Bergamot Meets Tea: The Popular Earl Grey

It is a harmonious blend that enchants the world: We are talking about Earl Grey tea. With its significant citrus flavor, the most famous tea blend, traditionally flavored with bergamot oil, enjoys great popularity. At PAPER & TEA, there are further unique tea creations as the fresh bergamot also pairs well with Rooibos, white, or green tea. We reveal the secrets of the special Earl Grey and take you on an aromatic journey through its fascinating world. 


Citrus-fresh: Discover the Unique Taste of Earl Grey 

The essence that provides an intense flavor in Earl Grey teas is a rather unknown citrus fruit to us, the bergamot. It mainly grows under the hot sun of southern Italy. For Earl Grey, tea leaves are flavored with bergamot oil. The essential oil is extracted from the bergamot peel and cold-pressed. The natural aroma of an Italian bergamot tastes enchantingly fresh in our cup. Using only natural ingredients, an aromatic harmony of tea and bergamot fully unfolds in your cup. For all Earl creations, our tea experts use natural bergamot oil from Italy. The special ingredients are added to an ever-rotating blending drum and bathed with the oil while being continuously moved to prevent clumping. The bergamot aroma is also highly popular in perfumes, liqueurs, juices, and for baking. Earl Grey-Teeblätter in Infuser auf Tablett

The Myth Around Sir Charles Grey

But how did the flavored tea blend get its unusual name? Earl Grey is named after a certain Sir Charles Grey, Prime Minister of England. And as with so many breathtaking discoveries, the origin story behind this one is surrounded by adventurous legends. One tells of a fateful sea voyage. When tea chests were being transported from China to England, the ship encountered a violent storm on the high seas. Next to the Chinese tea, there were also barrels of bergamot oil on board. The oil spilled over the tea leaves due to the violent waves and the precious cargo, intended for the British Prime Minister, seemed ruined. At the port of London, Sir Charles Grey decided not to throw away the tea but to give it a chance and surprisingly, after the first sip, he was very pleased with the new and fresh taste. A lovely anecdote, though whether it really happened exactly like that cannot be said with certainty. However, this does not detract from the enthusiasm for this tea classic. 

Where Does Earl Grey Tea Really Come From?

Earl Grey is a tea blend from the 19th century. The recipe comes from China and was made for Sir Charles Grey. Hence, he did not invent the refreshing blend himself but merely served as the namesake. For the original blend, Chinese black tea was used in the 19th century. When Earl Grey tea began to be sold, the original recipe was not protected, and thus countless varieties of Earl Grey now exist. Nowadays, the tea blend is made with black teas from other growing regions such as India or Sri Lanka. At PAPER & TEA, we stick faithfully to the traditional concept and use exceptional golden bud black tea from Yunnan, China, the origin of the tea, and organic bergamot oil from Italy for our GOLDEN EARL N°514. Teedose mit GOLDEN EARL und Teeglas mit aufgebrühtem Schwarztee

An Earl, Many Faces: Popular Earl Grey Varieties

The classic Earl Grey is a unique blend of black tea as the base and natural bergamot oil. A well-known variant is Lady Grey, named after the Earl’s wife, who preferred her Earl Grey tea a bit fruitier. This black tea tastes milder and is refined with orange pieces. Adding flowers like jasmine, mallow, and cornflower is also popular. In our in-house tea blend BRAVE NEW EARL N°711, we give the classic Earl Grey black tea a particularly British twist with jasmine flowers and juniper. The adaptable bergamot also naturally pairs well with other tea variants, such as Rooibos, green tea, and white tea. If you’ve come to enjoy the fresh-fruity taste, you can try our exceptional tea creations RED EARL N°826 with Rooibos and WHITE EARL N°107. 

Preparing for an Aromatic Enjoyment

When preparing Earl Grey tea at home, you need to consider a few important factors for a full-bodied cup. Black tea unfolds its strong aroma when you brew it with 90-degree hot water. We recommend not to let the tea steep for more than three minutes, as otherwise bitter substances may spread in your cup. The correct preparation always depends on the base tea of the blend. According to British tradition, afternoon tea is preferably enjoyed with a dash of milk. Some also enjoy Earl Grey with a bit of sugar. In other countries, the citric note of bergamot is additionally refined with some fresh lemon. Opinions differ here: purist tea enthusiasts swear by the original taste without additional taste. As is well known, taste cannot be argued about, so it is up to you to find out how you prefer to enjoy your Earl Grey. Earl Grey Tee auf Tablett mit heißem Wasser aufgegossen

Caffeine in Earl Grey? 

Any tea that comes from the tea plant Camellia Sinensis naturally contains caffeine. Therefore, tea can serve as a good alternative to coffee. We like to drink our Earl Grey black tea in the morning after waking up or at noon to celebrate its aromatic taste. Herbal infusions, such as Rooibos tea, are naturally caffeine-free, so you can enjoy it any time of the day or night. 

How Do I Store Earl Grey Tea?

Loose tea should be protected from heat and stored dry. In airtight tea caddies and aroma bags, the teas are safe from light exposure and odors. We recommend drinking our tea up to at least three years after purchase. But even after the best-before date, it is usually still enjoyable: If you’re unsure, you can do a simple test. A bad tea can be recognized by changes in smell, color, or taste. Pay attention to the following points:

  • If the tea smells and tastes different from its actual aroma, this could be a sign that it has gone bad. Trust your sense of smell and taste. 
  • Note any unusual changes in the tea’s color. If it is cloudy or darker than usual, spoilage may be suspected. 
  • Use safe packaging. If the tea leaves have absorbed moisture or the packaging is damaged, the tea may have lost quality. 

If you have doubts about the quality of your tea or notice any of these signs, it is advisable to play it safe and not consume the tea. GOLDEN EARL im PAPER & TEA Store

Why Earl Grey is a True Delight 

With numerous advantages, it’s clear why Earl Grey is one of the most popular tea blends and has captivated fans worldwide. The extraordinary note of bergamot gives Earl Grey tea a fresh scent and an unforgettable taste. We are thrilled by the variations with different tea types as the base, making the tea so versatile. Additionally, Earl Grey tea is a true delicacy hot or cold. In the summer, Earl Grey iced tea is a welcome refreshment. The historical background also contributes to the phenomenon: the curious legends around its namesake Sir Charles Grey offer great entertainment value. One thing is certain: Earl Grey is an elegant companion in the afternoon to come together and enjoy a cup of tea in good company!