19 Types of Earl Grey Tea to Tantalise Your Tastebuds

You’ve popped to your local supermarket in search of some Earl Grey tea. 

Sounds easy enough, right? But wait a minute! 

The tea aisle is packed full of every type of Earl Grey imaginable. 

Oh no. Your nerves start to fray. And now you definitely a cuppa. Something to help calm you down after this frightful ordeal!

Russian, French, Staunton, and Classic Earl Grey. There are so many different blends to decide between. It’s enough to send anyone’s head into a spin.

So what’s a confused tea lover like you to do? 

Well, you can check out this handy list for starters.

Who knows. Perhaps you’ll discover a new kind of Earl Grey tea to drink with that stash of bourbon creams you’ve been saving (the biscuit, not the alcohol).

Table of Contents

Classic Earl Grey Blends

1. Traditional Earl Grey

The original, the classic, the one and only – this traditional Earl Grey blend is not to be missed. 

Typically made from black tea leaves (Camellia Sinensis) and bergamot oil (Citrus Bergamia), the recipe can vary depending on the tea maker and brand. 

While its origins and history are still up for debate, there’s no denying that this classic Earl Grey blend makes one tasty cuppa. 

So it’s no surprise that this is one of the world’s most popular black tea blends.

Two of the most common black teas found in Earl Grey include Keemun (Qimen) and Ceylons. 

However, Kenyan, Assam, or a mix of other black tea varieties are sometimes used in their stead. Each with its own unique set of characteristics. 

Of course, the type of black tea and the amount of bergamot oil will have a bearing on the strength and flavour of your cup of Earl Grey. 

And while this blend is perfectly fine served black. Milk, lemon, or sweeteners (like sugar) can be added to taste. 

In fact, some tea makers add lemon flavouring for a bit of extra zest. For example, Twinings and their 2011 revamped recipe – The Earl Grey.

2. Decaf Earl Grey

Practically identical, this decaf version offers all the classic flavours of Earl Grey without the energy-boosting caffeine. 

Perfect for tea drinkers who suffer from the jitters after one too many cups. Or, those who simply enjoy drinking a cup of tea before bed.

There are several different methods used to remove caffeine from tea leaves. 

And while it’s practicality impossible to remove all the caffeine from black and other Camellia Sinensis plant teas. Anything over 3% can’t legally be labelled decaf. 

If you require something 100% decaf, you should check out some of the naturally caffeine-free Earl Grey blends below.

3. The Staunton Earl Grey

If the East India Trade Company is to be believed. The first mention of Earl Grey tea was in 1793. 

Of course, it wasn’t called Earl Grey back then. But the concept of scenting teas with bitter orange blossoms was first observed by Sir George Staunton in China. 

His superior, Sir Joseph Banks, named the blend in his honour. This tea is now known as The Staunton Earl Grey and is still available to purchase today.

But here’s the twist. This blend uses both neroli oil and bergamot. 

Similar in taste, bergamot (Camellia Sinensis) is a subspecies of the neroli (Citrus Aurantium). 

The main difference is that neroli oil is steam distilled from the flower. This provides a sweeter floral, citrus, and honey scent. 

Bergamot is cold-pressed from the fruit and has a complex, mainly citrus flavour, with some floral and peppery notes. 

4. Lady Grey

Not technically an Earl Grey at all, Lady Grey is a bergamot tea blend that beats to its own drum. 

Invented in the 1990s by Twinnings, it was meant to appeal to the Nordic market. However, it wasn’t long until it caught on worldwide.

Unlike Earl Grey, this modern (and trademarked) blend has a strict recipe. And although similar blends exist, they won’t bear the same name.

Typically, Lady Grey contains less bergamot than an Earl Grey. But, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavour. 

Orange and lemon peel are added to create a delicious, zesty, and lively blend that’s perfect for any time of day. 

Alternative Loose-leaf Lady Grey blends sometimes add flowers. For example, blue cornflower or lavender.

5. Russian Earl Grey

If Earl Grey and Lady Grey had a baby, it would be Russian! 

Containing bergamot, lemongrass, and citrus peel, it’s like a zingier and stronger version of the milder Lady Grey. 

The type of citrus peel can vary. And while orange is the main choice, some tea makers like to add lemon, grapefruit, and even lime peel. 

Occasionally, dried cornflower and calendula petals are also added to this zesty blend.  

Less common ingredients include clove and clover.

Whichever Russian Earl Grey blend you decide to buy, you’re guaranteed an extremely aromatic tea packed full of citrus flavour.

6. French Earl Grey

Garnished with petals, this flowery Earl Grey blend is seriously opulent. Would you expect anything less from the French?

Delicate, sweet and ever so floral there are quite a few different versions of this tea.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Earl Grey tea without the addition of bergamot. 

But, this French Earl Grey often uses rose petals, lavender, and hibiscus to make this unique blend. 

Jasmine, mallow blossoms, sunflower petals, and French cornflowers can also be found on the ingredients list.

If you’re a fan of jasmine, chamomile or other fragrant and perfumed teas, then this is an excellent choice.

Contemporary Earl Grey Blends

7. Earl Grey Crème

Inspired by the London Fog (Earl Grey latte), Earl Grey Crème has a hint of warming vanilla.

However, you may also find cream flavouring, coconut, and even cornflower or mallow flower petals in this charming blend.

The vanilla adds a creamy and malt like flavour profile that’s perfect as a base to make an Earl Grey Latte at home. Especially during the winter months.

Just add some warm frothed milk and some sweetener to taste and you have yourself a London Fog.

It’s also an excellent blend to use for baking and making desserts like creme brulee.

Some variations of this creamy Earl Grey blend include the addition of lavender, citrus peel, dried calendula blossoms, blue mallow, or cornflower petals.

8. Smoky Earl Grey

If you enjoy a bold, dark, and full-bodied cup of tea, this peaty wood-smoked Earl Grey blend is not to be missed.

An excellent coffee alternative, Smoky Earl Grey combines the classic bergamot flavour of the original Earl Grey with Lapsang Souchong tea. 

Lapsang Souchong is a Chinese black tea that is typically smoke-dried over a pinewood fire. 

This gives it a distinct smoked flavour profile that is often utilised as a seasoning in cooking. For example, in soups, sauces, and stews. 

It is said to have empyreumatic aromas such as wood smoke, smoked paprika, pine resin, and dried longan. The same smoky notes found in some oak-aged whiskies, red wines, roasted coffees, and rums.

As a result, you’re left with a robust blend that pairs well with a range of savoury dishes such as roast duck, kippers, curry, and cured salmon sandwiches. 

And while you can add milk to this unique Earl Grey blend, the smoky taste isn’t very bitter. This means that it can be drunk unsweetened and black.

Some versions of this blend combine Lapsang Souchong with Gunpowder green tea (Zhū Chá).

Known for its pellet-like rolled leaves, Gunpowder tea has a light, smoky taste. It also has a higher caffeine content than other green teas. 

When paired with Lapsang Souchong, Gunpowder tea adds a secondary smoky dimension, for an intense and unique depth of flavour.

9. Plummy Earl Grey

Sugar and spice, and everything nice. This Twinings loose-leaf blend combines sweet plum, bitter citrus, and warming star anise. 

Fruity, spicey, and ever so tangy, this Earl Grey blend is Christmas in a cup.

Turn it into a cold brew to enjoy in cocktails or as a refreshing grown-up alternative to cordial during the summer months.

10. Double Bergamot

Have you ever taken a sip of Earl Grey and thought to yourself – “I wish there was more bergamot flavour in this tea”?

Well, you’re in luck. Bursting with flavour, this tea doesn’t pull any punches. 

As the name suggests, Double Bergamot Earl Grey contains twice the normal amount of bergamot. 

It’s the ideal blend for those who can’t get enough of that classic lip-smacking bitter citrus found in traditional Earl Grey tea.

11. Extra Strong Earl Grey

Not for the faint-hearted, this extra strong Earl Grey blend is guaranteed to knock your socks off.

Sometimes named Earl Grey Robusta, the medium to strong black tea base (Assam, Rwanda, Ceylon or Darjeeling) can easily withstand a good lashing of milk.

Excellent as a mid-morning pick-me-up or a coffee substitute.

This blend sometimes has cornflower or lime flavouring.

12. Aged Earl Grey

As the name suggests, this Assam tea is aged. As a result, the bergamot taste is naturally infused into the tea leaves. No artificial flavourings required!

The ageing process varies. But typically it takes several weeks to achieve optimum flavour.

Once ready, this tea has an orange scent with subtle citrus notes.

Great hot. Even better as a cold brew.

13. Earl Grey Coffee

Love Earl Grey tea, but can’t do without your morning coffee?

Why choose one when you can have both. 

Some enterprising teamakers have taken the flavour of Earl Grey tea and mixed it with coffee beans. 

So not only do you get to enjoy the classic fragrant flavour of Earl Grey. But you also get your caffeine hit.

Other teamakers use the coffee leaf rather than the bean for their take on this unusual Earl Grey blend. 

Coffee leaves contain less caffeine than traditional coffee or even black and green tea. 

Known as Kuti (coffee-leaf tea) in Ethiopia, the taste is said to be similar to a nutty green tea and not much like coffee at all. 

Light and smooth, it won’t become bitter after a long steep. The light flavour goes well with the bitter bergamot taste and allows the citrus to shine.

Herbal & Caffeine-Free Earl Grey

Maybe you fancy an Earl Grey with a difference. Or perhaps decaff just isn’t cutting it. A herbal or naturally caffeine-free Earl Grey blend could be the answer. 

As a general rule, these tea bases are lighter, smoother, and less bitter. They also can’t be over-steeped. In fact, the longer you steep these teas, the better.

There are two main caffeine-free options on the market. Enjoy them either hot, iced, with or without milk.

14. Earl Grey Rooibos

Also known as Earl Grey Red, this caffeine-free blend won’t keep you up all night.

While the only bitterness you’ll experience is from the bergamot oil and not the tea base. This is due to Rooibos having naturally low levels of tannins. 

And unlike decaffeinated black tea, Rooibos (or Redbush) doesn’t require chemical treatment to remove the caffeine. It’s 100% free from caffeine – plain and simple!

Grown in the fynbos coastal mountains of South Africa, the leaves used in this blend don’t come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. 

It’s generally lighter in taste, with nut, fruit, wood, and earthy undertones.  It has a natural sweetness that can be drunk with or without milk – hot or iced.

Occasionally this blend will also contain purple cornflowers, vanilla, ginger, lemongrass or even mint leaves. 

15. Earl Grey Honeybush

Often compared to Rooibos, Honeybush (Cyclopia Intermedia) is caffeine-free and grown in South Africa. 

Due to the minimal tannins content, honeybush is a great alternative to black tea. Especially for those who suffer from IBS or have a sensitive stomach. 

But that’s not all. It’s also considered an expectorant and is used to treat coughs. This is thanks to its pinitol content. 

If that wasn’t enough to sway you, it’s also rich in antioxidants, flavones, and low levels of minerals. 

As the name suggests, it has a honey scent. This is also reflected in the taste. The flavour is said to be similar to apricot with wood, floral, and, you guessed it, honey undertones.

This Earl Grey blend is sometimes mixed with orange peel and cornflower petals.

Black Tea Alternatives

16. Earl Grey Green

A popular choice for tea lovers, green tea is the obvious black tea substitute. 

And even though green tea comes from the same Camellia Sinensis plant as black tea. Green tea leaves haven’t been oxidised.

The result? A light, refreshing, and nutty tea that allows you to really taste the bergamot. 

It’s the ideal palate cleanser after a meal. Or the perfect mid-morning interlude.

Of course, green tea is also packed full of antioxidants. Brilliant for the health-conscious. 

17. Earl Grey White

Extremely light, white tea also comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. 

However, this tea is not rolled or oxidised like black or green tea. Instead, the tea leaves are merely dried. Simply left to naturally air-dry in the sun. 

And while you may think that name reflects the colour of the liquid, it’s not. White tea actually earned its name because of the silvery-white hairs found on the young, unopened buds of the plant. 

The colour of the tea is more of a golden yellow. The taste is said to be slightly floral, herby, grassy, sweet like honey, and delicate. 

The subtle flavour is often paired with fruit such as honeydew melon, peach, grape, and apricot. Other common pairings include vanilla, chocolate, and floral ingredients like lavender.

The delicate, well-rounded nature of this tea allows it to be enjoyed any time of day.

18. Earl Grey Oolong

Fruity, floral, and a little grassy, Oolong (or Black Dragon) sits somewhere in between green and black tea. 

The leaves, which are generally larger than other teas, are semi-oxidised. This gives it a unique taste with a thick mouthfeel that’s similar to milk. 

The amount of time that the leaves are oxidised for can vary. But it’s typically between 20% and 80%. However, heavily oxidised (up to 90%) black oolong teas exist. The result is a fruity black tea similar to an unsmoked Lapsang Souchong.

And depending on the type of oolong in your Earl Grey, the flavour can range from nutty (if roasted) to fruity. 

Sometimes, when aged, the tea has a light and mellow whiskey taste.

When combined with Earl Grey tea’s signature citrus and floral characteristics, you get a filling, fragrant, smooth, and intensely flavourful cup of tea.

Earl Grey Oolong is sometimes paired with jasmine, or cornflowers to add an extra layer of floral to the tea.

19. Earl Grey Darjeeling

Known as the champagne of tea, Darjeeling is part of the Camellia Sinensis family.

However, unlike other teas, this variety can only be produced in the Darjeeling region. 

And just like a fine wine, the emphasis is on quality, not quantity.

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the cool climate and high altitude mean that it doesn’t grow very fast.

In fact, Darjeeling makes up just 7% of all tea produced in India. This is partly due to the orthodox method of production. A process that dates back to the 1800s.

This traditional style of manufacturing means that no one batch is the same. The difference in taste is only subtle but unique all the same.

The distinct characteristics of Darjeeling range from muscatel to berry-like in flavour. While the aroma can be floral and fruity with either smokey or mild chocolate undertones. 

The delicate, thin-bodied, and light amber coloured consistency of this tea pairs excellently with the floral and citrus aromas of bergamot. 

The overall result is a lighter and fruiter take on the classic Earl Grey blend.

Which One Will You Try?

Well, there you have it. A list of all the different types of Earl Grey tea. Some traditional and others with a contemporary twist. 

Floral, fruity, and caffeine-free. Whichever one you choose, you’re sure to have an enjoyable cuppa to sip, taste, and savour.