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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

69 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey Supreme (Teabags)

Earl Grey Supreme (Teabags) from Harney and Sons

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: Blend
Jul. 25th, 2018

Like the other standard tea bags from H&S, the tea is chopped very fine. Dry, it smells strongly of the bergamot oil, but there's also a maltiness from the tea. It's not strong, but it's a step up from many Earl Grey teas.

Adding the water unexpectedly mutes the aroma. The citrus fades to the background and the tea...

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85 / 100
Picture of Special Blend with Earl Grey

Special Blend with Earl Grey from Ahmad Tea

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: Blend
Jul. 15th, 2018

The dry tea is quite broken and smells almost like Froot Loops. Unlike most Earl Greys, though, the aroma of the tea is discernible beneath the bergamot.

The brewed tea smells mostly of malt and bergamot. The tea tastes more bitter and astringent than I expected. Based on Ahmad's other teas, I was expecting the blen...

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63 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey

Earl Grey from Bigelow Tea

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: Blend
Jul. 13th, 2018

The dry tea smells strongly of bergamot. There's no hint of other flavors, citrus or otherwise, that other brands sometimes add.

Adding water really doesn't change much. I smell bergamot and a weak hint of dry leaves. The flavor's more balanced than I would have expected, though. The underlying black tea is mellow, ...

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70 / 100
Picture of Earl Grey

Earl Grey from Twinings

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: ?????
Jun. 26th, 2018

Prep – 2 tea bags (4 grams) in 18 ounces 200° F. water for 4 minutes. Added 2 ounces ice. No sugar. No milk.
Aroma – moderate bergamot (3/5)
Flavor – very flavorful black tea (4/5). Good for breakfast.
Value – $3.19 for 40 gram box of 20 bags = $2.26 per ounce – high value

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90 / 100
Picture of Extra Bergamot English Earl Grey

This has a little more bergamot than your average earl grey, but it is not overwhelming - it is still within the normal range for an EG. I find this to be a very good tea, nice with lemon (which is my favorite way to take EG), and possessing a pleasant aroma. It is not my favorite EG from Upton, but it is one of the ...

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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
68
35 Ratings
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Earl Grey

Brand:Bigelow Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
70
20 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
80
9 Ratings
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English Afternoon

Brand:Ahmad Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
58
7 Ratings
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Earl Greyer

Brand:Republic of Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
86
6 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
87
5 Ratings
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English Tea No. 1

Brand:Ahmad Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:Blend
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
87
4 Ratings
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Earl Greyer

Brand:Republic of Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
86
6 Ratings
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Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea

Brand:Stash Tea
Style:Earl Grey Tea
Region:?????
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
81
3 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
80
9 Ratings

Varieties, Kinds, or Types of Earl Grey Tea

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