5 Easy Steps to Make Earl Grey Tea Properly

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, every single time.

How to Make Earl Grey Properly

Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey is a popular black tea flavored with bergamot, a citrus fruit from Italy that is grown throughout the Mediterranean. 

  • There’s caffeine in Earl Grey.
  • It was 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.

RELATED: How to Make English Breakfast Tea Properly

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Brewing Guide

BREW IT HOT
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose Earl Grey
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
208°F
STEEP TIME:
5 minutes

BREW IT COLD
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose Earl Grey
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
Cold water
STEEP TIME:
12 hours

My Earl Grey Tea Pick:

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.

Earl Grey Loose Tea

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.)

Are there any calories?
Earl Grey tea is completely calorie-free. However, adding milk and sugar will add extra calories to the drink.

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.

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.

RELATED: Peach Iced Tea with Earl Grey and English Breakfast


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How to Make Earl Grey Tea

What You’ll Need

How to Make Earl Grey Tea Properly

How to Make It 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

Earl Grey 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.

RELATED: Earl Grey Hot Chocolate

Easy Earl Grey Tea

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

The formula is 1.5 teaspoons of Earl Grey loose tea for every cup of water.

5 Easy Steps to Making Earl Grey

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. If you want a lighter brew, go with 3 minutes. 

Brewing it for longer than 5 minutes can make your tea bitter and astringent. If you want a stronger cup of Earl Grey, brew more loose tea instead of steeping it for longer. 

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

RELATED: Easy Iced Earl Grey Latte

5 Easy Steps to Making Earl Grey Tea Properly

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.

RELATED: Decadent Milk Tea

Cold Brew Iced Earl Grey Tea

How to Make Iced Earl Grey Tea 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

Cold Brew Earl Grey Tea

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.

The formula is 1.5 teaspoons of Earl Grey loose tea for every cup of water.

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

How to Make Cold Brew Earl Grey Tea

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

All teas can be left to steep for up to 24 hours. A longer steep when cold brewing will make a stronger brew.

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

Cold Brew Earl Grey Tea

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.

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 Tea

Earl Grey Tea

Yield: Makes 1 serving

How to make hot & iced Earl Grey tea properly.

Instructions

  1. 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.)
  2. Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. Discard the water.
  3. Put Earl Grey tea into teapot and add hot water.
  4. Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Strain Earl Grey leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.


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. 

Notes

To make cold brew iced Earl Grey tea:

  1. Put Earl Grey tea and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container.
    (Filtered water is best.)
  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.


To sweeten your tea:

If you want to sweeten your iced Earl Grey, use simple syrup which will make it easier to stir into your iced tea.

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

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