earl Grey Tea: flavor highlights
Easily one of the most iconic beverages out there, Earl Grey tea is synonymous with a full-bodied, refreshing cup of goodness. Yet, a little bit of research will show you that there isn’t just one magical recipe or form to this famous tea. In fact, an loose leaf Earl Grey can be fashioned out of any black or green tea, provided it is flavored with oil of bergamot. Oil of bergamot – a citrus fruit with sweet-sour notes varying between orangey and lemony – is what gives Earl Grey tea its classy, delectable flavor. Imagine a cup of strong black tea infused with uplifting floral and citrus notes, and you’ll know why Britain – and the rest of the world – has been addicted to Earl Grey for 200 years.
The history of Earl Grey tea
Though loose leaf Earl Grey tea is inseparably linked to British tea drinking traditions, its origins are older and further east. Since time immemorial, Chinese tea masters have crafted beautifully flavored teas by incorporating fragrant flowers and savory fruits into their tea leaves during the processing stage. The 2nd Earl of Grey, who also served as the Prime Minister of the UK in the early 19th century, was the lucky recipient of one such specially crafted brew prepared by a Mandarin tea master. As the story goes, the tea master scented the tea with bergamot oil to offset the lime-rich well water in Earl Grey’s Northumberland Estate. The resulting flavored tea was an instant hit in Earl Grey’s household, followed by London society, followed by the rest of the world that continues to relish it today.
What is Bergamot tea good for?
Any discussion about Earl Grey tea will start with references to its distinctive bergamot flavor. But bergamot lends more to your tea than just its uplifting floral notes. A cup of high-quality bergamot Earl Grey tea will bring you the health benefits of bergamot essential oil. These include relief from stress, anxiety, and a bunch of common aches and pains. Citrus bergamot tea has also been found to help with weight loss, improve digestion, reduce blood sugar levels, and keep your heart healthy. To make sure you actually get these benefits, check whether your pack of Earl Grey tea has real bergamot oil in it.
Tasting notes and reviews
Earl Grey tea makes a “rich and full-bodied” brew, with a “nice bouquet of notes.” Classic black tea versions blend “strong, invigorating” flavors with “a gentle bergamot essence.” They are “delicious hot with a little honey,” perfect for an early morning cuppa. Modern Earl Grey teas often feature green tea bases (or black and green tea blends), which make the tea “delicate,” “more complex and interesting.” Green tea based Earl Greys are generally milder and considered “ideal for a relaxed Saturday afternoon.” Floral additives such as jasmine or lavender are often added to make the tea more “nuanced” and “fragrant.”
A cup of strong black tea based Earl Grey can be paired with milk, cream, and vanilla to soften it. You can also try Earl Grey variants that feature lavender, jasmine, or orange peel. If you’re looking to primarily relish a subtle bergamot flavor, try Lady Grey or green Earl Grey tea.
6 best Earl Grey teas to buy online
We feature only the best tea brands and earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Earl Grey Darjeeling Green Tea
An impeccable blend of fresh green teas from Darjeeling, with the uplifting notes of Bergamot Oil. Our take of the original English cuppa with a blend of the best green teas sourced from the divine region of Darjeeling. Our Earl Grey Green tea brings together a mix of exquisite, mellow green teas with the joyous, uplifting notes of natural bergamot oil, a marvellous concoction! Discover a smooth golden liquor with the soothing notes of zesty lime and orange, and the signature undertones of fresh greens. The whole experience is enlivened by the sweet and appetising finish!
Lavender Earl Grey Tea
So full of fragrances, and with lavender that comes with its characteristic relaxing overtones. Blended with two of our favorite ingredients, bergamot and lavender, this version of the classic Earl Grey tea is hard to resist. The scents that rise from the cup transport you to an English garden in full bloom.
Malty, sweet, woodsy. A unique twist on a traditional favorite. Our London tea blend elicits sweet, fragrant floral notes followed by a rich citrusy finish. This organic lavender earl grey tea is a morning or afternoon delight.
Vanilla Creme Earl Grey
Vanilla Tea Classic. Delicious Vanilla Tea as a twist on a classic. We started by creating a fantastic loose leaf Earl Grey with a blend of Assam, Ceylon and Nilgiri teas seasoned with the oil of bergamot. Next, we added bits of vanilla bean and cornflower petals to round it off and bring you Vanilla Creme Earl Grey. Buy Vanilla Creme Earl Grey with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.Use 1 level tablespoon per cup of boiling filtered water and steep for 3 minutes. Throw in some steamed milk and rock sugar to make it a dessert.
Big Sur Tea
Cedar, honey, malty. This loose leaf organic black tea blend will transport you to California's majestic stretch of coastline with each sip. Big Sur is an organic tea blend that combines the creamy, woodsy flavors of citrus and french vanilla together with refreshing sweet notes of mint for the ultimate morning cup.
More tea, please!
Isabelle is a freelance writer, self-taught tea nerd, and tea blending enthusiast. She is a herbalist with a strong interest in Ayurveda. Each year Isabelle travels extensively, returning with tea samples from around the world. She is a big fan of handmade teaware and Japanese green teas.