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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

70 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey Royal (Nr. 128)

One-litre pot at home, made from fine green and brown leaves of Darjeeling sprinkled with bergamot oil and flavour. Pours clear copper brown (against white china) with no sediment. Clear aroma of Darjeeling tea, with touches of bergamot oil and mild basement hints. Bitter, leafy flavour of Darjeeling, with touches of b...

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69 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey Decaf Tea Bags

My wife is trying to cut back caffeine intake, and had me include this offering in the latest virtual "Murchie's run" that we do a time or two per year. And being a big fan of both happy marriages and the $CAD---->$USD exchange rates the last few years, I did not object.

Now that I've tried the tea, I'm glad that I...

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72 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey Lady Violet ® (No. 935)

Half-litre pot at home, made from a sample included in the tea company's Advent Tea Calendar (2020) and consisting of fine leaves of black tea and cornflower blossom, all sprinkled with bergamot oil flavour. Pours clear amber (against white china) with no sediment. Clear aroma of black tea, with hints of bergamot oil. ...

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60 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey

Earl Grey from Twinings

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: ?????
Dec. 19th, 2020

I’m not an expert on earl gray. This may be the first I’ve ever had.

Prep: 200F, 5min, 2.5tsp, 16oz

Aroma - There is a ton of citrus exploding out of the cup. I can’t pick up much else, honestly.

Flavor: A little bit of orange peel, more orange zesty notes. It’s pretty hard to get to the actual tea....

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51 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey Decaffeinated Black Tea

Having not been either impressed nor repulsed by Bigelow's regular Earl Grey, and having not gotten any new teas to review for some months, and having to work down a stockpile of reviewed teas, I finally raided my wife's cache of the decaf version to try it for a report here. I've missed RateTea more than I've missed ...

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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
31
42 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

Picture of Earl Grey Decaffeinated Black Tea

Earl Grey Decaffeinated Black Tea

Brand:Bigelow Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Decaffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
100
3 Ratings
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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
Picture of Earl Greyer

Earl Greyer

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

Earl Grey Bravo

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

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Earl Grey Tea

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