Earl Grey tea is one of the most well-known beverages in the world. Named after British Prime Minister Charles Grey, or the 2nd Earl Grey during the 17th century, it is hailed as the quintessential English Tea. But what most people don’t know is that its origins root from Chinese tea masters who expertly crafted new tea blends to allure western traders and the upper class.
The Grey family collaborated with Chinese tea experts to produce a unique blend of tea designed to counteract the lime flavor that was predominantly present in the water of their estate. Black tea was combined with bergamot orange to produce the Earl Grey tea, making it one of the most recognized teas around the globe for its slightly smoky, citrusy, and fragrant taste. It’s hailed for its multiple health benefits which include heart and digestive health. Its rich history mirrors a fascinating intersection of the Far East and Western empires, and mostly consumed by royals and a staple beverage at high profile functions and events.
Today it is enjoyed in the morning and at night. Find out the secrets to making yourself a perfect cup of the best Earl Grey tea every time.
Unravel the secrets to a perfect cup of Earl Grey tea
It’s always advisable to ask your tea seller how to brew a distinct Earl Grey blend. Earl Grey teas can vary so the temperatures and steeping times may need to be conformed to produce the finest flavor.
Start with quality water
Consider using only pure, filtered, or fresh spring water to brew your Earl Grey tea. Springwater is generally the best quality that will yield spectacular taste results. Avoid distilled or hot tap water or water that has been previously boiled as the flavors will not develop well here.
Water for making tea should always be heated in a non-reactive container or vessel such as a glass or stainless steel pot and kettle. This counters any impurities that can blend with the tea.
It’s all about the temperature
Start with brewing Earl Grey black teas at a minimum of 200 F. For Earl Grey blended with green teas, brew it at a lower temperature starting at 150 F. Black-based teas always brew better at a higher temperature. Consider investing in a tea kettle with a built-in thermometer to bring out the best results. An easy and more economical way to find out the temperature is to use the bubbles in the pot as a gauge. Water simmers from between 190 F to 208 F. Brew your Earl Grey black tea with water before it reaches a rolling boil. For a green-based Earl Grey remove the water from the source of heat or when small bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pot.
It’s all about proportions
If you are working with loose tea leaves, begin with approximately 2 grams for every 8 ounces of water. Start with less, because you can always work your way up to make a stronger cup. The exact measurements are dependent on how strong you prefer your tea, how large of a cup you are using, or how many teacups does your vessel hold. For those who live an active lifestyle, tea bags offer a more precise measurement. The running rule for loose tea is one teaspoon for every 6-ounce teacup or two teaspoons for an 8-ounce glass to make refreshing iced tea. Feel free to adjust the measurements to suit your taste and fit your cup, mug, or glass.
To steep means to soak tea in water to extract its flavor. It is suggested to use a lid to trap the heat in your cup and enhance the taste of Earl Grey tea. The longer you let your tea steep, the stronger the flavors will be. But be aware that teas that have been allowed to steep or brew too long may lead to a bitter taste. Ideally, steep Earl Grey teas between 3 to 4 minutes. Sample the tea after it has been steeped for 2 minutes. Taste every 30 seconds thereafter to guarantee the best cup of tea that meets your standards.
Earl Grey tea can be appreciated on its own or with the addition of lemon, sugar, honey, and milk. If you are new to Earl Grey tea, try tasting it plain without any additives and straight from the pot. This is generally the best way to understand its profiles. Tea is a delicate beverage and should be served at the right temperature to highlight its essence. Try warming the pot, mug, or cup first before steeping to ensure that the temperatures remain consistent. Pour a small amount of hot water into your chosen vessel, swirl, and pour it out. Traditionally, Earl Grey tea is served with a lemon wedge and sugar to taste to bring out its crisp, bright flavors and to showcase its rich deep brown color.
Earl Grey tea is a beloved beverage that combines the deep malty essence of black tea and the refreshing citrusy tones of herbal and floral teas. The secret to a perfect cup is by using the purest water, heating it in a non-reactive vessel, using the right proportions of tea leaves, and steeping it for the advised time.
Served the right way, Earl Grey tea delivers the best of both worlds, by providing a rich flavor and aroma that is not only pleasant to drink but provides multiple health benefits that make it not just a tasty drink but an excellent choice for your overall well being.