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The Difference between Earl Grey Tea and Black Tea

The Difference between Earl Grey Tea and Black Tea

Black tea and Earl Grey tea are some of the most loved teas, all thanks to their unique flavor profile. Their popularity also stems from the fact that both are extracted using the tea plant Camellia Sinensis, meaning they are a true tea type. 

Although Earl Grey is not enjoyed with milk, it can be as great of a morning tea as Black tea. Simply put, no one tea is better than the other. They both have their own unique flavor profiles and properties that many tea lovers enjoy.


What is the difference between Earl Grey Tea and Black tea?

Although Black tea and Earl Grey tea are both extracted from the same tea plants, their properties vary greatly. Black tea has more caffeine than Earl Grey. Earl Grey has more of a floral flavor, and Black tea, on the other hand, has a more astringent taste. 


The difference in the flavor profile of Earl Grey and Black tea

Earl Grey tea has a more floral flavor due to the bergamot oil extracted used in it, providing a hint of citrus flavor as well, similar to other Black teas.

Essentially Earl Grey is Black tea with bergamot oil that is either extracted from bergamot fruit or Italian citrus.

The flavor profile of Earl Grey can change drastically depending on the sub-type. The two most famous subtypes are the Lady Grey and Russian Earl Grey.

Lady Grey is similar to Earl Grey but has a subtle citrus taste due to the use of lemon and orange peels instead of oil extract.

On the other hand, Russian Earl Grey has a heavier citrus flavor as it involves more than one source of citrus, sometimes even using lemongrass or cornflower petals.

Black tea, unlike Earl Grey, has a vast flavor profile depending on the tea used. The taste can be described as metallic, earthy, sweet, bold, etc.

Black tea is also considered to have a richer taste than green tea. Its flavor can change dramatically depending on how the tea was oxidized and how it was heated.


The difference in properties of Earl Grey and Black tea

When it comes to the difference in properties of Earl Grey vs. Black tea, there isn’t much to point at.

Both have the same groups of phenols, such as amino acid L-theanine, Theaflavins, Thearubigins, and epigallocatechin gallate. 

These phenols are known to play an important role in fighting against chronic illnesses.

However, Earl Grey is specifically known to combat heart diseases due to the antioxidants it contains. Both Black and Earl Grey are also known to lower LDL, reduce blood pressure, improve gut health, and reduce the risk of stroke.


The difference in the way Earl Grey and Black tea is made

While both Black and Earl Grey tea are extracted from the plant Camellia Sinensis, Black tea is prepared using a process known as oxidation.

Oxidation requires exposing green tea leaves to oxygen-rich air that is moist. This turns the green leaves black or the dark brown color we all know. 

Depending on the level of oxidation, the tea flavor profile changes dramatically.

Hence Black tea is always oxidized completely, whereas Green and White tea leaves do not undergo complete oxidation.

Earl Grey, on the other hand, uses Black tea as its base with bergamot peel or oil.

The base, Black tea, can be made from one type of Black tea or different blends for a more exotic flavor. The best bergamot comes from Calabria, Italy.

Earl Grey tea preparation can vary depending on what ingredients are added to it.

There are blends of Earl Grey that have lavender, rose petals, and even citrus fruit in them. 


The difference in the way Earl Grey and Black tea is brewed

Brewing Earl Grey or Black tea doesn’t require some extraordinary skill.

Both tea leaves are easy and quick to brew. Let us take a look at how you can brew that perfect cup of Earl Grey or Black tea.

Brewing Black tea requires adding one tea bag or one spoonful of black tea leaves into an 8-ounce cup/mug.

Next, add hot water into the container, which should be about 200°F (93.3°C) to 212°F (100°C). Once you are done adding the water, let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. 

You can then add sugar as required or skip it altogether.

Most people in the United Kingdom enjoy black tea with a hint of milk and sugar, while those from the United States enjoy it with lemon and sugar. 

On the other hand, Earl Grey tea is prepared by steeping the Earl Grey tea leaves or a teabag in water at a temperature of 208°F (97.8°C) or just below the boiling point. Earl Grey should be left to steep for a maximum of 3 minutes. 

You can enjoy Earl Grey tea plain or with milk and sugar as per your liking.

Both teas have an almost identical method of preparation with slight variation in temperature and steeping time. 


The difference in the caffeine content of Earl Grey and Black tea

Since Earl Grey also uses Black tea as its base, it shares a similar level of caffeine content to Black tea.

However, some variations of Earl Grey have slightly lower caffeine content due to the addition of flowers or other assortments. 

In general Black tea has higher caffeine than Earl Grey.

Where Earl Grey has a caffeine content of 30 mg in an 8 oz. cup, Black tea for the same amount has 47.4 mg of caffeine. 


Frequently asked questions about the difference between Earl Grey and Black tea


How many cups of Black tea are safe to consume in one day compared to Earl Grey?

Keeping in mind the caffeine content of both teas, you can consume 4-5 cups of Black tea and 6-7 cups of Earl Grey.


What is the calorific difference between Earl Grey and Black tea?

There is no calorific difference between a cup of Earl Grey or Black tea. An 8 oz. cup of Earl Grey tea or Black tea contains 2 calories, provided that no sugar or milk is added to the drink.