We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Earl Grey Tea?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Earl Grey tea is a blend of tea which is heavily flavored with bergamot. The distinctive flavor of bergamot infuses the finished tea, creating a classic light and refreshing flavor. Many consumers think of Earl Grey tea as the quintessential English tea, and it is indeed often served at tea and other social events in Britain. Numerous companies make blends of Earl Grey which are available in both bagged and looseleaf form.

The tea is named after the Second Earl Grey, who served as Prime Minister in the 1830s. According to legend, the Earl received the tea as a diplomatic gift, supposedly in thanks for saving someone's life. The tea grew to be a popular offering in the Earl's private home, and he brought the blend to his tea merchant, Twinings in the Strand, asking them to replicate it. Twinings released the first official Earl Grey tea and it quickly became a favorite.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that Earl Grey is a type of tea. In fact, all black teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves of the plant are harvested at different times and handled in different ways to produce everything from white tea to black tea, and Earl Grey traditionally blends a mix of Indian and Sri Lankan teas. Some producers also add a hint of lapsang souchong to give Earl Grey tea a slightly smoky, rich flavor.

Since bergamot is a strong flavoring, it can cover up for tea of a lesser quality. For that reason, people who are concerned about the grade of their tea should read packaging carefully. Looseleaf tea tends to be of better quality, while some bagged teas can be quite unpleasant. If the flavor of Earl Grey tea is not quite to taste, some consumers enjoy Lady Grey, a variant which adds Seville orange and lemon to the blend, altering the flavor rather dramatically.

When brewing black tea, it is important to only steep it for three to five minutes. Steeping the tea for a longer period of time will result in a bitter cup of tea, as the tannins are leached from the leaves. If you desire stronger tea, use more tea leaves per cup of water. You may also find that the quality of your tea improves when you warm the teapot or cup you are brewing in with a quick swirl of boiling water before brewing.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By panda2006 — On Jan 25, 2011

I find many rands of Earl Grey tea bags can be a pretty good quality, though I suppose I am not that picky. Tea bags also mean that you can offer both caffeinated and decaffeinated Earl Grey tea to your guests without a lot of extra effort; they also often come in varieties that are a bit different, like extra spices or a hint of orange.

By recapitulate — On Jan 22, 2011

I knew that Twinings Earl Grey tea was traditional, though it is interesting to know they were the very first. I suppose other brands adopted the name because this was before copyright laws; in these days, it'd be unlikely that several companies could mimic a product so identically.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.