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Mar 15, 2010 01:38 PM

Best Earl Grey

What's the best brand of Earl Grey tea, and what's the best way to enjoy it?

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  1. That depends entirely on what you're looking for in an Earl Grey. Do you like strong bergamot flavor? Just a hint of it? Do you like the tea itself to be strong, tannic, malty, light? I think there are a lot of good brands but you have to taste them to find out which you like.

    Here's a sampling of Earl Grey teas. I drink the first one listed, English Tea Store's own blend. It has twice the normal amount of bergamot and so is very fragrant and citrusy, and I drink it with milk but no sugar. I do NOT recommend Twinings' Earl Grey. Tastes like someone dumped a bunch of their grandmother's eau de toilette into it. Yuck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LauraGrace

      Just a hint of bergamot is enough for me. I like a light Earl Grey that's good for just drinking straight (no milk or sugar) as well as a stronger one that can stand up to milk and sugar. What would you recommend? (loose tea as well as tea bags)

      I agree that Twinings isn't that great. It's way too bitter.

      1. re: LauraGrace

        it's not as bad as Simpson and Vail's Victorian Earl Grey. that one comes laced with lavender and rose so that it's less like tea, and more like trying to drink liquid potporri!

        1. Lady Grey is a lighter variation with less bergamot plus orange and lemon, but it is also a Twinings blend--at least I haven't seen another version of it in local stores.

          3 Replies
          1. re: DonShirer

            Lady Grey is my favourite!!!!!!!!!! The citrus notes pair beautifully with the other spices in the tea, and Twinnings is the only brand I've tries, but why switch? It's WONDERFUL!!! : )

            1. re: Anna_Sankar

              I first had Twinning's Lady Grey in the loose form, and it was very good. It was sent to me from the UK. I agree that Twinning's Earl Grey isn't great, but the Lady Grey was lovely--subtly aromatic. I've only been able to find it in bags here, though, and it is like dishwater. It's a shadow of the loose version.

              1. re: starlings

                I didn't realize Lady Grey was a Twinings registered trademark, until I looked for it at a bulk tea shop. Luckily, I have found similar blends under the name Duchess Grey and Countess Grey.

          2. I think the best way to enjoy Earl Grey is to buy the high quality black tea you like best and brew the pot with a drop of bergamot oil. I haven't had a single commercial Earl Grey tea that compares with this method.
            You can adjust the bergamot contribution to your personal taste, and you'll be enjoying good tea rather than sweepings that have been flavored to hide their deficiency..

            2 Replies
              1. re: michaelnrdx

                Most health food stores should have it, in addition to places like WholeFoods. You can also find it online from dozens of places.
                The essential oil is powerful stuff so you're literally usually only going to use a single drop or two to flavor a pot of tea. A small eyedropper bottle of the stuff will last quite a while.

            1. Vermont Liberty Tea has a pretty good Earl Grey (...the Cream Earl Grey is excellent too, and I hardly ever go for "cream" teas).

              I like my Earl Grey with a touch of sugar and milk (about 1/3 of the liquid).