All About Earl Grey Tea - Preparation, Tasting and Recipe

At Cup of Tea, we love Earl Grey tea. It is aromatic, delicious and evokes thoughts of lazy afternoon teas with our favourite finger sandwiches and cakes. Of course, we can't always kick back and relax, but we can take a moment to brew the perfect cup of Earl Grey. Here are the very many reasons why the distinctive tea is revered all over the world.


What is Earl Grey?

Traditionally, Earl Grey tea is a refreshing flavoured black tea blended with the oil from the rind of the bergamot fruit. As a result, the tea is highly aromatic and the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea. 

Conventionally made with Chinese black tea, Earl Grey is also produced using teas from other parts of the world, and leaves can originate from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India or Africa. The refreshing flavour of Bergamot can also be paired with green tea and Rooibos. 

What is Earl Grey 


Flavour of Bergamot

Earl Grey is famously flavoured and scented with bergamot oil, which is extracted from the bergamot fruit, a member of the citrus fruit family. It is similar to orange, with a rounded shape, with the rind colour ranging from a deep warm yellow to light orange. Bergamot is farmed mainly in France and Italy. Originally, Bergamot was used to treat digestion and skin health problems for Ayurvedic medicinal purposes. However, because of its divine scent, it is now predominately grown for scenting perfume, aromatherapy, culinary dishes, and tea.


Tea Quality

Lower-grade Earl Grey teas, like those in some traditional tea bags found on many supermarket shelves, will be flavoured with citrus flavouring instead of essential oil. The black tea itself will come in the shape of dust inside the bag, offering much less flavour and aroma. Low-quality tea will not be scented with high-quality flavouring. So, the better the tea and essential oil, the better the final product.  


Earl Grey – A Potted History

Earl Grey tea is named after Charles Grey, the second Earl Grey, who was Prime Minister of Britain in the 1830s. Famous for abolishing slavery across the British Empire and the 1832 Reform Act, Earl Grey was somewhat of a celebrity. Numerous accounts suggest the commercial provenance of Earl Grey. One hints at Lord Grey’s wife, Lady Grey, entertaining politicians and prominent individuals by serving Earl Grey tea at functions and benefits. This ‘new’ tea became hugely popular among the upper classes and the rest, as they say, is history. Another account suggests that the addition of bergamot oil was not for aroma and flavour but added to counterbalance the high presence of lime in the water at Howick Hall, the family estate in Northumberland. Whichever story is accurate, perhaps there’s a sense of truth in each, yet Earl Grey tea, as with all tea imported into Britain at the time, was a luxury item, available to just the privileged few. How lucky we are today to have excellent quality tea available on demand?


If you love to drink Earl Grey tea like us, why don’t you discover some of our favourites!?


Tippy Golden Earl Grey Loose-Leaf Tea

One of our best-sellers, this Tippy Golden Earl Grey is a fragrant black tea flavoured with Bergamot. The delicately flowery black tea is aromatic and a delight on its own or with a slice of lemon and honey or sugar.

Tippy Earl Grey 



Special Earl Grey Tea Loose-Leaf Tea

Our Special Earl Grey loose-leaf tea is a well-loved classic. An aromatic and flavoursome cup, it is full-bodied and utterly delicious. Flavoured with Bergamot, this distinctive Indian and Chinese black tea blend is a global favourite that offers a pretty golden-brown cup. 

Special Earl Grey


Joy of Tea Earl Grey Tea Bags

Our Joy of Tea Earl Grey is a delicious leaf-graded Indian black tea with Bergamot. Intense and vigorous in flavour, the real leaf tea is conveniently bagged in a filter teabag that provides all the space with the tea needs to unfurl to deliver great taste. Each teabag has an innovative clip to hold it in place on your cup or mug while brewing and is individually wrapped in an aroma protection sachet for perfect freshness.

Joy of Tea Earl Grey Teabags 


Sencha Earl Grey Loose-Leaf Tea

A must-try for any Earl Grey lover who wants to explore the green tea path, our Sencha Earl Grey is a charming combination of Sencha green tea and Bergamot. This tea blend is here to tantalise the taste buds! The fresh green tea and bergamot flavours are light and refreshing while being flavoursome yet gentle. 

Ronnefeldt Sencha Earl Grey



Princess Grey Loose-Leaf Tea

Our Princess Grey is a gentler approach to Earl Grey. A blend of Darjeeling and Chinese Keemun loose-leaf tea with sparkling fresh Bergamot. It is a full-bodied autumn harvest tea that contains orange peel and cornflower petals.

Ronnefeldt Princess Grey 



Teavelope Earl Grey Tea Bags

A delightfully full-bodied Darjeeling black tea blended with the aroma of fresh Bergamot. Each tea bag is individually wrapped in an aroma protection sachet for perfect freshness and intensity of flavour.

Teavelope Earl Grey Teabags 



Ultimate Earl Grey Tea Hamper

If you can’t decide which Earl Grey tea to choose, why not treat yourself to Ultimate Earl Grey Tea Hamper? The beautiful wicker hamper comes with three of our best-selling loose-leaf Earl Grey teas and includes Princess Grey, Tippy Golden Earl Grey, Special Earl Grey, and a stainless steel tea ball. 

Ultimate Earl Grey Tea Hamper



How to Serve Earl Grey Tea?  

As a general rule, Earl Grey is usually served black or with honey, sugar and a slice of lemon. However, our founder and tea expert Christine Collins suggests that “Earl Grey is actually one of the few teas that work with a little fresh lemon if people prefer a more intense lemon taste”. Yet some folks do love a splash of milk instead of lemon. 

Here at Cup of tea H.Q., we’ve been experimenting with incorporating Earl Grey in more than just tea! Our operations guru, Alex, developed a fantastic recipe for Earl Grey cake. The fluffy sponge cake is perfect with fresh fruit and a nice cup of tea!


Earl Grey Cake Recipe 

Earl Grey cake



  • 20g Earl Grey tea 
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 120g butter 
  • 330g caster sugar 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 120ml buttermilk 
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract


Drizzle Grey Icing: 

  • 100g icing sugar 
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon  
  • Strong cold Earl Grey tea – 1 mug full (1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea) 
  • Fresh fruit to decorate



  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas mark 4
  • Grease and line a loaf tin, then dust the insides with flour 
  • Use a pestle and mortar to grind the tea leaves to a fine powder 
  • Sift the ground tea, flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside 
  • Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy 
  • Add the eggs (one at a time) 
  • Slowly fold in half of the flour mixture until thoroughly combined 
  • Add half the buttermilk and mix well
  • Fold in the remaining flour mix, buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix well
  • Pour the mixture into the tin 
  • Bake the cake for 40–50 minutes, until golden brown and springy 
  • Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely
  • Once the cake is nicely cooled, make the icing
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon zest
  • Add the cold tea a little at a time, stirring thoroughly until the desired consistency of icing
  • Drizzle the glaze all over the cake – we encourage lots of drizzling! 
  • Leave the icing to set, and then decorate with fresh fruit
Posted by cup of tea admin
6th April 2022

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