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.
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.