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Earl Grey Tea

Wikipedia: Earl_Grey_tea | Teaviews: earl-grey-tea 
Last Updated: Sep. 17, 2015 

About Earl Grey Tea

Loose-leaf Earl grey tea from Lipton. Public domain photo by Chamaeleon, Wikimedia Commons.
Earl Grey tea is a black tea flavored with oil from the peel of the bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia). The tea is named after Charles Grey, a prime minister of the UK who was a member of the Whig party.

Most Earl Grey tea is made, as it was historically, with black tea, typically a Ceylon. Recently, as green and black teas have increased in popularity, green and white varieties have also become available. This style has even inspired Earl Grey rooibos, a caffeine-free herbal blend produced by substituting rooibos for tea.

Earl Grey tea has a strong and distinctive aroma that renders it easily recognizable as its own style, regardless of what variety of tea is used as a base. Many different varieties of black tea are used as the base for this tea. The amount of bergamot oil used also varies widely, ranging from blends where bergamot dominates the aroma to teas with only a hint of bergamot.

Earl Grey tea is a favorite of Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The bergamot orange

Cross-Section of a Bergamot Orange, © Jacopo Werther, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Although tea enthusiasts generally know that Earl Grey is flavored with the Bergamot orange, deeper knowledge of this variety of orange is not common in the world of tea. The Bergamot orange is likely a hybrid of Citrus limetta (Mediterranean sweet lemon) and Citrus × aurantium (Bitter orange), which is itself a hybrid.[1]

This orange is mostly cultivated in south Italy, mostly concentrated in a very small stretch of land in Reggio Calabria. Other regions of production include Ivory Coast, southern France, and Antalya Province of Turkey. For Earl Grey tea production, the peel of the orange is pressed and the essential oil extracted; this oil is then used to flavor tea.

The fruit flesh itself is used in marmalade, and the juice is used for medicinal purposes, but not drunk as a beverage.

"Wild bergamot", Monarda sp.

Flowers of Monarda didyma. Photo by Nellswiki, licensed under CC BY 3.0.
The bergamot orange is not closely related to the "bergamot" plants (Monarda sp.), "wild bergamot", "Oswego tea", or "bee balm", which are all native to North America and in the mint family. These plants, however, have a very similar aroma, and make excellent herbal teas.

These herbs can also be blended with black tea to yield a flavored tea closely resembling Earl Grey tea. The variety on the right, Monarda didyma, is sometimes called Scarlet Bergamot for its scarlet blooms. This species was used as a substitute for black tea following the Boston Tea Party.[2]

Health benefits and concerns unique to Earl Grey tea

Earl Grey is a black tea and thus has similar effects on health to other black teas. However, oil of bergamot also has other bioactive properties and may have other health benefits. Although it has not been extensively studied, some preliminary research shows that it may have neuroprotective effects, protecting the brain against damage caused by a chemical known to damage neurons.[3] Like other citrus though, it may cause photosensitivity. Bergamot also contains one of the compounds responsible for grapefruit drug interactions, so it may also cause similar interactions.

References:

1. C.T. Federici, M.L. Roose, R.W. Scora, RFLP Analysis of the Origin of Citrus bergamia, Citrus jambhiri, and Citrus limonia, Acta Horticulturae (ISHS), 535, pp. 55-64, 2000.


2. Foster S, and Johnson R, Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine, National Geographic, Washington, DC, 2006. (p. 34-35).


3. M.T. Corasaniti et. al., Cell signaling pathways in the mechanisms of neuroprotection afforded by bergamot essential oil against NMDA-induced cell death in vitro, British Journal of Pharmacology, Vol. 151, No. 4, pp. 518-529, June 2007.

Recent Earl Grey Reviews — RSS rss icon

87 / 100
Picture of Aromatic Earl Grey

Aromatic Earl Grey from Ahmad Tea

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: Blend
Aug. 14th, 2020

I'm not sure if this is actually different than plain "Earl Grey." According to the Ahmad US website, "Aromatic Earl Grey has a slightly lower dosage of bergamot when compared to Earl Grey," but the Aromatic Earl Grey is only sold in large containers (454g or 500g) and the largest Earl Grey package is 250g. The UK webs...

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76 / 100
Picture of Duchess Grey

Duchess Grey from Williamson Tea

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: Kenya
Jul. 30th, 2020

Inside the box, the fifty round, tagless teabags are stacked in a sealed Mylar pouch. They're not individually wrapped.

Upon opening the pouch for the first time, the citrus aroma is wonderful and intense. The teabags themselves appear to be sprayed with citrus oil (presumably bergamot, but it smells a bit sweeter t...

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45 / 100

Earl Grey from Mountain Rose Herbs

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: India
Jul. 4th, 2020

This earl grey had the strangest green unripe taste. I wasn’t a fan which is disappointing since I had high hopes after trying their Assam.

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85 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey Blue Flower

I was blown away by this when I first tried it, but a little less so now. Btw it has a slight name and number change: it is now Blue Flower Earl Grey, NT16. The use of flowers and flavoring adds a unique and refreshing twist to the Earl Grey model. The base tea is fairly light, and I think they have reduced the inte...

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80 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey

Earl Grey from Twinings

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: ?????
Apr. 17th, 2020

I must confess this tea was like a sort of introduction for me to the world of teas. I used to have it as a child on Sunday afternoons by my father. We had it strong and with plenty of sugar.

I'd say that this tea offers a very respectable value for money. In my area, it can be found easily (even in not specialized ...

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Most-Rated Earl Grey

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Earl Grey

Brand:Twinings
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
27
40 Ratings
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Earl Grey

Brand:Bigelow Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
17
22 Ratings
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Aged Earl Grey™ - Bergamot Black

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
60
11 Ratings
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English Afternoon

Brand:Ahmad Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
42
7 Ratings
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Earl Grey Decaffeinated

Brand:Twinings
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Decaffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
4
7 Ratings

Top-Rated Earl Grey

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Sapphire Earl Grey Tea

Brand:Novus Tea
Style:Blue Flower Earl Grey
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
80
5 Ratings
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English Tea No. 1

Brand:Ahmad Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
76
5 Ratings
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Earl Greyer

Brand:Republic of Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
73
6 Ratings
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Earl Grey Bravo

Brand:Adagio Teas
Style:Blue Flower Earl Grey
Region:Sri Lanka / Ceylon
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
62
5 Ratings
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Aged Earl Grey™ - Bergamot Black

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Assam, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
60
11 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Earl Grey Tea

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