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The unique flavor of Earl Grey tea comes from the Bergamot essence that is used in the tea, this is a type of orange and the rind itself is where they extract the oil from instead of the flesh. Some Earl Grey tea’s are very potent and the bergamot can be overpowering and bitter, others are too light and delicate. The trick to brewing Earl Grey tea is to never let it steep more than 3-4 minutes for optimal flavor, it brews fast and in some brands you can steep in less than 60 seconds under boiling hot water and achieve the right balance.
Earl Grey tea is delicious hot, but can be iced and served cold as well. Though the flavor of the Bergamot becomes a little stronger when cold, I do occasionally drink iced Earl Grey tea but this is not very common.
Recently I tried a new brand of Earl Grey tea while I was in Las Vegas, that usurps the Bigelow Earl Grey which was my favorite brand previously.
Here are my reviews of the Earl Grey tea’s I have tasted.
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Numi Earl Grey Aged Tea – I have only tried this brand recently and it rapidly became my favorite brand of Earl Grey Tea, it is very quickly brewed and the flavor of bergamot is not bitter at all. This tea is fantastic with breakfast, plain or as an after dinner tea. The brand says it is one of the only tea’s that you can brew a little darker and it should be able to handle milk added, but I have never tried adding milk to Earl Grey tea, normally Earl Grey is too light and I can’t picture the bergamot and milk flavor combining. This tea is slightly more expensive than the other Earl Grey tea’s listed because it is organic and aged.
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Bigelow Earl Grey Tea – Prior to tasting the Numi Organic Aged Earl Grey, Bigelow Earl Grey had been my favorite for seven years. The tea brews quickly, the bergamot flavor a bit potent but not too strong, though it gets bitter if you brew it dark and this one worked well as an iced tea. I used to drink this every morning in the winter on some weeks as my first drink of the day.
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Stash Earl Grey Tea – Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey tea is still one of my favorites and actually has a more potent bergamot flavor than any other brand I have tried, though it is a little more sweet instead of sour and bitter as long as you brew it lightly and don’t let it steep too long. I once sat down and drank Stash and the Bigelow brands side by side in a taste test, and though I favored the Bigelow Earl Grey slightly more, I would never complain if Stash was the only brand in my cabinet.
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Twinings Earl Grey – I first tasted Twinings Earl Grey tea while dining at Cracker Barrel and thought it was moderate to okay. I later found out that I was drinking the decaf Earl Grey which I am linking to here. This explained why the tea was so much “weaker” than the other brands, but because it is so much lighter and more delicate you can steep it longer. It is a good choice if you are looking for cheaper and especially decaf Earl Grey tea. I also learned that Twinings makes Earl Grey Tea Loose Tea which can buy loose leaf and steep your own tea, but I have not tried this yet so I don’t know how it compares to the teabags I have tried before.
Lipton Earl Grey – Though I think Lipton makes the best tasting “Iced Tea” and I am quite fond of their Cold Brew Tea products, I am not as fond as their Earl Grey. I have tried it before and just don’t like the mixture of black tea’s with bergamot essence and leaves a sour taste in my mouth and a funny aftertaste sometimes. I have only tried it twice, but with several other better tasting brands, I usually pick a different tea if this is the only Earl Grey available to me.
This was an honest and fair review of all of the Earl Grey tea brands that I have tried to date, I will add more brands if I try them. I have not tried Tazo Earl Grey, even though that is a popular brand and it is on my to do list next time I am at Starbucks. If you drink Earl Grey tea and have a favorite brand, whether it is one listed here or one I have not yet tried, feel free to share it here. I would be happy to try it and review it myself.
The Tao of Tea Blue Flower Earl Gray looked pretty good too.
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