All About Earl Grey Tea

what is earl grey black tea


Earl Grey tends to be polarizing. You might love it, hate it...or not know what it is. Earl Grey is a tea distinguished by it's signature bergamot flavor. Bergamot is a lesser-known citrus fruit from Italy, similar in taste to orange and lemon, but with underlying hints of flower and spice.

Any high quality Earl Grey tea will be flavored with a true bergamot oil extract, rather than artificial or natural flavors. It is traditionally made from black tea, such as Assam, Keemun, and/or Ceylon, although you may find more inventive variants that are green teas or herbal teas. While the British have popularized this particular tea, scented teas originated in China, the birthplace of all tea.

It's likely that Earl Grey originated in China as well, although the history of the blend is hazy. Old rumors say that a Chinese official presented the first Earl Grey tea as a gift to the 2nd Earl of Grey, Charles Grey, Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. The Earl had supposedly saved the man's son from drowning and the gift was given in thanks. There are several variants to this tale, and who knows how true the story is. Nevertheless, Earl Grey supposedly had the blend reformulated by a teamaker and that has given us tea and its name. 


Earl Grey is easily steeped liked most black teas: Simply steep in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes; remove tea and enjoy. (If it's loose leaf tea, save those leaves for another round.) But how do you take your Earl Grey? Plain (always a classic), with lemon and honey (draws out the citrusy notes), or even (gasp)... with milk??

This question is actually the cause of a little tea controversy. While black tea is often consumed with milk or cream, some tea purists say dairy and citrus don't go together. But even the Queen of England enjoyed a daily cup of Earl Grey and milk, so if you're partial to the British way, I think it's safe to say it's okay.


If you're a fan of the bergamot and milk combo, and also a fan of delicious beverages, why not give a steamed tea latte a try. One of the most delightful ways to drink Earl Grey is to make it a London Fog. Simply steep the tea on the strong side (boiling water, 5 minutes) then top with steamed milk and a drizzle of vanilla simple syrup. We even make our own twist on the London Fog using our popular Hazy Grey tea blendwe call it the Hazy Fog.

earl grey tea hazy grey tea

Potential Benefits of Drinking Earl Grey Tea

Energy booster: If you prefer a daily dose of caffeine, Earl Grey is a great option to boost your energy levels. It contains a moderate amount of caffeine, typically somewhere between a third to a half a cup of coffee.

Health benefits: Both bergamot and black tea contain polyphenols, antioxidants linked with a variety of health benefits, from heart health and brain health to digestion and reduced inflammation. Bergamot also contains flavanones, which may reduce the activity of cholesterol-producing enzymes in your body. 

Disclaimer: This is not health advice and should not be taken as such. Information on this blog and website are opinions and not statements of fact. Plants are potent and can have medicinal effects and impacts not stated herein. Consult your health care provider before consuming tea or making any changes to your diet, especially if you have a health condition, are pregnant, or are taking medication.