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Finding The Best Earl Grey Tea: A Comparison Between Popular Tea Brands

Earl Grey tea is one of my all time favourite go-to teas, it’s a simple black tea blend with bergamot flavour. I find it the perfect tea when I don’t want something too bitter but I still want a decent pick me up in the afternoon.

Because of the blends popularity, every tea brand has their own take on this classic black tea blend. It actually shocked me how different each one of these Earl grey teas tasted! There’s no standard for making Earl grey tea, so there are lighter or stronger blends of Earl grey tea. So how do we compare these brands to find the best Earl grey tea bag?

It’s not about finding the best Earl grey tea but rather finding the best Earl grey tea FOR YOU! I compared 10 different Earl grey tea brands based on six different ratings scales so you can decide which one is the best for you. I compared factors like price, smell, look, taste, bergamot, refill-ability, and caffeine.

You should be able to find most of these brands at your grocery store or on Amazon.

Psst! This post contains affiliate links. It sends a bit extra my way if your buy anything through my links, at no extra cost to you!

Pinterest image: 4 squares with different earl grey tea bags : tetley, tazo, Tim hortons and harney and sons earl grey
Tea Accessories You’ll Need

Buy Earl Grey TeaAmazon | Walmart | Adagio Teas
A temperature controlled electric kettle: the Bay.com |  Amazon.com
A Tea Tasting SetAdagio Teas 
A Tea Tasting Journal:  Keep Track of the Teas You’ve Tried | Etsy Canada

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Is There A Difference Between English, Irish, and Scottish Breakfast Tea?

What Is Earl Grey Tea?

Earl grey tea is a classic black tea blend with black tea and bergamot. Bergamot is a citrus that’s native to southern Italy. It’s kind of like if a lemon mixed with a bitter orange. It’s the size of an orange but the colour of a lemon or a lime (depending on the ripeness).

The flavour of Earl grey tea is all about the bergamot. Most tea brands today don’t actually use fresh bergamot. They’ll either use bergamot essential oil, or sometimes even natural flavouring, to make Earl grey tea.

Does Earl Grey Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes! Unless you’re buying decaf Earl grey tea, assume that it’s caffeinated. As I mentioned, Earl grey tea is a black tea blend. Black tea comes from the camelia sinensis plant, which is a caffeinated tea plant.

There are ways to remove the caffeine from black tea to get a decaf earl grey. I did review one decaf earl grey and I actually really enjoyed it. I didn’t noticed any taste different between their regular and decaf Earl grey tea. (Jump to my decaf earl grey tea review.)

What Makes The Best Earl Grey Tea Bag?

Everyone has a different standard for what makes the best Earl Grey tea. Do you prefer a light, floral, or strong earl grey tea? To make it as unbiased as possible, I came up with a rating scale to review the most popular earl grey tea bags I could find in Canada on my search to find the best earl grey tea.

I tasted each earl grey tea bag twice. First, I followed the steeping instructions provided by each brand – adding the recommended amount of water and steeping for the recommended amount of time.

I did a second taste test to see how it holds up without following any steeping instructions. This is how I normally drink my Earl grey tea, I leave the tea bag in and fill my mug up with water throughout the day.

Based on both my taste tests, I rated each tea on seven factors: price, smell, look, taste, bergamot flavour, refill-ability, and amount of caffeine.

My Earl Grey Tea Rating Scale!

PriceHow expensive is this tea compared to the others on this list. The most expensive tea will get the least points (1) and the cheapest will get the most (10).
SmellHow is the smell of the tea once steeped. Does it smell nice, does it remind me of Earl Grey…etc.
LookHow dark is the tea is once steeped. 
TasteHow good does it the tea taste? For me, when I’m drinking Earl Grey, I’m looking for a well-balanced flavour of black tea with bergamot that isn’t too bitter or too sweet.
StrengthHow strong was the black tea in the blend?
BergamotWhat is Earl Grey without bergamot? This is how strong the bergamot comes through in each earl grey tea. What is bergamot? Well it’s what makes Earl Grey tea Earl Grey!
Refill-AbilityWhen I did the second taste test, I wanted to see how many times I could refill my mug using the same teabag. The number represents how many cups I was able to get out of one tea bag. Of course, this is correlated with the strength of the tea as well. The more refills, typically, the stronger the tea. To do this, I followed the rules for Grandpa style tea, where I drink 3/4 of the cup and then refill it with water. My mug holds about a cup and a half of water.
CaffeineBased on the information from each company, this is how much caffeine they say is in one bag. This information isn’t always provided.
tea-tasting-bundle
Go on the ultimate tea tasting journey

Taste your Earl Grey tea and take your own notes using my Tea Tasting Bundle.

Disclaimer!

These are my opinions! It’s what I taste when I drink the tea, so you may have a different opinion! I tried to be as objective as possible, and just noticed certain notes (sweet vs. bitter), although at times it was harder than others (Tim’s I’m looking at you!). I’m also not a tea tasting expert, I taste what I taste, I’m not trying to be fancy. 

I also enlisted the help of my partner and my fellow tea-loving bestie to get a few opinions.

earl-grey-tea-bags

What’s The Best Earl Grey Tea Bag For You?

From my ratings, the best Earl grey tea is Tim Horton’s Earl grey tea bag: it’s a reasonable price, the most balanced with bergamot flavour and lot of refill-ability. It is the sweetest Earl grey tea on the list with hardly any bitter notes. So if you’re looking for a more bitter Earl grey tea, Tim’s isn’t for you.

There are a few runner ups that came in close like Bigalow, Tazo, Tetley, and Harney & Sons.

If you’re interested in an Earl grey tea with less bergamot you’ll want to try Tetley. Overall it had a good taste profile but it was lighter on the bergamot flavour.

The Earl grey tea with the most caffeine is Bigalow (65 mg), Tazo (61 mg), and Harney & Sons (40-69 mg – not really sure why there’s such a large discrepancy…?).

In terms of strength of the flavour, Tazo was by far the strongest. If you’re looking for a nice morning Earl grey tea, Tazo Earl grey tea bag would be my go-to. It contains the most tea in each bag.

tea-tasting-bundle
Go on the ultimate tea tasting journey

Taste your Earl Grey tea and take your own notes using my Tea Tasting Bundle.

I was most surprised by the low results of my loose leaf Earl grey tea sample. Of course, not all loose leaf tea Earl greys will be the same, this was just the sample that I had to compare the tea bags to.

Update: I recently added Ahmad Tea London to my list searching for the best Earl grey tea. It surpassed all expectations that it’s now the best Earl grey tea. It’s very well balanced and not too overpowering in any regard. It makes a great cup of tea to enjoy any time of day.

Continue reading for more details about each Earl grey tea below...

PriceSmellLookTasteBergamotRefill-abilityCaffeineOveral Rating (40)
Ahmad London12455433.5 (~40mg)35.5
Our Finest1105313/24
Tetley10343133 (34 mg)26
Twinings9212123.5 (35-45mg)19.5
Bigelow8243235 (65mg)26
Tim Hortons754444.54 (50 mg)32.5
Four O’Clock6342323.522.5
Tazo5353.5155 (61 mg)26.5
Harney & Sons4354254.5 (40-69 mg)26.5
Loose Leaf Earl Grey3023.5112 (21-30 mg)11.5
Decaf Earl Grey2553.533.55 (98% removed)26
Firebelly Real Bergamot Earl Grey155554Less than coffee!25
Scores are out of 5 except for price (out of 12) you get more points the cheaper you are compared to the other tea brands.

Buy The Best Earl Grey Tea On Amazon

Shopping in Canada? Shop the best Earl grey tea Canada on Amazon.ca

Try Firebelly Real Bergamot Tea
cat-with-tea-books-to-read

Best Earl Grey Tea – Ahmad Earl Grey

Ahmad tea was a recommendation to try and I absolutely loved it that it might just be my new favourite Earl grey tea!

I don’t know how Ahmad Tea London does it. They produce a phenomenal Earl grey tea at the lowest price on this list. I’ve seen varying price ranges for a box of 100 tea bags, $5.99 was on the cheaper end on Amazon.ca (see updated price). Even at the higher end though, I’ve seen it being sold for $8.99 for 100 tea bags it’s still only .09𝇍 a tea bag!

The steeping instructions for Ahamd Earl grey are very loose. Steep 1 bag per person in a teapot and steep for 3-5 minutes. There are no temperature instructions or amount of water/ tea bag. The only thing that’s mentioned is to stir the water after you remove the tea bag…?

Price: $5.99 for 100 Tea Bags (.6𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 200g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 5/5
Look: 5/5 Strong dark brew.

Ingredients: black tea with bergamot flavouring

Taste: 5/5 Well balanced
Bergamot: 4/5
Refill-ability: 3/5 
Caffeine: ~40 mg How much caffeine is in Ahmad Tea’s tea? – Ahmad Tea

Why Is Ahmad Tea London The Best Earl Grey Tea?

If I didn’t know the price I would have thought it was a much more expensive tea bag – I was shocked by the well balanced flavours of this Earl grey tea. From the smell, bergamot flavour, and overall taste – nothing was too overpowering and you were still able to taste a good amount of bergamot to make it an Earl grey tea.

It sits right in the middle for me in terms of strength, not to strong or too weak. I would actually really enjoy this as the optimal afternoon Earl grey tea. Try Ahmad Tea London on Amazon.

They do cheap out on packaging, so the tea bags are not individually wrapped. They recommend putting them in an airtight container to seal in the freshness of the tea.

ahmad-tea-london-earl-grey

Best Budget Friendly Earl Grey Tea Bag: Our Finest Earl Grey

Our Finest, or Notre Excellence in French, was the cheapest Early Grey tea I found on the market (before I found Ahmad Tea Earl Grey). At only .11𝇍 a tea bag, it’s the cheapest Earl grey tea bag on this list!

Honestly, if you’re looking for a cheaper Earl grey that you can drink every day without worrying about the higher cost compared to a simple breakfast tea Our Finest Earl Grey is a great choice.

Brewing Our Finest Earl Grey was interesting because it calls to only steep your tea bag in 3/4 cup of water… not even one full cup! And then you steep it for 3-5 minutes. Find Our Finest Earl grey tea at Walmart.

Price: $2.28 for 20 Tea Bags (.11𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 40g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 0/5. This smelled like manure more than tea.
Look: 5/5. Strong dark brew.

Ingredients: black tea with natural bergamot flavour

Taste: 3/5. Well balanced with a slight bitter aftertaste
Bergamot: 1/5
Refill-ability: 3/5 
Caffeine: Unknown

What To Expect From Our Finest Earl Grey

The most shocking part about Our Finest Earl Grey tea was the smell vs. the taste.  I was less than pleased with the smell, and I wasn’t the only one who smelled this. My first reaction was that I was walking on a farm, and horse manure was blowing in the wind, with a hint of some black tea notes… YUM! Sounds really appetizing…right! 

But! The taste was not manure-ish at all! It had a subtle but strong black tea taste. It was actually very smooth and balanced black tea with a hint of bergamot. The aftertaste was slightly more bitter, but the overall mouthfeel of the tea is very nice. 

The look was actually one of the darkest of the teas, looking quite coffee-esque. So I was quite surprised when I only had 3 good quality refills out of it. I was expecting a lot more based on the dark brown color. 

Another alarming aspect of Our Finest Earl Grey tea, along with the horrid smell was also the colour of the tea bag. It had a greenish hue to it… I assume it’s from the essential oil, but still, most other Earl Greys are able to avoid the tea bag turning green. This was also the case with Tazo Earl Grey tea.

earl-grey-teas_our_finest

Tetley Earl Grey Tea For Light Bergamot Flavour!

Tetley is a well known English tea brand, founded in 1837. Teltey Earl grey tea was yet another another bag full of surprises! The brew instructions are very basic, boil one cup of water and let your tea bag steep for 3-4 minutes.

The ingredients for Tetley Earl grey though were concerning:, black tea with natural flavour… not even necessarily bergamot? This showed in the taste…

If you’re looking for an Earl grey that lighter on the bergamot flavour I’d recommend going with Tetley Earl grey. Find Tetley Earl grey on Amazon.

Price: $3.67 for 24 Tea Bags (.15𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 48g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 3/5
Look: 4/5

Ingredients: black tea with natural flavour

Taste: 3/5
Bergamot: 1/5
Refill-ability: 3/5Β 
Caffeine: 34 mg

Tetley Earl Grey Tea Main Takeaways

The smell was nothing special, reminding me of a sweeter Red Rose/ Orange Pekoe tea. It didn’t out right remind me of Earl Grey, but overall, it wasn’t bad.

It was the taste had a few mixed reviews! The first time my partner tried it, he didn’t believe that her was even trying Earl Grey tea, he thought I’d bought the wrong one. Tetley Earl grey does not have a strong bergamot flavour, but overall the taste isn’t bad. I found the aftertaste had some lingering bergamot. I’ll admit, it’s a refreshing alternative to orange pekoe tea (like Red Rose), just a less bitter version.

It has a nice smooth and velvety mouthfeel, and so it’s all around very enjoyable to drink. In fact, it was one of the better Earl Greys we tried. Out of all of them, it was the only one I went back to drink… consistently. Honestly, I couldn’t stop drinking it!

tetley-earl-grey


Twinings Earl Grey Tea Love It Or Hate It

I’ll admit, I went into this tea tasting with a bit of a negative bias towards Twinings Earl grey tea. I know it’s one of the leading English tea brands (from the 1700s!), but I’ve never been a huge fan of Twinings Earl grey tea. 

Brewing Twinings Earl grey tea for anywhere between 2-5 minutes. The ingredients are tea and bergamot flavour. 

Find Twinings Earl grey tea on Amazon.

Price: $4.57 for 20 Tea Bags (.23𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 40g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 2/5
Look: 1/5

Ingredients: tea with bergamot flavour

Taste: 2/5
Bergamot: 1/5
Refill-ability: 2/5 
Caffeine:35-45 mg (found on their website)

Overall Thoughts On Twinings Earl Grey

Both the smell and taste of Twinings Earl grey tea are identical, it’s actually uncanny how similar they are! But! It that’s not the smell and taste of bergamot… to me anyway.  I found it to be more like metal, almost copper-ish tasting.

It’s also super pale when steeped, so it isn’t good for grandpa style tea drinking with only 2 good refills.  Ultimately, I think Twinings Earl Grey Tea has a very particular taste that you either love or absolutely detest.

grandpa-style-tea-brewing
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Bigelow Earl Grey Most Caffeinated!

Did you know that this American tea company, from 1945, is still family run! Bigelow tea is a household tea brand for my family. We love their Cranberry Apple and I Love Lemon tea blends (although, they’re quite hard to find in Canada). I wasn’t at all disappointment with Bigelow’s Earl grey tea blend either.

Bigelow Earl grey tea includes black tea and natural oil of bergamot. Steep your Bigelow tea for 2 minutes. You can find Bigelow tea on Amazon.

Price: $4.50 for 20 Tea Bags (.23𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 33g (1.65g/ bag)
Smell: 2/5 Not a great start on the nose
Look: 4/5

Ingredients: black tea withnatural oil of bergamot

Taste: 3/5 Balanced tea but with a disappointing after taste.
Bergamot: 2/5 Tasted more like lemon than bergamot.
Refill-ability: 3/5 
Caffeine: 65 mg

At first sniff, I was less than impressed with Bigelow Earl Grey Tea. Reminding me of water-down manure once again (not as strong as Our Finest though). After the tea settled and steeped, I noticed black tea with lemon aromas.  

When it cooled down enough to sip, it tasted exactly like that: black tea with lemon! Although, the after taste was a bit metallic (nowhere near Twinings though!).

All around, this is a very average and balanced Earl Grey. It wasn’t too strong in any regard to sway me in any direction. It was not overpoweringly sweet or bitter.  It’s interesting to point out that Bigelow Earl Grey tea has the least amount of tea per bag but somehow the most caffeine!

Tim Hortons Earl Grey A Sweet Treat

Tim Horton’s Earl Grey tea has the opposite bias for me. It takes me back to my College and University days, Tim Horton’s Earl Grey was the only tea I drank back then and I LOVED every sip of it! You can find Tim Horton’s Earl grey on Amazon.

Trying it now was quite hard to stay objective. But I wasn’t pleased when the ingredients are just black tea and natural flavours… again, where’s the bergamot? The brew time is average, steeping for 3-5 minutes.

Price: $4.99 for 20 Tea Bags (.25𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 40g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 5/5
Look: 4/5

Ingredients: black tea with natural flavours

Taste: 4/5 Sweeter, no bitterness
Bergamot: 4/5
Refill-ability: 4.5/5 
Caffeine: 50 mg (found online)

I will not lie, when I opened up a Tim’s Earl Grey teabag, it smelled like home to me. Although my friend pointed out that when it’s steeped, it smells like Fruit Loops. And now I can’t unsmell it! 

I don’t think Tim Horton’s Earl grey tea is necessarily bad tea. It is a lot sweeter than most of the Earl Grey’s we tried making it stand out. There was hardly any black tea bitterness and it was mostly just comforting goodness! It tasted more like water with an aftertaste of bergamot, and even a hint of vanilla. 

Overall, Tim Horton’s Earl Grey tea is a very well balanced Earl Grey tea for me.

Tim hortons earl grey tea in a tea cup with the tea bag on the side

Four O’Clock Organic Earl Grey Tea Canada Only! Floral Earl Grey Tea

Four O’Clock tea hits quite close to home as a Montreal-based company from the 90s. Four O’Clock is a Canadian tea company so you probably won’t be able to find it elsewhere. In Canada, it sold at local grocery stores and on Amazon. Buy it online today.

To brew the perfect up of Four O’Clock Earl grey tea, steep your tea bag for 3-4 minutes. 

I’m actually using the Organic Fair Trade Earl grey tea from Four O’Clock. I couldn’t find their regular Earl Grey anywhere, I’m wondering if it’s off the market…? I thought that they would be quite similar between the organic and non organic, but I was quite surprised.

Having had Four O’Clock’s Earl Grey in the past, this did not live up to my expectations. The ingredients included black tea (organic black tea leaves) with natural bergamot flavour.  

Smell: 3/5Look: 4/5Taste: 2/5Bergamot: 3/5 Refill-ability: 2/5Caffeine 3/4

Price: $3.99 for 16 Tea Bags (.25𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 32g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 3/5
Look: 4/5

Ingredients: black tea with natural bergamot flavour

Taste: 2/5 Floral taste
Bergamot: 3/5
Refill-ability: 2/5 
Caffeine: 3/4

Let’s Review Four O’Clock Earl Grey Tea

This was not the Four O’Clock tea experience I was used to. Right off the bat, the smell was not of bergamot, but very floral (like jasmine). The taste was quite flat, almost one note. It was very good black tea but not Earl Grey. Then the aftertaste hits you and you’re left with an unpleasant lemon flavour in your mouth. To me it was almost like artificially sweetened lemon.

I thought I’d also get more refills out of it. After the second cup, the flavours went way downhill, so much so that I had to stop drinking it.  On the box it says that it’s perfect in a latte, and I think that’s the only way you can enjoy this tea.

four-oclock-earl-grey

Tazo Earl Grey The Strongest Earl Grey Tea Bag

Tazo Tea is an American tea brand also from the 90s. It’s a typical Earl Grey brew, a cup of water, and let it steep for 5 minutes.  It’s made up of black teas blended with the essence of bergamot. I’m not entirely sure I understand what that means. What exactly is the essence of bergamot?  

Tazo Earl grey tea bag is the strongest Earl grey tea – perfect if you’re looking for a real morning wake up. It contains the most tea per bag and is on the higher side of content. I recommend adding more water when making it. Find Tazo Earl grey on Amazon.

Price: $5.47 for 20 Tea Bags (.27𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 49g (2.45g/ bag)
Smell: 3/5 Woodsy and lemon
Look: 5/5

Ingredients: black tea with essence of bergamot

Taste: 3.5/5 This is a strong cup of tea, hindering on the bitter side. It drastically changes as you water it down.
Bergamot: 1/5
Refill-ability: 5/5 
Caffeine: 61 mg

More On Tazo Earl Grey

The first smell was very dark, it almost reminded me sitting by a wood burning fireplace with my mug of tea. It had almost a woody lemony black tea smell.

Then I tasted it and was practically punched in the face! It was SO strong and bitter with a hint of bergamot aftertaste. If you need a good wake up call in the morning to get your day started, Tazo Earl Grey is your tea.

 The second time I tried it, it was with about half a cup more of water and it was already a lot better. So I’d recommend making a cup of Tazo Earl Grey tea in your largest mug! As it was less concentrated, it was less bitter right off the bat. You might have noticed that is does contain the most tea per tea bag! Which is the reason for why it’s so much stronger (and got so many more refills out of it!).  

As you refill your cup the flavours do change. The bergamot becomes much stronger and the bitterness in the tea becomes weaker. This is one that I can get behind replacing my morning cup of tea with. It’s not too overpoweringly sweet to wake me up! 

I was also expecting some higher quality tea, maybe because of the price, or that I had it at Starbucks way back when. But it’s at the same level as Tim’s and Four O’Clock.  Side note, a concerning factor was the greenish hue to the teabag. This was also an issue with Our Finest Earl Grey… but I was concerned to see this problem with Tazo as well because of the higher price.

tazo-earl-grey

Harney & Sons Earl Grey Supreme Not Worth The High Ticket Price

Coming in at THE most expensive Earl Grey tea on the market: Harney and Sons! I was actually shocked to find out that this is not an English company but American from the 80s (shoutout to their branding department… I guess!). 

Brewing a Harney and Sons tea bag, they recommend using two cups of water and steeping for 3-5 minutes. A two-cup mug is a pretty large mug, I’m not sure how many people actually own a mug this size.  

The ingredients were the most extravagant with 3 different types of tea: black, oolong, and white. I was disappointed to only see natural bergamot oil though. I was hoping to see some actual bergamot used. This is the only Earl grey tea bag that also came in a beautiful (and reusable) tin, and in pyramid tea bags. Shop Harney and Sons Earl grey tea bags on Amazon.

Price: $10.00 for 20 Tea Bags (.50𝇍/bag)
Amount of Tea: 40g (2g/ bag)
Smell: 3/5
Look: 5/5

Ingredients:black, oolong, and white tea with bergamot oil

Taste: 4/5 Very well balanced
Bergamot: 2/5
Refill-ability: 5/5 
Caffeine: 40-69 mg

Is Harney & Sons Earl Grey Worth the Steep Cost?

I think I was expecting to be completely blow away by Harney and Sons Earl Grey Supreme (I mean it is supreme after all). I was also upset with the length of the string. It’s something so simple, the string was just a bit too short and kept almost falling in to my tea. 

The smell as dry tea was sooo strong bergamot but it all disappeared once it was steeped. Then it just smelled like black tea with a side of lemon. Although it was strong and rich smelling. The taste was not too sweet or too bitter, it was very smooth and enjoyable to drink. It had a rich thick mouthfeel. But, unfortunately, nothing jumped out at me.  Once it cooled down I was hoping to taste some more bergamot, but it ended up getting more bitter.

Similar to Tazo Earl Grey tea though, it got better after more refills, possibly being too strong for its own good.

earl-grey-teas-harney-and-sons

Loose Leaf Premium Earl Grey (Tealyra)

I included a loose leaf tea in my search to find the best Earl Grey tea because I thought it would be a good comparison. Loose leaf tea has this standard of being such high quality tea, so I was interested to see how tea bags held up.  

I was ultimately shocked by the results. Of course, this was the Earl grey I had in the house, so yours may be different. First, the ingredients list was much longer with black tea, cornflowers, oil of bergamot, and natural flavour. When I dug a bit deeper, it’s actually Ceylon tea (from Sri Lanka) and the natural flavouring is vanilla and cream. I’m not sure why they didn’t put this detail in the ingredients list.

The instructions say to steep one tsp with one cup of water for 2-3 minutes. 

Price: $7.86 for15-20 cups (.39𝇍-.52𝇍)
Amount of Tea: 50g (1 tsp/ serving)
Smell: 0/5
Look: 2/5

Ingredients:black tea, cornflowers, oil of bergamot, and natural flavour

Taste: 3.5/5
Bergamot: 1/5
Refill-ability: 1/5 
Caffeine: 21-30 mg

The Benefit of Loose Leaf Tea

The main benefit of using loose leaf tea is that you can adjust the strength of the tea. This one was too weak for me, based on their recommendations, but I can easily steep for longer and add more tea. 

The lack of an aroma weirded me out though. It had zero smelliness to it! The taste was also lacking. It was water with a very sweet aftertaste. I think the vanilla and cream overpowered the flavour profiles of the bergamot just a bit too much. I would have like some more bergamot in my Earl Grey! 

That being said, I do think it will make a wonderful afternoon tea with some milk. It is a nicely balanced tea.  P.S. Looking to switch over from tea bags to loose leaf tea? See my suggestions for the easiest way to switch to loose leaf tea.

tealyra-earl-grey-tea

Decaf Option: Friendship Organics Decaf Earl Grey Tea

This was my first time trying decaf Earl Grey tea, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Friendship Organics, a local Montreal brand, reached out and sent me their decaf Earl Grey to try. 

They use the carbon dioxide decaffeination method (yes, this is the same method that’s used to make our favourite sodas bubbly!). This method removes 97 to 98% of the caffeine, which means you can now enjoy your favourite tea blend all night long! 

To brew a Friendship Organics decaf Earl Grey tea, they recommend using one cup of water per tea bag and steeping for 3-5 minutes. 

 I would have liked to know the type of black tea used. The ingredients list was simply Fair Trade and organic decaffeinated black tea and organic bergamot oil. The tea comes in a beautiful (and reusable) tin! Shop Friendship organics decaf tea on Amazon.

Price: $13.99 for 20 bags (.70𝇍)
Amount of Tea: 57g (2.8g/bag)
Smell: 5/5
Look: 5/5

Ingredients: Fair Trade and organic decaffeinated black tea and organic bergamot oil.

Taste: 3.5/5
Bergamot: 3/5
Refill-ability: 3.5/5 
Caffeine:97 to 98% of the caffeine is removed

Looking Closer At Decaf Earl Grey Tea

If you’re looking to find an Earl Grey to drink after hours, this is the tea for! You wouldn’t be able to tell based on the flavour that it’s a decaf tea. It tastes, and smells exactly like any other Earl Grey tea would.

Decaf aside, this was a very enjoyable tea to drink. The flavour was very well balanced between the black tea and bergamot, making it a very good option if you’re just getting into tea, or don’t want an overpowering tea to enjoy at night. 

I did find that when I brewed it based on their recommendations (with one cup water per tea bag), it was a bit too strong and did in fact have a slightly bitter aftertaste. I preferred it with more water (about one and a half cups) and then it was perfect. I also found it almost got better when I refilled it for a second cup. 

The tea bags sometimes have a greenish hue, but they mentioned that this is because of the bergamot oil they use (now I know why some of the other brands were green as well!).

P.S. Can’t let go of the caffeine? They also have a non decaf Earl Grey tea that tastes basically the same but now with the added bonus of caffeine! 

friendship-decaf-earl-grey-tea-comparison-

Real Bergamot Earl Grey Tea: Firebelly Tea

Definitely the most expensive Earl grey tea on the list, Shades of Earl Grey from Firebelly Tea is also possibly the most worthwhile to try at least once if you’re an Earl grey fan!

This is the first company I’ve ever seen to actually use real bergamot in their Earl grey! Let me tell you, it’s delightful! The ingredients list includes a bit more than bergamot though (lemon myrtle, lemon thyme, and even juniper berry). That being said, it makes a very well balanced and easy to drink Earl grey.

Despite having both lemon myrtle and lemon thyme, it’s not overpowering lemon. In fact, I think the other ingredients do the opposite – they bring out the bergamot flavour and enhance it.

Plus, it’s always nice knowing exactly what you’re drinking – no essential oils or (my favourite) flavouring.

Perhaps Shade of Earl grey isn’t for every morning, but it’s definitely the ultimate to serve at any afternoon tea or to save for some weekend tea drinking! See more Firebelly teas here.

Price: $22.95 for 30-35 cups (.76𝇍-.65𝇍)
Amount of Tea: 100g (1 tbsp/ serving)
Smell: 5/5
Look: 5/5

Ingredients: Black Tea, Lemon Myrtle, Bergamot Peel, Lemon Thyme, Juniper Berry.

Taste: 5/5
Bergamot: 5/5
Refill-ability: 4/5 
Caffeine: Less than coffee

real-bergamot-tea-firebelly-tea

Did I miss your favourite Earl Grey tea? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to find it and add it to the list!

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Related Posts!

What you’ll need for the perfect cup of tea

An electric kettle: find at the Bay.com | find on Amazon.com
A teapot & teacup set: from Anthropologie
Filters or steeper: DavidsTea
Loose Leaf Tea: DavidsTea | Whittard of Chelsea | Adagio
Tea Tasting Journal: Etsy

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12 Comments

  1. Surprised to find Tetley so highly ranked because it is one of the cheapest brands in Europe that is in every supermarket. I grew up drinking Tetley teas because they were just so common. Very good job reviewing all the brands, thank you.

    1. I was honestly really surprised too πŸ˜› It’s one of the cheapest in Canada as well, maybe it’s also because I had lower expectations for Tetley vs. others (like Harney and Sons where it’s more than double the price so my expectation were set pretty high, only to be let down). For what it is, Tetley did a good job!

      Thanks so much, I had fun trying them all! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  2. Hi! I stumbled upon your review and I very much enjoyed reading it! Thank you for the very honest comments about each of the EGs and comparing them using the same rubrics! As a fervent tea drinker I’ve had my fair share in exploring EG blend of different brands covering a wide price range. I’ve found Harley&Sons as one of my go-to EG’s, for the very reasons you have pointed out in your review – it’s robust, and its bergamot lies more in the nose than on the tongue πŸ˜… When it comes to some other EGs, such as Twinnings, which you also reviewed, I’d have to put two tea bags, if not three, into one standard cup, in order to get the strength in flavour that I am used to (I steep it for shorter time, to avoid bitterness). Not sure if you’ve ever tried the Twinnings London Strand line. I find the EG of that line is of much better tastability. Another EG that I’d recommend is Mighty Leaf (based in Montreal!). It is one of the unique EG blends I have ever tasted. So smooth and gentle… As for loose leaf, I am surprised the one you reviewed had vanilla, cause then it shouldn’t be called EG, but Vanilla EG or Cream EG (this kind of vanilla twist in flavour is not uncommon for EG but is always clearly labelled by other brands). One loose leaf EG I have tried and liked is Mariage Freres EG French Blue. Anyways, again thanks for the very honest review πŸ‘ Now I’m gonna take a read at your other articles!

    1. Hi Yao,
      Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed reading my post! I totally agree with Twinnings about having to use more tea bags, but I have yet to try the London Strand line I will have to get my hands on that! Thanks for those recommendations I’ll be sure to look out for those brands, I’ve heard of Mighty Leaf but I did not know they were based in Montreal, I love supporting local and haven’t actually tried their Earl Grey yet but you’ve made it sound very inviting (I may have to run out to get some now!). I haven’t heard of Mariage Frere either, I will definitely be on the look out for that! Thanks again for these great recommendations, hopefully I’ll be able to try all of them soon!

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for bringing up Shamshiri Persian Earl Grey tea blends, I hadn’t heard of them before. I wonder if I can get it in Canada, I’ll have to keep my eye out for it πŸ˜€ I’m always up for trying new brands!

  3. Hi Meghan,
    Thank you for your reply to my comment on the Persian Tea Earl Grey teas. The company is based in California, so perhaps it is more widely available out here on the west coast.
    There are also a couple of Earl Greys from Ahmad Tea of London that are quite widely available and seem to be quite popular – their regular “Earl Grey” and “Aromatic Earl Grey”, which has a bit less bergamot than the regular (which seems to be a bit counter-intuitive!) They also have a decaf Earl Grey.
    Peter

    1. Hi Peter,
      I’ll keep it on my list then for the next time I travel to California! I have heard of Ahmad Tea of London but I didn’t know they had an Earl grey as well, I’ll keep my eye out for it to try and add to my list, also I’m always interested in decaf options! Thanks so much for the suggestions πŸ˜€

      By the way definitely a bit odd that Aromatic earl grey has less bergamot… I would have thought it would be the opposite as well.

  4. I bought some Rishi Earl
    Grey (on sale) at Whole Foods their masala chai is the best I’ve had (for me) in bag format. About 50 cents per bag, and worth it.
    I found the Earl Grey incredibly seductive and ran through all 15 bags in a week. Try it. I will check out the more affordable options.
    Thank you for the very thoughtful, thorough study β˜•οΈβ€οΈ

    1. Hi Ann,

      Thanks for the great recommendation, I’ll have to keep an eye out for that brand the next time I’m in the States at Whole Foods (unfortunately we don’t have Whole Foods in Canada yet). But a trip to the States is always worth it when tea is involved πŸ˜€

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