A Royal Affair:
Crowning the Best Earl Grey Tea
Earl Grey tea is probably one of the most popular teas – after black tea, of course – in the West. Despite this, not every brand gets this type of tea right.
In fact, due to its rather distinct flavor, you do have to be careful about the brand you buy. Else, you might find yourself with an unpleasant mug of tea in your hand.
Well, have no fear tea lovers as this is unlikely to happen to you after reading this post. If you want to discover what the best Earl Grey tea is, your answers lie here...
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A Brief History of Earl Grey Tea
No thanks, take me to the Best Earl Grey Teas
Earl Grey tea may be one of the better known drinks among tea lovers in the world.
Though associated with England, its beginnings, however, are shrouded in mystery.
The truth is that no one is quite sure how this particular kind of black tea came about.
There are plenty of theories, nonetheless.
One thing that is for sure, though, is that the tea is named after Charles Grey - one-time British Prime Minister.
Is It a Brand or Blend?
Another point that tea drinkers are confused about is what category Earl Grey tea falls under. Is it a true tea, flavored tea, herbal tea, type of tea, or is it a specific label produced by a particular company?
Well, it falls into a few different categories.
The base of Earl Grey is a true tea - black tea - not a herbal tea. However, it is technically a flavored tea. Here's the catch, though - there isn't such a thing as a classic Earl Grey tea in the tea industry. Despite the noble association, no one really has a claim to this black tea. There isn't a set ratio of black tea to a certain amount of bergamot, even!
However, Twinings did receive permission permission from one of the Earls to use his signature on their Earl Grey teas.
So, if there is no classic Earl Grey, how do you know you are getting the real deal? Well, you can't - you simply have to find a way to select the finest black tea with bergamot oil instead.
The Types of Earl Grey
Before you set out on a search for the best Earl Grey tea leaves, you should know that there are several types to select from.
- Lady Grey: a blend of Earl Grey with blue cornflower blossoms.
- Russian Grey: Earl Grey with the addition of citrus peel
- Earl Green: made with green tea
- Lord Grey: flavored with lavender flowers or rose petals.
The Health Benefits of Earl Grey Tea
There are several health benefits associated with Earl Grey:
May Promote Dental Health
There is evidence to show that this tea could improve your overall oral hygiene. It can fight off infections while also reducing the risk of cavities as well. The fluoride in the drink could potentially prevent tooth decay too.
Could Boost Heart Health
One of the more useful health benefits of this tea is that it could help with your cardiovascular system. It is possible that Earl Grey teas can lower triglyceride levels and boost good cholesterol. In doing so, it could reduce your risk of heart disease.
Could Prevent Cancer
Earl Grey tea contains antioxidants. The role of antioxidants is to fight free radicals that can damage cells and tissues. In doing so, your risk of developing certain kinds of cancer is reduced. Needless to say, this is certainly one of the better health benefits associated with this drink.
It is estimated that a single dose of Earl Grey has a caffeine content between 55 and 90mg. As you are aware, caffeine makes you alert and provides you with an impressive energy boost. There is also potential for it to boost brain function as well. This is just one reason while Earl Grey black tea is a great breakfast tea.
May Help with Weight Loss
There are two main components in Earl Grey that can aid with fat loss. The first is the caffeine. The second is the citrus fruit. So, drinking it daily could help you to burn calories and drop a few pounds.
Could Help with Stress Relief
As you may already be aware, citrus overtones are excellent for boosting your mood. It is almost like they have aromatherapy qualities. And, since bergamot oil falls into the citrus fruits family, it is quite capable of making you feel uplifted. Scientists have also discovered that bergamot essential oil can impact the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, it can make you feel calmer as well.
May Promote Mental Wellness
Bergamot oil has been found to have a calming effect on people. As such, it could help individuals suffering from anxiety or depression to feel better.
If you suffer from indigestion or nausea or even a worm infection Earl Grey tea blends could provide you with relief. Also, in general, the bergamot oil does help to keep your digestive system and digestion going smoothly. In general, this blend can help to improve your overall immune system.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Clearly Earl Grey teas have several health benefits, but do they have adverse issues as well?
Well, the black tea in Earl Grey - as with all true teas like oolong - contain caffeine. So, drink too much and you could experience jitters, irritability, and sleep problems.
Your best course of action, here, would be to moderate your consumption or opt for a decaf Earl Grey. Perhaps stick to two or three cups of Earl Grey a day.
How to Select the Best Earl Grey Tea Brands
If you really want to select premium Earl Grey tea blends, you have to first know what to consider when selecting a good brand. This way, even if you decide to wander off the chosen path when it comes to brands, you still have a pretty high chance of getting it right.
Let’s take a peek at the factors that you need to pay the most attention to when selecting Earl Grey:
The Black Tea
As you are well aware, the tea base of Earl Grey blend is black tea leaves. So, here is what you should know about choosing the the best Earl Grey tea.
It is important to determine where the black teas in your Earl Grey come from.
More often than not, it is ideal if the leaves are sourced from China, India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), or Kenya. This increases the likelihood of the leaves being of a higher quality.
You should be aware, that the taste of the black tea leaves can vary depending on where they are sourced. For instance, Ceylon teas tend be bold, fuller, and quite brisk. If the teas are sourced from regions such as Kandy, you can expect a certain malty flavor.
On the other hand, Assam tea leaves from India may have a fuller body, with malty undertones. The Chinese black teas, however, will possibly be lighter, have more floral undertones.
Another element to be aware of is single origin black teas. Here, the tea leaves are all sourced from a single country such as Sri Lanka. The benefit of this blend of black tea is that produces a far more cohesive taste.
You should also examine the black tea leaves in Earl Grey to determine if they meet the following criteria:
•Long, uncut leaves
All of these elements are indicators of a better quality of black tea. In particular, they give you some idea of how the tea is made. Naturally, your mug of Earl Grey tea will taste a great deal better as well.
So, with a loose leaf tea blend don't be afraid to handle the leaves or even take a whiff of the aroma.
This criteria becomes especially important when selecting tea bags. Keep in mind that, in many instances, manufacturers will use tea dust or fannings in the blends. Needless to say, this makes for an astringent drink.
To ensure that your brew tastes as good as it possibly can, watch out for higher quality tea bags. These will make all the difference. An additional reason to pay attention to the tea blend - a higher quality often signifies greater health benefits.
If you don’t mind doing some research, you should also look into how the black tea blend for your Earl Grey is made.
The leaves that undergo careful selection and processing steps tend to produce better teas.
And you will discover that certain properties such as floral notes, full-bodied texture, and malty flavors are preserved well too.
Better known or quality conscientious brands are often rather open about their methods and how their tea is blended. So, to be on the safe side, opt for one that can walk you through the exact tea production techniques. Not to mention, they can assure you of their quality control as well.
The Resulting Color
Another helpful hint to determine a premium black tea is to consider the color of the brew.
After being steeped for an appropriate amount of time, the water should take on a deep red or amber hue. Anything else may signal poor tea blends.
The other important ingredient in Earl Grey tea blend is bergamot.
What you have to understand here is, that the black tea is blended with different kinds of bergamot essence.
Some Earl Grey tea blends have flavor added to them via the bergamot orange peel.
Here, the skins are simply added to the leaves, allowing the aroma to infiltrate the black tea.
Oil of Bergamot
Then there is the bergamot oil.
Oils are a more popular flavoring process for Earl Grey blends. Even then, there is more than one kind of bergamot extract used for the tea. The most genuine citrus effect is created by the oil of bergamot being infused with the tea leaves.
For a truly authentic Earl Grey experience, though, you will need to ascertain that the manufacturer has used Italian bergamot oil from Southern Italy. These oils are presumed to produce the highest grade of Earl Grey tea.
Now, in an attempt to lower prices, some brands have used synthetic bergamot oil rather than the real deal. This isn't the oil of bergamot at all. Rather, it is more of a bergamot extract. The citrus flavor is evident, but extracts have a slight synthetic feel to it. While this may work well enough for some people, it doesn’t really offer up an authentic taste for your Earl Grey tea blends.
So, if you want to get an unsurpassed citrus flavor, then look for Earl Grey tea blends with natural oil of bergamot.
One more point that you should be aware is that bergamot oil produces a fruitier citrus flavor.
If you prefer a sharper citrus taste on your tongue, choose Earl Grey tea blends that have been infused with bergamot orange skin. A way to determine the strength of the notes is to consider the boldness of the fragrance.
Reading the Ingredient List
Technically, Earl Grey tea should only consist of black tea and oil of bergamot or bergamot oranges skin. Nevertheless, there are some brands that will add other ingredients as well.
To start with, some Earl Grey brands may use other blends like oolong. They may also include emulsifiers such as soy lecithin or certain preservatives. It is best to steer clear of these. All of these have added components that will only dilute or distort the flavor of the Earl Grey tea.
Finding the Right Fit for You
The point to remember is that there is no gold standard for Earl Grey.
This is why there is quite so much discrepancy from one tea label to another. Thus, don't give up on this tea just because you have had one or two disappointing experiences.
Instead, experiment as much as you can with Earl Grey teas.
Of course, this can be a rather time-consuming and expensive endeavor. So, you can go ahead and read reviews of the top teas instead.
Before doing so, though, you should make a note of what flavors you are looking for with your Earl Grey.
For instance, do you prefer a full-or are you body tea or are you someone who enjoys a milder cup, perhaps with a hint of floral notes or sweetness? As for the citrus flavor, do you prefer something with a fruitier taste or a sharper fragrance profile. Once you have narrowed your preferences down, you will find it far easier to find a quality Earl Grey. In short, pick something that tantalizes your senses.
Brewing Your Tea
Now, good Earl Grey tea isn't just about how the tea is blended. Did you know that how your tea is made can effect the overall taste?
This is why you need to brew Earl Grey properly. To start with, try to use spring water - or filtered water at the very least.
Then, make sure that you take it off the heat before it reaches the boiling point.
When making Earl Grey, don't use boiling water - pour hot water into the teapot instead.
Since each loose leaf and tea bag variety can be different, it is important to follow the steeping instructions provided by each one.
How to Drink Earl Grey Tea
For the most part, classic Earl Grey tea blends are enjoyed by itself.
If you are looking for a boost in flavor, you could try adding a slice of lemon or a splash of lemon juice. This should help to increase the overall lemony depth of the drink.
These days, though, Earl Grey tea is made with milk as well. This is despite the fact that the tea contains citrus flavors. If you add steamed milk and vanilla, it is known as a London fog or London fog latte. The addition of milk is a personal choice. Some people enjoy it while others find that it takes away from the original notes.
Depending on your taste buds, you can also add a teaspoon or two of sugar for sweetness as well.
The Top Earl Grey Teas
Now, for the moment of truth! To make it even easier to select the top Earl Grey brands, we have divided them up into three separate classes – loose leaf, tea bags, and organic tea.
We have also taken the initiative to offer up three distinctive categories. Thus, regardless of whether you are looking for a premium or budget choice for Earl Grey tea, we have you covered.
We have even included the Earl Grey tea that we, personally, liked the most.
Best Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea
Let’s start with a list of the top loose leaf Earl Grey tea brands.
Good Quality : the teas are sourced from the company’s own estates in India and China. This sets a delicious tea base for the beverage.
Naturally Sourced Bergamot: not only does this blend use the real deal, but it also sources it from Italy. Thus, this is one of the more authentic options on the market.
Consistent Taste: this is a brand that will ensure that your cup of Earl Grey tea will taste the same, time and time again.
Slightly Mellow: the taste of this black tea blend can be a little mellow. So, if you want something stronger, you will need to keep searching.
Brisk Flavor: the tea leaves from India and Kenya ensure that you get a vibrant and deliciously flavored tea base that is perfect for all times of the day.
Good Leaf Size: the leaf size is quite impressive here. This allows for the tea flavor to diffuse effectively in the water, creating a more delicious tea.
Good Quantity: you actually get quite a lot with this container and it should last you a while, even if you are a frequent Earl Grey tea drinker.
Bergamot Flavoring: the tea uses flavoring instead of the actual oil. This does take away from the overall authenticity of the drink.
Single Source Tea: the black tea in this blend are all sourced from high-quality tea estates. This ensures that you get a more robust body with a consistent and malty flavor.
Bold Bergamot Flavor: the flavor of the bergamot is very evident with every sip. Thus, if you love the taste of bergamot, then you will definitely enjoy this brand.
Well-Preserved Flavor: the flavor is incredibly well-preserved. So, when it arrives, you can enjoy the full spectrum of flavors.
Strong Bergamot Taste: this tea’s strength can also be a disadvantage to some tea drinkers. If you prefer a milder taste, then you may not appreciate what this brand has to offer.
Best Earl Grey Tea Bags
If you want a quicker or more effective way to make your Earl Grey tea, here is a list of the tea bags that will do this.
Strong Flavor: this is definitely a bold mug of tea. So, if you want something that will leave a pleasant aftertaste, then this tea will be worth a shot.
Good for Morning Cup: just one mug of this tea will provide you with all the caffeine you need for the rest of the day. This makes it ideal for your morning mug of tea.
Well-Picked Leaves: the black tea is well-sourced and aren’t pre-blended. This makes for a great tea base that offers up that bold taste of black tea.
Black Tea Can Be Overpowering: the flavor of the black tea can be a bit overpowering, especially if you prefer a milder brew.
Classic Taste: this is a tea that will certainly taste familiar to many. In that sense, it does offer up a rather comfortable mug of tea.
Decent Tea Quality: although it isn’t the best, the company is discerning about the kind of tea that goes into its bags, making it a decent option.
Great for Regular Drinkers: considering the sheer number of tea bags that you get with this pack, you will be well-stocked up for a while.
Addition of Flavorings: the brand uses citrus flavorings in the blend which does detract from its authenticity quite a bit.
Well-Balanced Flavor: the robustness of the tea is balanced out by the lemony flavors of the bergamot. As such, neither flavor overpowers the other at any point.
Natural Bergamot Oil: the company only uses natural bergamot oil which ensures that the taste holds its own in every cup.
Well-Sourced Leaves: the tea is carefully sourced from particular estates. This lends consistency to the brand and your resulting cup of tea.
Poor Packaging: these tea bags aren’t equipped with any string which means that you have to swish them out before you begin drinking your beverage.
Best Organic Earl Grey Tea
Now, here is a list of the best organic blends for you:
Single Origin Leaves: all the organic tea come from a single estate, boosting their quality and flavor consistency. Furthermore, as they are Assam tea leaves, it is bold and delicious.
Carefully Processed: the leaves have been carefully selected and processed. Thus, you get to steep tea leaves that are uncut and gently rolled. This produces a more impressive cup of tea.
Well-Sourced Bergamot: the natural bergamot is directly sourced from Calabria in Italy.
Mild Bergamot Flavor: the flavor is on the mild side and may be disappointing to drinkers who prefer a stronger taste.
Natural Bergamot Oil: the tea is infused with good strength, all-natural oil of bergamot, which is certainly an interesting surprise at this price point.
Well-Preserved Tea: the aroma and the flavors of the tea are well-preserved. As such, you can stretch out this tea for a longer period of time.
A Balance of Flavors: the boldness of the black tea is balanced out by the citrusy infusion of the bergamot making for a rather pleasant drink.
Not Suitable for Seasoned Drinkers: those with a more selectively palate may find that this tea doesn’t really meet their standards.
Interesting Infusion Process: unlike other companies, Numi allows the bergamot fruit to age with the teas. This creates a more complete infusion process.
Bold Tea: the teas are bold and delicious – they work well for anyone who likes a strong cup of black tea.
Organic Bergamot: even the bergamot is organic in this formula. Thus, if you are careful about what you consume, this company will meet your needs
Could Use More Bergamot: due to the infusion process, the bergamot flavor may seem a little mild to some consumers.
These are all the Earl Grey teas that you should keep an eye out for when shopping.
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