Benefits and side effects of drinking Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Firstly consumed by the rich and elite in England and today you can find this delicious drink in restaurants and tea shops around the globe.
Read on to discover the benefits of Earl Grey tea, how to brew the perfect cup of this flavored tea at home, and find out are there any side effects of drinking it too much every day.
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What is Earl Grey tea?
Earl Grey tea is a simple tea blend of black tea and oil of bergamot orange. Bergamot oil is derived from the rind of a bergamot orange, a fruit that is commonly grown in Italy.
Bergamot oranges are grown in Italy and some parts of France. The fruit more closely resembles limes in appearance and the flavor is a blend of a variety of citrus fruits. It’s something between an orange and lime, and taste more like grapefruit or lemon.
History of Earl Grey tea
Even it’s known as English tea, Earl Grey’s tea origins stem from China. The tea is named after Charles Grey, known as 2nd Earl Grey who was British Prime Minister from 1830-1834.
There are many stories about how this tea was brought to London, one is that a Chinese mandarin was saved from drowning by Lord Grey’s men and he gave him the tea as a gift. Another story says that he was given a black tea flavored with bergamot orange as a diplomatic gift.
No matter what story is really true, the popularity of Earl Grey was solidified through its consumption by the rich and elite. The Grey family worked with Chinese tea experts to create a special tea blend, the recipe was eventually sold to Twinings and the same recipe was used in their Earl Grey tea blends until 2011.
Flavor and aroma – There is a particular flavor to Earl Grey tea that makes it a favorite of many people. Slightly smoky, fragrantly scented, and spicy, it is a unique citrusy taste that you will not find anywhere else.
Earl Grey teas are flavored in two ways. One way is that tea leaves are sprayed or coated with bergamot essential oil or extract to infuse flavor.
Another way is that dried bergamot orange rinds are added to the dried leaves for infusion in water. Teas that are coated with oils tend to have a stronger citrus flavor.
Possible benefits of Earl Grey tea
Black tea is rich in various compounds with antioxidant properties, such as catechins. Bergamot is rich in plant compounds known as polyphenols, including the flavonoids neoeriocitrin, neohesperidin, and naringin.
Earl Grey or also called Bergamot tea has a high concentration of many different types of antioxidants that make it especially beneficial for your health.
Here is what is Early Grey tea good for:
If you usually suffer from bad digestion or irritable bowel syndrome, the consumption of tea can help relieve your symptoms because it is a natural antispasmodic (prevent or ease spasms or cramps in the muscles of the body).
The molecules in black tea are larger and thus hang around in your gut longer than more prebiotics. Animal studies on the effect of black tea show that compounds called theaflavins can help treat and prevent stomach ulcers and other digestive issues.
The guts of black tea drinkers have been found to contain higher levels of the Pseudobutrivibrio bacteria, which is thought to help support healthy metabolism.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that bergamot juice may reduce intestinal inflammation and fight Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria is one of the reasons for stomach pain and ulcers.
These studies and the results show that the combined effect of black tea and bergamot could benefit digestion, yet no studies have analyzed the effect of Earl Grey tea in humans.
Good for your teeth
Another less known benefit of consuming Earl Grey tea is that it protects teeth from oral infections and tooth decay.
Tea contains very high levels of catechin, an antioxidant that fights against oral infections. Earl Grey takes the next step by providing you with fluoride, a compound found to provide protection against cavities and other forms of tooth decay.
Fluoride is also found in tap water, and if you are not a fan of city water, Earl Grey tea can be another natural way to get your daily dose of fluoride.
Interesting To Know
If you’re concerned about tea staining your teeth, a good tip is to drink water after your cup of tea. This helps reduce the tannins left behind in your mouth – this is the real cause of discoloration.
Good for weight loss
One of the most popular benefits of Earl Grey tea is weight loss. This is primarily due to its citrus extract. Many people believe that citrus fruit can induce weight loss and it’s thought that calories are either broken down or into food for muscles or released through the natural metabolic process.
According to some research, drinking 2-4 cups of tea daily may assist you to lose weight. This comes as a result of the ‘slow-burning’ caffeine effect of the tea. This increases your body’s internal temperature that in turn activates your natural fat-burning abilities.
Be careful and keep in mind that if you want to get all the benefits from any tea for weight loss, don’t add milk or sugar, just try adding lemon in your future cups of tea.
If you want to find out what are the best teas for weight loss, we recommend reading this article:
Most Earl Grey is made with a black tea base, it contains moderate amounts of caffeine. It may not have as much as a kick of a coffee, but it will give a nice afternoon boost without keeping you up all night.
Caffeine and L-theanine present in Earl Grey tea, when working together are a dream team. L-theanine is an amino acid found only in tea. This compound has been linked to supporting a calm and focused mind.
The caffeine supports alertness and attention, while L-theanine brings an offering of calmness and relaxation.
Drinking Earl Grey can potentially give you a calm mental state, an increased speed of perception, and improved concentration and attention.
Drinking a few cups of tea after lunch is ideal to help you ward off that mid-afternoon lethargy in the office and keep you going.
May boost heart health
Earl Grey tea may improve certain risk factors for heart disease. Black tea has been linked to decreased blood pressure, while bergamot products have been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
In a study from 2016 in 80 people with high cholesterol levels was found that taking bergamot extract every day for six months, significantly decreased blood levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Bergamot contains flavanones, which may inhibit enzymes that produce cholesterol in your body.
Another randomized control study in 95 adults at risk of high blood pressure found that those who drank 3 cups of black tea daily for 6 months have significantly lower blood pressure compared with those who drank a placebo.
More studies on the effects and benefits of Earl Grey tea for heart health are needed, but based on these results drinking Earl Grey tea may have a good effect on our heart health.
It keeps you hydrated
Unlike the dehydrating properties of coffee, tea helps you stay hydrated and maintains the body’s fluid balance due to its high potassium content.
It’s infused in water so you will get the same amount of water intake as you would drinking a standard 8-ounce glass of water. Just make sure to keep sugar additives to a minimum preserve the low-calorie quality of this healthy drink.
Boosts immune system
The bergamot orange found within Earl Grey tea is said to improve the immune system and like all citrus fruits is a key component in fighting off colds and flu.
Earl Grey tea helps the immune system fight off colds thanks to the presence of vitamin C and it also prevents fever and invasions of parasites.
Earl Grey tea side effects
Earl Grey tea is generally considered safe to drink, but like everything else taken in large quantity, there may be some negative effects on your health.
Bergamot oil and bergapten
Bergamot oil contains a micro-toxin called bergapten. Bergapten may affect potassium absorption and lead to muscle twitches and cramping in the hands and legs.
One study connected a high intake of bergamot tea with muscle cramps and blurred vision. But as we mention it is about high consumption, the individuals in this study drank over 16 cups which is more than 4 liters a day and this is much more than most people typically drink.
Tea contains tannic and gallic acids that can interfere with iron absorption in your body. Drinking tea with your meals may reduce iron absorption by up to 75%.
To ensure adequate iron intake, consider drinking tea between meals to promote better iron absorption from your food.
Caffeine adverse effects
Since Earl Grey tea contains caffeine, be careful about your intake. If you are sensitive to caffeine you may experience jitters, anxiety, or other adverse effects.
Caffeine content in Earl Grey tea
Every cup of Earl Grey tea will contain caffeine, except herbal Earl Grey teas and decaf types. Every blend is different and the amount of caffeine will depend on the tea used as a base, as well as many other factors.
A 5 minute steep of the leaves will increase the caffeine content from 50 to 100% or more. So steeping the leaves for 5 minutes rather than a minute will extract more caffeine.
If a one minute steep gives a cup of tea with approximately 14 mg of caffeine, 5 minutes might extract around 30 mg.
Approximately, you can expect your Earl Grey to have 30 mg of caffeine per cup of tea, and some blends can even have double this amount.
Good To Know
While the average cup of coffee comes in anywhere from 95-150 mg of caffeine, you can expect Earl Grey tea to contain approximately 30-40 mg of caffeine.
How to make a perfect cup of Earl Grey tea
- 1 teapot
- Boiled water
- Good quality loose leaf Earl Grey tea leaves
Important things to know before making your Earl Grey tea:
- The water
To make a perfect cup of Earl Grey tea you need fresh, cold, filtered water. It’s recomended not to use water from the tap or water that has been previously boiled. Water for brewing tea should always be heated in non-reactive vessel, like glass kettle or stainless steel pot. This prevents impurities from transfering to the tea.
- Brew at the right temperature
For Earl Grey teas with a black tea base, brew at higher temperatures 200-212 F (93-100 C). For Earl Green teas brew between 150 and 180 F (65-82 C). To control the brew temperatures use a tea kettle with a built-in thermometer.
- Warm the pot or the cup
Many people omit this step, but it’s actually very important. When hot water is poured into a cold cup or pot, it begins to cool. Warming the pot ensures that the steep will be consistent. Pour a small amount of hot water into the pot or cup, swirl it around, and pour it out.
- Use the proper amount of tea
Use about 2 grams of loose leaf tea ( approximately 2 teaspoons ) for every 8 ounces of water. It may be necessary to adjust this measurement to suit your taste, or to accommodate a large mug.
- Steeping time and techniques
Steeping time is a matter of taste when it comes to Earl Grey tea. The longer your tea steeps, the stronger the flavors will become. If you steep too long your tea will develop an astringent and bitter flavor. We recommend steeping your Earl Grey tea for 2 to 4 minutes and tasting it every 30 seconds to ensure the best flavor.
- Pour one cupful of freshly boiled, filtered water into the teapot
- Allow the water in the kettle to cool to 185ᵒF
- Empty teapot of water and add one generous tsp of Earl Grey tea leaves per person
- Pour in water from the kettle and leave to brew for 2-4 minutes
- Serve tea in fine teacups.
Final thoughts about Earl Grey tea and the benefits of consuming it
Earl Grey tea is not just a delicious drink it also delivers health benefits like boosting the immune system, improving digestion may help with weight loss and oral health and so much more as we mentioned above in this article.
This combination of black tea and bergamot will introduce you to a new taste and flavor that you will love it. A great choice for morning drinks with low caffeine levels is a good alternative for coffee.
Make this aromatic and delicious tea today, and enjoy your special daily tea moments!
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