What is French Earl Grey?

Ever since Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, first introduced the world to his special bergamot tea, there have been myths and legends about its creation.

But like any great tale, the truth is lost in the mists of time. 

Since then, a plethora of different Earl Grey teas has emerged. Each with their own take on the classic black tea and peppery, citrus brew.

And it may surprise you that this most English of teas, has a French variety.

But what exactly is French Earl Grey? And how does it compare to traditional Earl Grey?

T2 French Earl Grey tea blend
This French Earl Grey blend by T2 includes rose petals, sunflowers, mallow flowers, and hibiscus.

Table of Contents

French Earl Grey vs. Traditional Earl Grey

Like the original, French Earl Grey has the body and strength of black tea mixed with a hint of fruity bergamot – the flavour it’s famous for.

But, there’s one key ingredient that differentiates French Earl Grey from traditional Earl Grey tea

And that’s rose petals.

Paris in a Tea Cup

Sweet, aromatic, and delicate, this floral element works with the bergamot fruit to bolster its herbal-tea-like characteristics.

And it’s said that the perfumed-citrus and floral medley of French Earl Grey help capture the essence of Paris.

But it doesn’t stop there.

French Earl Grey Ingredients

While black tea, bergamot oil, and rose petals are all staples of a French Earl Grey. Tea makers often add extra elements (fruit, flowers, etc) to create exclusive, signature blends.

Earl Grey Building Blocks (Must-Have)
  • Black Tea
  • Bergamot Oil

Commonly Found in French Earl Grey or French Blue
  • Rose Petals
  • French Cornflower
  • Mallow Blossom

Variations Include
  • Pineapple
  • Rosehip
  • Hibiscus
  • Marigold
  • Mango
  • Strawberry
  • Lavender
  • Sunflower
  • Jasmine

But as there’s no strict recipe, these fruit and floral components can vary. 

French Blue Earl Grey

One of the most popular varieties of French Earl Grey is French Blue. So-called because it contains aromatic blue cornflower blossoms. 

Our sense of smell plays an important part in how food tastes. 

And blue cornflowers (French, of course) have a unique fragrance. 

Once imparted into the tea, it increases the floral attributes of this French-inspired blend. 

As a result, you’re left with a sweeter, full-bodied mouth-feel.

Does French Earl Grey Contain Caffeine?

Don’t let that floral aroma fool you, though. 

The black tea base of Earl Grey contains caffeine

But, it’s still quite low compared to other drinks. 

For example, a 250ml Café Latte has up to 95mg of caffeine, and a can of regular Coca-cola has about 110 gms.

While an 8oz (230ml) cup of Earl Grey tea only has about 40-120mg of caffeine. 

And unless you’re drinking an extra-strong blend, the added ingredients of French Earl Grey (e.g. rose petals) won’t affect the caffeine content.

Who Makes it?

TWG Tea French Earl Grey

One of the top French Earl Grey brands actually comes from Singapore. 

The Wellness Group, better known by its acronym TWG, was started in 2007 as a luxury brand to produce and market high-end products. 

You can even find them in Harrods.

The TWG Earl Grey blend combines French blue cornflower petals and citrus for a seriously fragrant cup of tea. 

TWG Teas French Earl Grey blend
This Earl Grey French Blue blend by TWG includes blue cornflower petals, bergamot, and black tea.

T2 French Earl Grey

Another popular brand is T2. 

Their Provence-inspired, loose-leaf French Earl Grey merges hibiscus, sunflower petals, rose petals, and mallow flowers.

The taste is considered medium-bodied, fresh, and floral with a hint of tropical and stone fruit notes.

Mariage Freres Earl Grey French Blue

If you’re after a French Blue Earl Grey, Mariage Freres has you covered. 

This understated blend combines zesty bergamot with a hint of sweet-scented blue cornflower.

A Blooming Good Blend?

Tea is one of the most consumed drinks worldwide, after water. And Earl Grey is one of the most popular blends.

Unless you’re a tea aficionado, though, French Earl Grey is lesser-known – which is a shame.

Naturally sweet, fruity, and aromatic, this delicate rose and bergamot tea is perfect any time of day. And its floral and citrus flavours are sure to win you over.

To fully experience this opulent Earl Grey blend. Drink it black and without sweeteners.

But ultimately, that’s up to you. I won’t judge.