How to Make Earl Grey Tea Properly (Hot & Iced)

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Earl Grey is a black tea flavored with bergamot and one of the most popular teas in the US. See how easy it is to brew a proper cup of Earl Grey, hot and iced.

How to Make Earl Grey Properly

Earl Grey Tea

  • Earl Grey is a black tea flavored with bergamot, a citrus fruit from Italy that is grown throughout the Mediterranean. 
  • There’s caffeine in Earl Grey.
  • Earl Grey tea is made by mixing black tea, usually Assam or Ceylon, with bergamot peel, but now it’s usually made with bergamot essential oil.
  • Expensive Earl Grey is usually made with bergamot from Calabria, Italy.
  • Earl Grey is usually had with milk and sugar in the US.
  • It’s usually had with lemon and sugar in the UK.
  • There are a few stories about where Earl Grey tea got its name, but most agree that the tea was named after Charles Grey, the second Earl of Grey, in the nineteenth century who was gifted the tea blend.

RELATED: How to Make English Breakfast Tea Properly

Earl Grey Brewing Guide

TO MAKE HOT EARL GREY TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose Earl Grey or 1 tea sachet
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
208°F
STEEP TIME:
5 minutes

TO MAKE COLD BREW EARL GREY TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose Earl Grey or 1 tea sachet
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
Cold water
STEEP TIME:
12 hours

What You’ll Need

TO MAKE HOT EARL GREY TEA

TO MAKE COLD BREW EARL GREY TEA

My Teapot Pick:

Porcelain Teapot with Infuser

Photo Credit: amazon.com

A great everyday teapot with a good-sized stainless steel infuser.
SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
Pouring Earl Grey tea into a mug

How to Make Hot Earl Grey Tea Properly

STEP 1: Boil water.

Good tea depends on the water you use to make it.

The best way to make sure your tea tastes better is to boil filtered water instead of just boiling tap water.

It’s best to boil water using an electric kettle with a temperature setting. I set it to 208°F.

Boil a more water than what you’ll steep for the tea since you’ll need it for the next step. 

RELATED: Best Water Filters for Tea

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Pour some of the freshly boiled hot water into a teapot and swirl the water around. Throw out the water.

This step is always included when I want to brew tea properly. Warming up the teapot keeps the boiled water hot so that there isn’t a big temperature drop when brewing the tea.

STEP 3: Put Earl Grey tea into teapot and add hot water.

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

I steep all black teas for 5 minutes so I do the same for Earl Grey. 

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: If you want a stronger cup of Earl Grey, brew more tea instead of steeping it for longer. Brewing it for longer can make your tea bitter and astringent.

Make sure to keep the teapot covered so the water stays nice and hot.

STEP 5: Strain Earl Grey leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.

At this point, you can add milk, sugar, or lemon if you prefer. Don’t add all three though since lemon will make the milk curdle.

Cold Brew Iced Earl Grey Tea

How to Make it Iced Properly

Cold brewed iced tea is the best iced tea! The flavor is so much better this way than any other iced tea method I’ve tried.

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

STEP 1: Put Earl Grey tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.

It’s the same formula for making hot and iced Earl Grey.

Put Earl Grey tea and cool or room temperature filtered water into a pitcher. I’m using this glass teapot with a strainer for cold brew but to make it even easier, use a cold brew glass pitcher.

Use filtered water if possible for the best tasting cold brewed tea.

RELATED: Best Water Filters for Tea

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Cold brewing is a gentler process so your tea will taste nice and smooth, without any bitterness.

STEP 3: Strain Earl Grey tea leaves and pour tea into a cup.

Ice is optional when it comes to cold brewed tea since it’s already chilled.

Milk and simple syrup or lemon is also optional.

If you want to sweeten your Earl Grey, use simple syrup (half water, half sugar). It’ll be the easiest to incorporate into your iced tea. 

You can easily make simple sugar at home by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

EARL GREY VARIATIONS 

  • London Fog
    A tea latte made with Earl Grey, frothed milk, vanilla extract, and sweetened with sugar.
  • Lady Grey
    Earl Grey with lemon and orange peel.
  • Red Earl Grey
    A variation that uses caffeine-free rooibos tea with bergamot oil.
  • Russian Earl Grey
    Earl Grey with orange peel and orange flavoring.

RELATED: London Fog Frappuccino

EARL GREY TEA TIPS

  • Use loose Earl Grey tea instead of tea bags for a better quality cup of tea.
  • For a stronger cup of Earl Grey, add a 1/2 teaspoon more tea. 
  • Oversteeping can make your tea bitter. Don’t brew it for more than 5 minutes.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

What does Earl Grey taste like?

The bergamot in Earl Grey gives the tea lightly sweet citrus notes which balances the full body of the black tea.

Is there caffeine?

There is caffeine in Earl Grey tea since it’s made with a black tea base. (Black tea has caffeine.)

I don’t have loose tea, how many tea sachets or tea bags can I use instead?

Use 1 tea sachet (contains about 1.5 teaspoons of tea) or 1 tea bag (contains 1 teaspoon of tea).

What’s the difference between loose tea, tea sachets, and tea bags?

Earl Grey loose tea is the highest quality of the three. You should be able to see rolled up whole tea leaves. Tea sachets are next in terms of quality and great to use in tea lattes since clean up is easy. Earl Grey in tea bags are the worst quality tea. Open up a tea bag and you’ll see the the tiny bits of tea instead of whole leaves.

Is Earl Grey tea a real tea?

Yes, Earl Grey is a real tea. Since the black tea in Earl Grey comes from the camellia sinensis plant, it is a real tea. Only tea that comes from that plant is considered real tea.

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Easy Earl Grey Tea

Author: Jee Choe
Get easy steps to make hot & iced Earl Grey tea properly.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Boil water.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 208°F. Boil a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot. Filtered water is best.
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  • Put Earl Grey tea into teapot and add hot water.
  • Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain Earl Grey leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.
  • Add milk and sugar or lemon if you wish.

NOTES

TO MAKE COLD BREW EARL GREY
1. Put Earl Grey tea and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container.
Filtered water is best for a better tasting iced tea.
2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
3. Strain Earl Grey tea leaves and pour tea into a cup.
Ice is optional since the tea is already cold. Add milk and simple syrup or lemon if you wish.
NOTES
  • To sweeten iced Earl Grey, use simple syrup which will make it easier to stir into your iced tea.
  • Make simple sugar at home by mixing equal parts sugar or honey and hot water until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add milk, sugar, or lemon but never all 3 since the lemon will curdle the milk.
  • The American way of drinking Earl Grey is with milk and sugar. To drink Earl Grey like the British, add lemon and sugar. 
Keyword cold brew Earl Grey tea, Earl Grey, iced Earl Grey tea
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