Earl Grey Tea

Tony Bowles
Earl grey tea – why it is so amazing?

Earl Grey tea- the ultimate love of the classic tea lovers! It is a tea habit that became a tradition and part of the culture. People all over the world have cherished this classic tea innovation over many years. In a simple definition, it is the black tea flavored with the oil of bergamot fruit. This combination results in a distinctive citrusy flavor to the tea, and throughout history, this tea has been linked with upper-class tea cultures, power, and social status. The tea is regarded as a delicacy suited for any occasion, however, when looking into history it has commonly been associated with royals and high profile events.

duchess earl grey tea

History of Earl Grey tea

When eyeing into history, there are many stories that explain the origin of earl grey tea. Out of which most common story is attached with the British Prime Minister Charles Grey or the 2nd Earl of the Grey in 1830s. His ruling period is considered to be an era that had significant reforms such as policies to abolish slavery, removal of trade monopoly that held by East India company. These policy decisions enabled the fast growth of the international trade, including the growth of the tea industry from China to all over the world. With the growth of the trade, tea became more available to British consumers instead of being a luxury commodity. The story says that Charles Grey was gifted with a very special tea inherited by Chinese people, to show gratitude for his service. Later this tea type became popular among British tea drinkers, especially the upper social class and was named after the prime minister as "Earl Grey". When analyzing the history of tea culture, Earl Grey tea can be identified as one of the oldest versions of tea flavoring and this has not been trademarked by its creators. Therefore, many tea traders and brands have come up with their own verities of Earl Grey tea and it has come a long way since its inception.

Why bergamot oil is so special?

Bergamot or Citrus bergamia is a citrus fruit commonly grown in countries like Italy and France and the bergamot oil is extracted from the rind of bergamot fruit. The extracts of bergamot fruit have commonly been used to scent foods, perfumes, and cosmetics. The essential oils that are extracted from bergamot peel have very high economic value due to its unique fragrance and the freshness. Applications of these essences can be found not only in the food industry but also in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. When you sip a cup of earl grey tea it is worthwhile to know that this tea is not only refreshing but also packed with loads of health benefits. It is known that bergamot oil is one of the best essential oils to alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety.

How the oil is extracted?

When it comes to extraction of Bergamot oil few techniques such as steam – distillation or expression (cold pressing) techniques can be used. According to literature, expression technique is commonly recommended for essential oil extraction of citrus fruits such as Bergamot, mainly because the process can preserve many of desirable chemical compounds. Today, the extraction process is mainly achieved through machines that will first send the fruit through a series of stages to release the essential oils from the rind while the device is rotated. Then the centrifugal forces are used to separate the essential oil from the other fruit juice compounds.

Preparation and brewing

This signature tea blend is prepared by gentle spraying of bergamot oil over the black tea leaves and allowing it to rest or settle for a while, preferably in a closed container. This technique is known to be more efficient in flavoring the tea leaves, especially in today’s large-scale tea productions. Alternatively, another technique is used simply by adding rinds of bergamot orange into tea and thereby the tea leaves will absorb the essential oils slowly during storage and brewing.

Earl Grey tea is prepared by mild brewing, mainly due to the added flavor to the black tea. Therefore, it is recommended to brew the tea for 3 to 4 minutes using water at around 90 degrees of Celsius. This tea is recommended to serve without added sugar, however, sometimes consumed along with other flavors such as cream or honey. Earl Grey tea is commonly paired with lemon, lavender and many other herbal and fruit ingredients. Further, the classic “Earl Grey” version is consumed without any further additives.


Health benefits of Black tea

Black tea is a nature’s mystic gift that helps to refresh your mind and body. Especially today, with much biomedical research, it has been proved that tea is not only a refreshing beverage but also a healing beverage. All of these benefits are derived as a result of very special chemical composition in tea leaves. A typical cup of tea contains mostly water and then the water-soluble compounds that comes from tea leaves to the brew. If we analyze the chemistry inside this, “Polyphenols” is the major water-soluble chemical component found in tea and contributes most to the taste of tea. In addition to that, the tea brew contains caffeine, amino acids, carbohydrates and some other compounds that are available in trace amounts. The caffeine content of black tea is around 3-4g per 100g of dry weight and this is less than that of coffee.

Benefits of all these compounds come in many ways. The profound benefit is hydration as we consume a majority of water with a cup of tea. But on the other hand, much-valued benefits are coming with the chemical compounds such as polyphenols and amino acids. We have list down below, some of the common benefits associated with the drinking of black tea.

  • Tea is hydrating: as we have indicated earlier, tea is a flavourful way to get the daily intake of water to your body.
  • Tea is non-caloric: when consuming tea, you don't need to worry about the additional calories that might come along with the drink as tea contains almost zero calories. 
  • Tea contains beneficial antioxidants – Tea Polyphenols are well known for its anti-oxidant properties. Anti-oxidants have the ability to neutralize free radicals inside the human body and also capable of helping body cells to regenerate and repair.
  • Tea is a mild stimulator: the beverage has simulative properties due to the availability of caffeine. However, it is important to know that tea caffeine is only a mild stimulator with associated calming properties, mainly because of the joint effect of tea and amino acids. 
  • Tea can protect you from many diseases: tea is known to have preventive impacts for many diseases such as cancers, diabetes and heart diseases. 


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Rice Casserole Recipe

Tony Bowles

Rice Casserole

Here is a tasty dish full of spices for your dinner.

Enjoy your meal

This rice casserole goes well with Duchess Earl Grey Tea.

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Types of Tea

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All tea, whatever the variety, comes from the same plant - the Camellia Sinensis. The different characters of the teas, along with their chemical composition and appearance, are created through the oxidisation process and the way the leaves are plucked. The other factors that affect the taste of the tea are: soil, climate, altitude and latitude of the tea plantation.

White tea

White tea is given it's name due to the silver hairs on the leaves that give it it's white appearance. The leaves are always picked by hand while the buds are in their new growth phase and before they are fully opened. In recent studies, white tea has been found to be beneficial to health, due to the high levels of antioxidants present. This is because of the gentle drying, natural withering process and lack of any real processing. White tea is best served without milk and has a deliciously light refreshing taste.

Green tea

When the cells in a tea leaf are broken, the enzymes absorb oxygen and oxidisation takes place. This causes the leaves to turn a dark colour. With green tea, the leaves are steamed so that the enzymes are disabled, this allows the tea to be free from oxidisation.

There are notable health benefits from green tea including weight loss and the boosting of the body's metabolism. The reasons behind this are that the leaves are plucked once the bud has fully opened and there is very little in the way of processing. This allows the leaves to retain high levels of antioxidants.


Most tea that is consumed is produced by steeping the leaves in water and then drinking the water that has been flavoured. Matcha is different in that the tea leaves are ground into a fine powder and the powder is consumed as well. Matcha can be brewed in different ways and since it was grown exclusively in Japan, the brewing method follows certain guidelines that are carried out in Japanese ceremonies. 

Matcha in it's traditional form is made from Gyokuro leaves. These leaves are kept shaded from sunlight for about three weeks before they are picked. The shading of the leaves produces a chlorophyll which is higher than the amount which is normally found in tea leaves. When the leaves are picked, they are steamed so that the enzymes are disabled. This disabling of the enzymes prevents the leaves from becoming oxidised. The leaves are then dried and all the veins and stems are removed. This process produces a very pure tea leaf which goes by the name of 'Tencha'. This resulting leaf is then ground into a fine powder and is called 'Matcha'. If you want information on how to prepare and brew Matcha, then please follow this link. Brewing Matcha.

Pouchong tea

Pouchong tea has a more of a smoother flavour than Oolong, but a stronger flavour than Green tea. This is achieved by exposing the leaves to a oxidisation process, where only 8 to 10% oxidisation takes place. The leaves are then exposed to withering from the sun as well as indoors, followed by rolling, panning and drying. Pouchong tea is enjoyable and has a delicate and light taste. 

Oolong tea

Oolong tea is only partially oxidised, this is achieved by placing paper or cloth on the leaves during the oxidisation process. Oolong tea differs depending on the region where the tea is grown, and it is up to the skill of the producer to maintain a consistency in the taste of the tea.

Oolong tea is sometimes referred to as Wulong, but there is no difference in the tea at all, it is simply a case of different names. Oolong tea also has health benefits in terms of weigh loss and boosting the body's metabolism.

Black tea

Black tea is the most well known of all the tea varieties in the west. The leaves are fully oxidised, meaning that the enzymes have fully absorbed oxygen, and this gives it it's dark colour and taste. The taste of the tea will vary depending on where it's grown, and it is the responsibility of the producers to maintain consistency in the taste. If there are various types of black tea blended together, then the name given to the resulting blend is called 'Breakfast tea'.

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English Royal Tea - HRH Prince Henry and Rachel Meghan Markle

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What a good way to enjoy the Royal wedding by drinking a cup of English Royal teaThis blend has such a delightful taste, it can be enjoyed with or without milk. If enjoying this English Royal tea without milk, a slice of lemon makes a good compliment. The ingredients are: soft Jasmine green tea, Assam, Kenyan and Ceylon Earl Grey, combining  to make this wonderful blend. 

The grade of the leaves is Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP) and are blend of Orthodox, CTC and Traditional Pan fired Green Tea. 

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Loose Leaf Tea and Tea Bags

Tony Bowles

The leaves that are found in most tea bags are referred to as fannings or dust. When the tea leaves are going through the  process, dust falls to the ground and it is this dust that is swept up and placed into tea bags. It is therefore the lowest grade of tea and is suitable for people who are not that bothered about the taste and just want a quick cuppa with the addition of milk and sugar.

With loose leaf tea, the leaves are whole and when given room to expand, they are more able to absorb water. This enables the leaves to produce a full bodied flavour, along with a full aroma and plenty of antioxidants (vitamins and minerals).

Well known brands of tea bags bought from a grocery store will always taste the same. This is because they contain a blend of tea from around the world. Loose leaf tea may be sourced from a single region or even a single estate and it's flavour may vary depending on the season when the tea was harvested.

Loose leaf tea is picked by hand (women do the picking because of their small fingers) and then the tea is hand sorted to select the best leaves. Tea that is intended for tea bags is harvested by machine and is then packed into boxes and stored in warehouses which can be for  lengthy periods of time.

Steeping is the term used when tea leaves are placed into heated water, so that they can release their flavour and nutrients. Loose leaf tea can be steeped several times, so you can get three pots of tea from the same leaves. A tea bag can only be steeped once and most tea bags are made from paper that has been bleached, this can affect the taste of the tea.

Most people will believe that making tea from leaves is a lot of hassle and is not worth it when you can simply dunk a bag in a cup. This is simply not true and there are teapots which have strainers built into them which also allow the tea plenty of room to infuse. You can either empty the used leaves into the bin or if you have a garden, they will do wonders for your roses!



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