Earl Grey tea is a black tea jazzed up with a citrus twist from bergamot.
This tea is a total hit in the US, and I’m here to show you how easy it is to brew a fantastic cup, whether you’re into it hot or iced.
Earl Grey is like your regular black tea just got a zesty upgrade.
The citrusy bergamot gives it a tangy kick that’s both refreshing and cozy.
When you take that first sip, it’s a blend of smooth black tea and a burst of citrus – a combo that’s hard to resist.
But why should you give Earl Grey a shot? Well, if you’re up for trying something classic yet exciting, this tea’s got your name on it. It’s a bit like sipping on history with a twist.
And guess what? I have different Earl Grey recipes for you (yep, both hot and cold)!
What Is Earl Grey Tea?
Earl Grey tea is a type of black tea, usually contains base teas like Assam or Ceylon, and it’s made special with a flavor called bergamot.
Bergamot comes from Italy and is like a fancy citrus fruit that grows around the Mediterranean. And yes! Earl Grey tea has caffeine in it!
Now, back in the day, they used to make Earl Grey tea by adding bits of bergamot peel to the tea leaves.
But nowadays, they often use bergamot essential oil to give it that tasty flavor.
And if you want the extra fancy version, look for the one made with bergamot from Calabria, Italy. That’s like the top-notch stuff!
Here’s a fun fact: In the US, many people enjoy Earl Grey tea with a bit of milk and sugar to make it all cozy and sweet.
But if you hop across the pond to the UK, they like to stir in some lemon and sugar for a zesty twist.
Now, about the name… there are a few stories flying around, but most people think that Earl Grey tea got its name from a guy named Charles Grey.
He was the second Earl of Grey, and back in the 1800s, someone gifted him this awesome tea blend. So, there you have it, a tea fit for an Earl!
What You Need to Make Earl Grey Tea
Here’s a simple guide to help you choose the right things for making delicious Earl Grey tea:
1. Quality Tea Leaves
For a delightful cup of Earl Grey tea, start with high-quality loose-leaf black tea.
Look for leaves that are whole and unbroken, as they retain more flavor and aroma.
Avoid tea bags containing fine dust, as they can lack the full taste experience.
2. Bergamot Essence
Bergamot is the signature flavor of Earl Grey tea.
You’ll need pure bergamot essence or flavoring to infuse the tea with its distinct citrusy notes.
A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and adjust to your taste.
3. Hot Water
Boil fresh, filtered water and let it cool slightly before pouring it over the tea leaves.
Water temperature matters – too hot and it can make the tea bitter.
I usually wait for a minute or two after boiling before steeping.
4. Teapot or Infuser
Using a teapot with an infuser or a dedicated tea infuser makes steeping and straining a breeze.
This way, the tea leaves have room to expand and release their flavors fully.
5. Optional Sweeteners and Milk
While traditional Earl Grey is enjoyed plain, feel free to add a touch of honey, sugar, or even a splash of milk if you prefer a creamier taste.
Experiment with different combinations to find your perfect cup.
You don’t always need to infuse black tea with essence; you can simply choose a high-quality Earl Grey tea that already has the perfect balance of flavors.
Look for a reputable tea brand that uses real bergamot to craft their Earl Grey blend. This way, you’ll enjoy the authentic taste and aroma without the need for additional infusions.
How to Make Earl Grey Tea
Here’s the step-by-step process of making Earl Grey tea using two different methods: with Earl Grey tea leaves and by infusing black tea with essence.
Making Earl Grey Tea with Earl Grey Tea Leaves
Step 1: Boil Fresh Water
Begin by boiling fresh, cold water. Allow it to come to a rolling boil and then let it cool slightly for a moment.
Water that’s too hot can scorch the delicate tea leaves and make the tea taste bitter.
Step 2: Measure the Tea Leaves
For a single cup of Earl Grey tea, measure approximately 1 teaspoon of high-quality Earl Grey tea leaves.
You can adjust the quantity based on your personal taste and the size of your cup.
Step 3: Preheat Your Teapot
Preheat your teapot by rinsing it with a bit of the hot water.
This step helps maintain the temperature of the tea during steeping, ensuring the best flavor extraction.
Step 4: Add the Tea Leaves
Gently place the measured Earl Grey tea leaves into your teapot’s infuser.
If you’re using loose leaves without an infuser, that’s fine too. Just make sure the leaves have room to expand.
Step 5: Pour the Water
Carefully pour the hot water over the tea leaves.
You’ll want to fully cover the leaves with water to allow for proper infusion. Allow the tea leaves to steep in the hot water for 3-5 minutes.
Step 6: Strain and Serve
Once the steeping time is up, remove the infuser or strain the tea to separate the liquid from the tea leaves.
This prevents over-steeping, which can lead to bitterness.
Pour the aromatic Earl Grey tea into your cup, and take a moment to appreciate the enticing fragrance before taking a sip.
Making Earl Grey Tea with Black Tea and Essence
Step 1: Choose Quality Black Tea
Begin by selecting a high-quality black tea as the base for your Earl Grey.
Traditional choices include Assam or Ceylon black tea. Measure about 1 teaspoon of black tea leaves per cup.
Step 2: Boil Fresh Water
Boil fresh water and allow it to cool slightly to around 200°F (93°C).
This temperature is perfect for steeping black tea, as it brings out its rich flavors without scalding the leaves.
Step 3: Preheat Your Teapot
Just like in the previous method, preheat your teapot by adding a small amount of hot water and swirling it around.
This step maintains the tea’s warmth during brewing.
Step 4: Add Black Tea
Place the measured black tea leaves into the teapot or an infuser.
Ensuring proper measuring helps achieve the desired strength and flavor.
Step 5: Infuse with Bergamot Essence
Here comes the special touch: add a few drops of pure bergamot essence to the black tea leaves.
Start with a modest amount – bergamot is potent and a little goes a long way. Adjust the essence to your taste preference.
Step 6: Pour Water and Steep
Gently pour the hot water over the black tea leaves infused with bergamot essence.
Allow the tea to steep for about 3-4 minutes. Unlike Earl Grey leaves, black tea generally requires a shorter steeping time.
Step 7: Strain and Enjoy
When the steeping time is just right, remove the tea leaves or strain the liquid into your cup.
This step ensures a smooth, flavorful cup without any bitterness.
After experimenting with both methods, I’ve discovered that the process itself is a journey of sensory delight.
Whether you choose to use Earl Grey tea leaves or infuse black tea with bergamot essence, crafting your perfect cup is truly satisfying.
Earl Grey Tea Hot or Cold
I know the eternal question that’s been bugging you: should you enjoy your Earl Grey tea hot or cold?
Well, let me spill the tea and guide you through the sips!
1. Hot Delight for Cozy Moments
When the weather outside is a bit nippy or you’re craving that warm, comforting embrace in a cup, go for a steaming hot Earl Grey.
Brew it up, inhale the citrusy aroma, and let the soothing warmth work its magic.
Perfect for mornings or those relaxing evenings by the fireplace.
2. Cold and Refreshing Zing
When the sun is blazing and you’re in the mood for a refreshingly cool pick-me-up, iced Earl Grey is your summer soulmate.
It’s flavors beats the heat and keeps you energized.
Perfect for picnics, beach days, or whenever you need that icy twist.
3. Experimentation Zone
Feeling a bit adventurous? Why not try both, but with a twist?
Hot Earl Grey with a dash of honey and a slice of lemon can add an extra layer of warmth and zest to your day.
And if you’re going for cold, throw in some mint leaves or even a splash of sparkling water for a fun, fizzy Earl Grey mocktail.
How to Make Earl Grey Iced Tea
When the sun is blazing and you’re in need of a refreshing pick-me-up, look no further than a glass of homemade Earl Grey iced tea.
So, if you want to try this iced tea, follow the simple steps below, but before that let’s learn a thing or two!
Why Choose Cold Brew?
Cold brewing tea is a game-changer for crafting the perfect iced tea.
It results in a smoother, less bitter brew with a naturally sweet profile.
By steeping tea leaves in cold water over an extended period, you’ll extract the flavors without the tannins that can sometimes make traditional hot-brewed tea taste a bit astringent.
Opt for Loose Leaf Tea!
For the best results in cold brewing, opt for loose leaf Earl Grey tea instead of tea bags.
Loose leaf tea allows for more water circulation around the leaves, resulting in a fuller and more robust flavor.
This is especially important in the cold brew method, where the longer steeping time encourages a deeper infusion of flavors.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- 1/4 cup loose leaf Earl Grey tea
- 4 cups cold, filtered water
- Optional: Sweetener of your choice (sugar, honey, etc.)
1. Measuring the Tea: Start by measuring 1/4 cup of loose leaf Earl Grey tea.
This quantity works well for a 4-cup batch, but feel free to adjust it based on your taste preferences.
2. Combine Tea and Water: In a pitcher or a large glass container, add the measured tea leaves.
Pour in 4 cups of cold, filtered water. Make sure the water is cold to begin with, as the cold brew process doesn’t involve any heat.
3. Stir and Refrigerate: Gently stir the tea leaves and water to ensure the leaves are fully saturated.
Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator. Let the tea steep for about 6 to 12 hours.
This extended steeping time allows the flavors to fully develop.
4. Strain and Serve: Once the steeping time is up, strain the tea to remove the tea leaves.
You can strain it directly into glasses filled with ice.
If you prefer a sweeter drink, now’s the time to add your preferred sweetener. Give it a quick stir to mix in the sweetener.
5. Enjoy Your Refreshing Earl Grey Iced Tea: Sip and savor the invigorating blend of black tea and bergamot.
This cooling drink is the ideal companion for lounging by the pool, enjoying a picnic, or simply relaxing in the shade.
Factors That Affect the Flavor of Earl Grey Tea
You might be wondering what makes Earl Grey tea taste so delightful and unique. Here are some factors that influence its flavor.
1. Tea Leaves Quality
The first thing that matters is the quality of the tea leaves used in Earl Grey.
High-quality leaves tend to have a more robust and complex flavor.
Look for teas with whole leaves or larger broken leaves, as these often pack more flavor than tiny tea dust.
2. Base Tea Type
The type of tea used as the base matters.
Earl Grey is typically made using black tea, but some blends might use green or white tea.
Black tea gives a bold and rich flavor, while green tea offers a more delicate taste. White tea is even milder.
Choose your base tea according to your preference.
3. Bergamot Oil Source
Bergamot oil is what gives Earl Grey its signature citrusy aroma.
The source of this oil can vary, influencing the intensity of the flavor.
High-quality oils from fresh bergamot oranges tend to create a more vibrant and authentic taste.
4. Bergamot Oil Amount
The amount of bergamot oil used in the blend can greatly impact the flavor.
A little goes a long way – too much oil might overpower the tea, while too little might not give you that classic Earl Grey taste.
Balance is key!
5. Blending Techniques
The way the tea and bergamot oil are blended matters too.
Some brands infuse the tea leaves with the oil, while others add the oil after the leaves are dried.
Each method can create a slightly different flavor profile.
6. Additional Ingredients
Some Earl Grey variations include extra ingredients like lavender, vanilla, or other citrus peels.
These additions can enhance or alter the flavor, so read the ingredient list if you’re curious about trying new twists on the classic.
7. Brewing Time and Temperature
How you brew your tea matters! Steeping Earl Grey at the right temperature and for the right amount of time can affect its taste.
Follow the brewing instructions on the packaging to get the best flavor out of your tea leaves.
8. Water Quality
Believe it or not, the quality of the water you use can influence the flavor of your tea.
Fresh, filtered water is usually the best choice, as impurities in the water can mask the delicate flavors of the tea.
9. Storage Conditions
Properly storing your Earl Grey tea is important too.
Keep it in an airtight container away from strong odors and direct sunlight.
This helps preserve the flavor and prevent the tea from becoming stale.
Earl Grey Tea Variations
If you’re looking to make your Earl Grey tea taste even better, I’ve got some delicious ideas for you.
Earl Grey tea with its fragrant bergamot flavor, is a classic favorite. But why settle for just the traditional cup? Let’s explore some fantastic ways to enjoy this beloved tea in various forms.
1. Earl Grey London Fog Tea Latte
One of my absolute favorites is the Earl Grey London Fog Latte.
It’s a blend of Earl Grey tea, steamed milk and a touch of vanilla syrup.
To make this delightful drink, brew a strong cup of Earl Grey tea and froth some milk (dairy or non-dairy) until creamy.
Mix the two together, add a dash of vanilla syrup, and voilà!
You’ve got yourself a comforting and aromatic London Fog Latte.
2. Earl Grey and Citrus Sparkler
For a fizzy twist, create an Earl Grey and Citrus Sparkler.
Brew your tea and let it chill. In a glass, mix equal parts brewed Earl Grey tea and your choice of citrusy soda—lemon-lime soda works great.
Add ice and a citrus wedge for garnish. This effervescent concoction is a delightful play of flavors.
5. Earl Grey Infused Cocktails
Yes, you read that right! Earl Grey tea can be a wonderful addition to cocktails.
Try infusing vodka with Earl Grey tea leaves for a few hours, then mix it with some lemon juice and simple syrup.
Strain and pour it into a chilled glass for a classy and aromatic cocktail that’ll impress your guests.
6. Earl Grey and Honey Smoothie
Looking for a healthy treat? Blend up an Earl Grey and Honey Smoothie.
Brew your tea, let it cool, and then blend it with frozen banana slices, a spoonful of honey, and a splash of milk (dairy or non-dairy).
This smoothie is a delightful fusion of flavors, and the tea adds a unique twist.
How to Make Earl Grey Tea Taste Good
Here are some simple ways to add flavor variations to your classic Earl Grey tea, whether you’re sipping it hot or enjoying it cold:
For Hot Earl Grey Tea
- Zesty Lemon Twist
Just like they do in the UK, add a thin slice of lemon to your hot Earl Grey tea.
The citrusy kick complements the tea’s bergamot flavor wonderfully.
- Sweet Delight
If you like your hot tea sweet, go ahead and stir in your favorite sweetener.
Whether it’s classic sugar, honey, or even a drizzle of date syrup, it’s all about making it just right for you.
For Cold Earl Grey Tea
- Classic Simple Syrup
For sweetening iced tea, use simple syrup. It blends easily into cold drinks without leaving any sugary grains behind.
- Refreshing Citrus Sip
When enjoying cold Earl Grey tea, a squeeze of fresh lemon or a twist of orange peel can make it a zesty and refreshing experience.
- Fruit Fusion
Think about dropping in a few slices of fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, or even blueberries.
These fruits infuse their sweetness and colors into the tea, making each sip a fruity adventure.
- Citrus Infusion
Enhance the citrusy notes of Earl Grey tea by adding citrus fruits.
Squeeze in a bit of lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice for a tangy twist.
You can also float citrus slices in your cold tea for extra flavor.
- Tropical Touch
For a taste of the tropics, consider adding slices of pineapple or a splash of pineapple juice to your cold Earl Grey tea.
- Minty Freshness
Add a sprig of fresh mint leaves to your cold tea. The mint’s coolness pairs beautifully with the tea’s aromatic bergamot flavor.
What Goes Well With Earl Grey Tea
I absolutely love Earl Grey tea, and one of the things that make it even better is pairing it with the right foods.
Here are some simple and tasty options to complement your Earl Grey tea experience.
1. Scones with Lemon Zest
The citrusy notes in Earl Grey tea make it a great match for foods with a hint of lemon.
Savor your tea with freshly baked scones that have a touch of lemon zest.
The zesty flavors will dance along with the bergamot in the tea, creating a harmonious and refreshing pairing.
2. Dark Chocolate
Earl Grey’s distinctive flavor, which comes from the bergamot orange, pairs wonderfully with the rich and slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate.
The combination balances the tea’s floral and citrusy qualities with the chocolate’s deep, velvety goodness.
3. Earl Grey Cake
For a delightful afternoon treat, enjoy a slice of Earl Grey-infused cake.
The subtle bergamot flavor of cake improves the flavor notes of tea.
4. Cucumber Sandwiches
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing option, try pairing Earl Grey tea with cucumber sandwiches.
The fragrant aroma of tea and cool crunchiness of sandwiches goes well with each other.
5. Butter Cookies
Butter cookies with their rich, buttery texture and gentle sweetness are a fantastic match for Earl Grey tea.
The citrusy aroma of tea nicely cuts through the richness of the cookies.
6. Mixed Berry Tart
The fruity undertones of Earl Grey tea can be enhanced by pairing it with a mixed berry tart.
The tartness of the berries contrasts with the floral notes.
7. Roast Chicken Sandwich
Surprisingly, Earl Grey tea also goes well with savory dishes. A roast chicken sandwich is a great option.
The aromatic profile suits with the savory slightly tangy taste of the chicken. Thus, resulting in a well-rounded pairing.
When to Drink Earl Grey Tea
When it comes to enjoying a cup of Earl Grey tea, timing can make all the difference.
This classic tea with a hint of bergamot flavor is a delightful choice for many occasions.
Start your day right with a cup of Earl Grey tea in the morning.
Its invigorating citrusy aroma and mild caffeine kick can help you wake up and feel refreshed.
It’s a wonderful alternative to your regular morning coffee.
Looking for a pick-me-up during the afternoon slump?
Earl Grey tea is here to rescue!
Its balanced flavors provide a pleasant break, and the caffeine content can give you a gentle energy boost without disrupting your sleep later.
Ever heard of the classic English teatime? Earl Grey fits in perfectly.
The sophisticated bergamot flavor pairs wonderfully with scones, pastries, or finger sandwiches.
Invite some friends over or have a peaceful solo teatime moment.
4. Creative Work Companion
If you’re into creative pursuits or need to focus on a task, Earl Grey can be your companion.
The aroma and taste can provide a soothing background as you let your ideas flow.
5. Evening Sip
While Earl Grey does contain some caffeine, it’s lower than coffee.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you can still enjoy a cup in the early evening.
It’s a soothing way to unwind after a long day.
6. Before Bed? Be Cautious
Although Earl Grey has less caffeine than coffee, it’s not caffeine-free.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine or aiming for a peaceful sleep, it’s best to avoid it close to bedtime.
Earl Grey Tea RecipeCourse: DrinksCuisine: British
Enjoy the refreshing blend of aromatic Earl Grey tea infused with citrusy notes and a touch of sweetness in this delightful and low-calorie recipe.
2 cups of freshly drawn water
2 teaspoons of loose Earl Grey tea leaves
Lemon or orange slices, to serve
Honey or sugar, to taste
- Boil the water: Start by boiling the water in a kettle. Once boiling, let it sit for a minute or two until it reaches a perfect steeping temperature of about 208°F (98°C).
- Add Earl Grey tea leaves: In a teapot, add your loose Earl Grey tea leaves. The leaves' intense aroma and unique flavor profile are what make this beverage a coveted delicacy.
- Pour the hot water: Gradually pour the hot water over the tea leaves, taking care to evenly distribute the heat.
- Steep the tea: Allow the tea to steep for about 3 to 4 minutes. Longer steeping times will result in a stronger, more bitter flavor, while shorter times yield a milder taste.
- Strain and serve: Strain the tea into cups, add a slice of lemon or orange if you prefer, and sweeten with honey or sugar to your liking. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does Earl Grey tea taste like?
Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor profile that combines the briskness of black tea with the aromatic citrus notes of bergamot.
The bergamot oil imparts a fragrant and slightly fruity taste to the tea.
Does Earl Grey tea have caffeine?
Yes, Earl Grey tea does contain caffeine as it is primarily made from black tea leaves.
However, the caffeine content can vary depending on the brand and blend.
Generally, it has less caffeine than a cup of coffee but can still provide a moderate energy boost.
Is Earl Grey a real tea?
Absolutely, Earl Grey is a true and popular type of tea. It is made using actual tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant.
The unique character of Earl Grey comes from the addition of bergamot oil during the tea blending process.
How many calories in Earl Grey tea?
Earl Grey tea is very low in calories. A standard 8-ounce (240 ml) cup of plain brewed Earl Grey tea contains virtually no calories.
Its a great option for those looking to enjoy a flavorful beverage without added calories.
Should you add milk to Earl Grey tea?
Adding milk to Earl Grey tea is a matter of personal preference.
Some people enjoy the traditional English way of adding a splash of milk, which can mellow out the strong flavors of the tea.
However, others prefer to enjoy Earl Grey’s distinct taste without milk.