If you’re a fan of black tea, you must have heard of the Earl Grey tea. If not, this is your chance to find out all you need to know about this richly-flavored black tea. Read about its health benefits and side effects, as well.
About Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea is one of the most popular types of black tea, drunk by people all around the world. It has a refreshing, citrusy flavor thanks to the bergamot orange oil added in its composition. The bergamot orange is the fruit of a citrus tree which blooms during winter; it is commercially cultivated in Italy. The bergamot oil, which is responsible for the tea’s citrusy flavor, is extracted from the skin of the fruit.
In America, it is sometimes misspelled as “Earl Gray”. However, this is not the generally accepted spelling of the tea’s name.
The Earl Grey tea is often drank during breakfast or brunch. It makes a good team with different sweets and pastries. It is also used to add flavor to various types of cakes.
History of Earl Grey tea
The Earl Grey tea is named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl of Britain, who was Prime Minister during the 1830s. As to why it was named after him, one legend says that a Chinese merchant gave this tea to Lord Grey to show his gratefulness, as one of the lord’s men had saved his son from drowning. However, there are doubts related to the authenticity of this story, as Lord Grey had never been to China, and the Chinese hadn’t yet discovered about the use of bergamot oil as a tea ingredient.
It is possible that, seeing as Earl Grey tea was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century, it was simply named after a politician who was quite well-known at that time.
According to the Grey family, Lady Grey served Earl Grey tea to various guests. As it became more and more popular, she was asked if the Earl Grey tea could be sold. This is how it became a brand of the Twinings tea company.
Varieties of Earl Grey tea
Considering how popular the Earl Grey tea is, it isn’t surprising that there are currently quite a few varieties of this tea.
One of the well-known varieties of Earl Grey tea is Lady Grey, named after Mary Elizabeth Grey, the wife of Lord Grey. Other flavors are added to the usual Earl Grey tea. Some varieties of Lady Grey include adding blue cornflower blossoms, lavender or Seville oranges.
Another type of the Earl Grey tea is the Russian Earl Grey. To the usual ingredients, it adds citrus peels, vodka, and lemon grass.
Other types of Earl Grey tea include flowers among its ingredients. One of them is the French Earl Grey, which uses rose petals.
There are some types of Earl Grey tea where the usual black tea leaves are replaced with something else. One example is Earl Grey Green, where the bergamot oil is combined with green leaves instead of the black ones. Another example is Rooibos Earl Grey, possibly originating from Malaysia. In this case, the black leaves are replaced with Rooibos, a South-African herbal plant.
Also, in various coffee shops and tea shops, you can find a drink called London Fog. It is a “tea latte” and its ingredients are Earl Grey tea, steamed milk and vanilla syrup.
How to prepare Earl Grey Tea
For a cup of Earl Grey tea, use one teaspoon of tea leaves, or one regular-sized teabag. Boil the water before pouring it into the cup, and then let it steep for about 5 minutes. Then, remove the tea leaves or teabag.
Based on your preferences, you can add sugar, lemon or milk to your cup of Earl Grey tea.
Benefits of Earl Grey Tea
The Earl Grey tea comes with many health benefits, both thanks to the black tea leaves and the bergamot oil.
First, the antioxidants in its composition strengthen your immune system. They help keep your body young and healthy, protecting it from various viruses. This is why people who have caught a cold or the flu, or simply have a fever, drink Earl Grey tea.
The Earl Grey tea has a calming effect thanks to the bergamot oil in its composition. It helps improve your mood by fighting against anxiety, depression, stress, and mood swings.
The bergamot oil in the Earl Grey tea also helps you with digestion. It’s useful when suffering from indigestion, nausea and colic. It is also recommended in the case of urinary tract infections and intestinal problems.
Earl Grey tea also helps you maintain a good oral hygiene. It fights against tooth decay and oral infections, and keeps the cavities away.
Side effects of Earl Grey tea
Despite its many health benefits, consumption of Earl Grey tea can have a few side effects, as well.
The caffeine found in the composition of Earl Grey tea can affect you negatively, especially if caffeine isn’t good for your body. To some people it may induce anxiety and heart palpitations. It can also increase blood pressure, making it bad for people who already have a high blood pressure.
Also, if you drink a large amount of Earl Grey tea for a long time and suddenly, you stop, you might experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms. They include headaches that can last for up to a week, difficulty in concentrating, nausea, depression and anxiety.
Drinking a large amount of Earl Grey tea can lead to side effects, as well. You might end up suffering from headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, dizziness, and irregular heartbeats. Therefore, make sure you don’t drink more than six cups of any tea, including Earl Grey tea.
Stay healthy by drinking this rich and citrusy-flavored black tea, the Earl Grey tea. Keep an eye on the side effects, but don’t let them scare you, as there are many more health benefits. So relax and enjoy your cup of Earl Grey tea with some cookies!