What is Earl Grey?
What is Earl Grey tea?
By Isabelle Wilkinson
Since our first days brewing from our Citroen-H van, people have asked if we serve Earl Grey. Our answer for a long while was no, not yet - we wanted to do it properly. Among the first of our flavoured teas, we wanted our Earl Grey to be something we could be proud of - a good and proper tea like the rest. Last spring, after many, many rounds of tastings, we finally landed on something wonderfully simple and launched it as our 29th tea.
Where is Good & Proper Earl Grey tea from?
Earl Grey is a black tea which has been flavoured with bergamot oil, taken from the rind of this Sicilian citrus fruit. During the course of the development of our Earl Grey, we tried multiple different black tea bases in different blends and with different levels of oiling. In the end, we opted for something wonderfully simple - our Earl Grey loose leaf black tea is made up of a single-origin, Ceylon black tea base, from the remote Uva region in Sri Lanka (read more about this tea-growing region here), which is known for producing teas with natural citrus and pine notes, which naturally work well with the bergamot. The oil itself is extracted from the skin of the bergamot fruit, before being reduced to a concentrate and then tumbled through the tea and allowed to settle. During this process the majority of the liquid evaporates off the leaves, leaving the residual flavour behind. When brewed, both the tea and oil infuse into the water, giving the liquor that beautiful orange colour and distinct, aromatic flavour. The combination of the black tea and bergamot is the perfect balance of body and aroma - not overtly fragrant but with enough of the spicy hit of bergamot to make it a true earl grey. We also add blue cornflowers to our Earl Grey, but just because we love the way they look.
How to brew Earl Grey tea
As with all of our teas, we provide brewing instructions for how to make the most delicious cup. As Earl Grey has a Ceylon base, it is best brewed like other black teas - at a high temperature for a longer period of time than other tea types, such as greens, oolongs and whites. We recommend brewing 3.5g dried leaf (2 tsp), per 200ml teapot, in just before boiling 98C water for 3 minutes.
The result is a beautiful amber liquor and the perfect balance of body and fragrant aroma.
How best to drink Earl Grey
When it came to launching our Earl Grey in 2017, there was the much debated subject of how best to enjoy it. So we asked for your thoughts on the ultimate question - milk or no milk?
58% of you said that you prefer a splash of your milk with your Earl Grey, whilst 30% said that they enjoy it best, drunk with milk. 12% said that they like to take their Earl Grey with a slice of lemon. We think that our particular Earl Grey tastes delicious black, but we’d have to agree with the majority of you, that there is nothing better than a pot at tea time with a delicious cake and a good book - brewed with freshly drawn water, just off the boil, then poured over a dash of semi-skimmed milk.
How much caffeine is there in Earl Grey?
Due to its black tea base, a cup of Earl Grey contains a reasonable amount of caffeine. You can read more about how much caffeine you can find in a cup of tea, in our article here. Whilst coffee and tea both contain levels of caffeine when drunk, tea also contains an amino acid called l-theanine which has calming properties that leave the drinker feeling refreshed, but without the jittery effect you might experience with coffee.
Earl Grey is also sometimes heralded for its proposed health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, and lowering cholesterol, thanks to the presence of bergamot.
Each of our teas are numbered, in the order that we added them to the G&P lineup. Earl Grey is #29, the most recent addition to our tea collection, and after launching it in spring 2017, we are delighted to know that our tea drinkers love it every bit as much as we do.
'I really love Earl Grey tea and always try different blends. Good & Proper's Earl Grey tea is the smokiest and most aromatic I've found and makes my afternoons considerably better. It's also the prettiest thanks to the blue cornflowers.' - Alexandra