Earl Grey - History, Variations and Recipes


Have you always been tempted by Earl Grey tea? Now is your chance to learn more and to give it a try…..

Earl Grey is a firm favourite among tea drinkers across the UK. The origin of this traditional blend is shrouded in legend, but its delicate, fresh flavour has withstood the test of time. Earl Grey is one of the most recognised flavours of tea in the world. So how did we all fall in love with this citrus and floral infused black tea? It is highly aromatic and the perfect accompaniment with afternoon tea!

Earl grey loose leaf tea



Here at Cup of Tea we have a wide range of delicious Earl Grey teas for you to try. Our Tippy Golden Earl Grey loose leaf tea is blended using an autumnal Darjeeling tea from the foothills of the Himalayas. We also have the delightful Duke of Grey Organic loose leaf which is based on Assam leaves with their malty and strong flavour. If you are on the go and want to enjoy Earl Grey in teabag form we have Teavelope Earl Grey tea bags and Joy of Tea Earl Grey which both provide all the flavour of a top quality Earl Grey tea.




Earl grey is a black tea scented with the oil from the rind of bergamot orange. Bergamot is a citrus tree most commonly found on the coast of Italy and southern France. The rinds’ fragrant oil is added to black tea to give Earl Grey its signature zesty punch.

Earl Grey tea falls into the category of flavoured teas. Flavoured teas include any type of tea, white, green, oolong, black that has been scented or flavoured with fruit, flowers, spices, oils etc.



Earl Grey was popularised by the English but was not an English invention. Scented and flavoured teas are uniquely Chinese. Chinese tea masters constantly experimented with ways to make their teas more exotic, to capture the attention of the reigning emperors and worldwide trade merchants. The Chinese tea masters infused all kinds of scent and flavour into the teas using jasmine flavours, wild rosebuds, bitter oranges and much more.

The first mention of Earl Grey tea was in 1824 and it was associated with the idea of using bergamot to enhance the taste of low quality tea.  The name ‘Earl Grey’ is most often connected to the English aristocrat and Prime Minster Charles Grey. There are numerous stories associated with the beginnings of Earl Grey tea. The first story goes that during a trip to China, Charles saved the life of a Lord. As a thank you for saving his life, this Lord gifted Charles Grey with a recipe for black tea scented with the oil of bergamot oranges, therefore establishing the beginnings of Earl Grey. The second story claims that Earl Grey started from an accidental mixing of bergamot oranges and tea during a shipment from China to England. Finally the third story suggests that Charles Grey had a Chinese friend who incorporated the flavours of bergamot to offset the taste of minerals in the Northumberland waters of his home. Whichever of these stories is true Earl Grey has become one of the most popular tea flavours to drink all around the world!



Earl Grey is traditionally defined as a black tea that has been flavoured with the oil of bergamot. But what is bergamot oil, where does it come from, and how does it blend with black tea to form a classic combination? Bergamot oil is extracted from the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit.  The fruit is used to make marmalades and the scent is often used in fragrance shops as it is very popular in perfumes.  The majority of bergamot oranges are grown in Italy’s Reggio di Calabria province. It takes about 100 oranges to produce just 3 ounces of oil! A classic, traditional Earl Grey tea starts with a base of black tea leaves, a Darjeeling or Ceylon for example. Once the tea leaves have been withered, dried and oxidized they are flavoured with the bergamot oil extracted for a powerful aroma and rich flavour. Every blend of Earl Grey is different; the tea-to-bergamot ratio is dependent on each variety.





Here at Cup of Tea we pride ourselves on having a fantastic range of high quality teas and that is no exception with our Earl Grey teas. Aside from the classic Earl Grey, we have many variations of the original blend not always based on black tea but also green tea and rooibos. Why not try some of the flavours we have on offer:


Sencha Earl Grey £4.60 for a 100g bag – A charming combination of Sencha and bergamot to tantalise the taste buds! A fresh green tea bended with bergamot flavours, light and refreshing. A must for every Earl Grey lover who wants to explore the green tea path.

Sencha Earl Grey loose leaf tea





Rooibos Earl Grey £4.70 for a 100g bag – A delightful Rooibos tea with the citrus lift of bergamot. If you like Earl Grey but prefer to avoid caffeine, this is the tea for you. Rooibos is natural caffeine free and high in vitamin C. This tea has a natural creamy taste with the compliments of the lemony zing of bergamot, a perfect match.

Rooibos Earl Grey loose leaf tea




High Tea Co Earl Grey £9.95 for 125g – Ceylon and Chinese black teas blended together with bergamot. This tea is very citrusy and fresh and dark in the cup; a classic Earl Grey. This tea also comes packed in a vibrant coloured reusable tea caddy.


High Tea Co loose leaf tea 


We have a wide range of Earl Grey teas for you to try, have a look at our Earl Grey category page on our swebiste to discover more.




Whether you are using loose leaf or tea bags the process is the same to brew Earl Grey tea:

Boil some freshly poured cold water

Place the tea leaves in a tea strainer

Pour the hot water over the leaves

Steep the tea for the appropriate amount of time

Strain the tea

Add a dash of milk to taste, sweeten if required






Tea is great for cooking and baking because at the core of the product there is flavour! You can use it in so many different ways; sauces, syrups, chocolate, cocktails, etc. Earl Grey has a very unique, floral flavour that can really work well within food.


Earl Grey Tea Cake


This Earl Grey Cake is flavoured with tea throughout. The cake is made with ground Tippy Golden Earl Grey loose leaf tea and lemon zest and the icing is infused with Sencha Earl Grey loose leaf tea.


Cake Ingredients

250g Plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 teaspoons of ground Tippy Golden Earl Grey loose leaf tea

Pinch of salt

175g butter

250g caster sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100ml whole milk


Icing Ingredients

150g caster sugar

20g plain flour

½ teaspoon ground Sencha Earl Grey loose leaf tea

200ml milk

40ml single cream

175g butter


To make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 180C

Grind the Earl Grey tea leaves in a pestle and mortar

Grease a 6 inch cake tin with some butter

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and then whisk in the ground Tippy Golden Earl Grey loose leaf tea.

In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar, and then add the lemon zest until light and creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time until the mixture is light in colour and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract.

Add 1/3 of the dry flour mixture and half of the milk. Stir and then add the remaining flour mixture and milk.

Add the mixture into your greased cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes.

Once your cake is cool, remove from the tin and cut into three layers.


To make the Icing:

In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour and ground Sencha Earl Grey loose leaf tea. Then whisk in the milk and cream.

Heat the mixture on a medium heat, whisking often. Heat the mixture for around 10 minutes until it is very thick.

Strain the mixture through a sieve and beat the mixture until it is cool (roughly 10 minutes or so)

When the mixture is completely cool, add the butter whilst continually mixing until the icing is light and fluffy.

Place your first layer of cake down and spread the icing across the top. Stack the second layer of cake on top of this and repeat. Finally add the top layer and spread the remaining icing on the top and all over the sides. 




Earl Grey & Gin Iced Tea

Earl Grey and Gin Iced Tea 


Water, Earl Grey Organic loose leaf tea, Sugar, Lemon, Gin, Cucumber, Mint



Brew your loose leaf tea, we recommend Earl Grey Organic. Brewing time for this tea is 2-3 minutes. Allow the tea to cool completely.

Strain your tea and add it to a jug

Add some sugar and lemon juice until it has dissolved completely

Pour in your desired amount of gin

Cut up some cucumber, throw in some mint and add lots of ice to the jug.



























































Posted by cup of tea admin
16th March 2018

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