The Legacy of Earl Grey Tea: A Journey through Time

Jan 23, 2024
A cup of Earl Grey tea in a table set-up

Let's talk about one of the most famous teas on the planet: Earl Grey. Upon hearing the name, many of us instantly recall a comforting citrus aroma wafting from a steaming cup. But how many of us know the captivating story of its origin? So, here are the things you must know about Earl Grey tea origin.

Did you know that Earl Grey tea is named after a famous British prime minister, Charles Grey? He was the 2nd Earl Grey, and his tea has been a big part of British culture for a while now. In addition to being an enthusiastic tea drinker, Charles Grey served as the British Prime Minister in the early nineteenth century because he belonged to the famous Grey family, which had important roles in British history.
The legend suggests that Earl Grey was presented with a unique tea infused with the vibrant aroma of bergamot oranges during his diplomatic tenure in China. Grey became addicted to this tea and wished to recreate the tea to suit the English palate.

Another theory suggests a different story. According to it, Earl Grey tea was specially developed to suit the water in the area where the Grey family resided. The story says this water had a particular lime character, and the citrusy black tea was meant to set off this limey condition. The Grey family not only started enjoying this tea but also started to introduce this citrusy tea to their guests. Their guests, of course, loved this refreshing tea, and thus began the legacy of Earl Grey tea!
But no matter where it came from, there's no denying the impact of this British tea on our lives. This citrusy tea's origin is strongly linked to the Grey family, and it was delicious enough to become a timeless tea tradition. Whether you're in bustling London or chilling in the countryside, this tea is everywhere. It's incredible to think how this tea went from a family tradition to an everyday drink.
So, next time you brew a pot of Earl Grey, remember, you're not just drinking tea; you're sipping on a rich history that's as fascinating as the aroma wafting from your cup.
With the incredible popularity of Earl Grey tea, many other Earl Grey-inspired tea types have also emerged. Some examples are Lady Grey tea, Lavender Earl Grey, and Rooibos Earl Grey.
With that brief look into the history, let's clarify some of the most common Earl Grey queries in the coming paragraphs.

Does Earl Grey Have Caffeine?

Now, I bet you've pondered this while sipping a cup yourself: Does Earl Grey have caffeine? The short answer is, yes, it does. Wondering how? If we refer to the Earl Grey Black tea, the tea base contains caffeine, making your Earl Grey tea contain caffeine. So, while you're enjoying that unique citrus flavour, thanks to the bergamot orange, you're also getting a gentle caffeine kick. According to literature, a single cup of Earl Grey could contain 40 to 120 milligrams of caffeine. However, as we have mentioned in our previous articles, the amount of caffeine available in your cup may vary depending on many factors, including the brewing parameters.

What about Decaf Earl Grey Tea?

For all the tea enthusiasts out there, the topic of decaf tea is often met with raised eyebrows. Decaf Earl Grey tea? Is that even a thing? It is time to explore and reveal
A cup of Earl Grey tea in a table set-up
When we think of tea, mainly British tea, images of the iconic 'earl grey hot' cuppa, enjoyed by many prime ministers, immediately emerge. And let's not forget the Grey family, who have left an indelible mark on British history, not just in politics but in our tea cups too! The delightful citrus flavour we've come to associate with Earl Grey largely owes its charm to the bergamot orange. But what happens when you want to enjoy this classic without the caffeine jolt?
The answer is decaf Earl Grey tea, the hero for those late-night teatime cravings or anyone sensitive to caffeine. This tea ensures you get the same iconic flavour, flavoured with bergamot oil, without the usual caffeine accompanying black tea. Decaf versions undergo a unique process to remove the caffeine while ensuring the tea's essence remains intact.
It allows you to indulge in this beloved tea blend's rich history and taste anytime you fancy, minus the caffeine buzz.
Cheers to inclusive tea times!

What to Pair with Earl Grey Tea?

Pairing foods with Earl Grey tea can be a delightful experience. The tea's distinct flavour profile complements a variety of dishes. Here are some beautiful options for pairing with Earl Grey tea:
• Scones & Finger Sandwiches: Pairing this tea with scones or delicate finger sandwiches is an absolute delight. The citrus undertones of the bergamot complement the creaminess of traditional clotted cream or the savoury notes of cucumber sandwiches. You can even bake some lavender scones, harmonising with Earl Grey's aromatic qualities.
• Citrus Desserts: Earl Grey's signature bergamot flavour pairs wonderfully with citrusy desserts like lemon tarts, orange-infused cakes, or grapefruit sorbets. Another fun pairing is with desserts infused with Seville oranges. The subtle tang of these oranges dances harmoniously with the bergamot, making for a delightful gastronomic experience.
• Shortbread Cookies: The subtle sweetness of shortbread cookies complements the tea's floral notes. Dip them in your Earl Grey for an added treat.
• Honey: A drizzle of honey in your Earl Grey can enhance its sweetness and add depth to the flavour.


Unveiling the tale behind Earl Grey tea's origin, we've journeyed from the lofty halls of British governance to the cosy corners of evening teatime. This tea, with a hint of citrus and named after Charles Grey, is more than just a pleasant aroma. It's about history, culture, and how our love for tea keeps changing. As we sip on our favourite cup, caffeinated or not, we're not just indulging our taste buds; we're relishing a rich tapestry woven with tales from the past. Cheers to every aromatic brew and the stories it holds!

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