Fragrant and special. Do not consume daily.
Black tea* » Indian** » Ceylon teas (Sri Lanka), ★★★
Earl Grey is a Sri Lankan (Ceylon) tea blended with highly-fragrant bergamot oil.
The blending process is crucial to the final taste, and every tea manufacturer will blend their Earl Grey differently. This blend, from T2 in Australia, is particularly pungent.
Unfortunately, bergamot oil is slightly toxic. Studies have shown that it interferes with any medicines you might be taking, and makes your skin blush and sunburn more easily. Check this example from Wikipedia:
In one case study, a patient who consumed four litres of Earl Grey tea per day reported muscle cramps, which were attributed to the function of the bergapten in bergamot oil as a potassium channel blocker. The symptoms subsided upon reducing his consumption of Earl Grey tea to one litre per day.
I thus remove two stars. Drink it only occasionally.
That said, Earl Grey pairs well with either milk (best in winter) or a slice of lemon (very refreshing in summer). It suits traditional, British tea/garden party in summer, and ices well, too!
I’m don’t usually support adulterated tea (see my reviews of Gorgeous Geisha or Ginger Baimudan) but I do like Earl Grey. This is one of few tea-innovations that, taste-wise, the West should be proud of—even if it isn’t good for your health. ★★★
* It’s technically not a Scented Tea because the fragrances have been blended with the leaf and not infused.
** The “Indian” branch of my Tea Types 2012 chart represents teas from the Indian subcontinent (of which Sri Lanka and three Indian regions are all sub-categories). It’s geographically rational, but politically wrong. I do this because tea trees don’t care about politics.
2 thoughts on “Black tea: Earl Grey”
Good to know this about Early Grey tea. The idea of drinking 4l/day, let alone 1, makes me shudder though. I like it in very small quantities.
Small quantities of anything are generally best. Everything should be enjoyed in appropriate quantities!
I’m sure 4 litres is an extreme case, but it is one rare example that highlights the side-effects of bergamot oil.