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How to Choose a Great Earl Grey Tea

We have Earl Grey Teas including these Teas and Collections: Earl Grey Black Tea, and Earl Grey Event Box, and Earl Grey Loose Leaf Tea Canister, and Earl Grey Ribbon Box
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Choosing High-Quality Tea for Optimal Flavor and Enjoyment

The history of Earl Grey tea is tied up in legends that give it an air of mystery. Purported to be a blend made specifically for the second Earl Grey, a British Prime Minister in the 1830s, this distinctive tea type combines black tea leaves with the flavor of bergamot orange. This pairing may have been created by a grateful Chinese mandarin or used to counteract the hard water near where Lord Grey lived. Whatever the case, Earl Grey is now enjoyed in many countries around the world.

Earl Grey Characteristics

Any black tea flavored with bergamot can be called Earl Grey. Some blends are based solely in Chinese teas while others hail from India, Africa or a mix of origins. This creates a wide spectrum of flavors with subtle differences between types. However, all share certain traits such as a pleasing richness, astringent taste and a touch of citrus zip from the bergamot. This makes the brew suitable for serving with breakfast, dessert, snacks or even spicy meals such as chili and curry.

Regional and brand-specific varieties of Earl Grey offer even more choices. In France, the tea is blended with lavender flowers. The English prefer a smoky brew and will often use Chinese Lapsang Souchong tea as a base. The tea you settle on for your own enjoyment depends on what you'll be serving it with and what flavor you're most in the mood for.

Selecting the Best Earl Grey Tea

Mass-produced tea bags are usually not the best choice when it comes to tea. Many are made using tea fannings or dust, the lowest possible grade of tea, and don't have the full taste that makes Earl Grey so pleasing. If you prefer the convenience of bags, look for gourmet, premium or organic blends and make sure that they smell fresh, not stale.

Loose Earl Grey tea leaves should also have a strong aroma as well as a bit of shine or luster. Choose leaves that are as intact as possible and watch the color of the water as they brew. Avoid loose blends with too many broken leaves. Black teas should create a deep red or amber liquid after about five minutes of steeping. Test the flavor of the tea to determine whether or not it's strong enough. If you find that the tea comes out weak or stale, move on to another variety.

Since there are so many different blends of Earl Grey, it may take some trial and error to find the one you like best. Blends made primarily with Indian teas will have malt overtones while Chinese teas may be floral, fruity or smoky. Find your favorite and stock up on the premium blends from Tea Forté.

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