Earl Grey vs. Lady Grey Tea

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Through the wonders of tea, people not only dive into a realm of tremendous flavors but also gain insight into the story and culture behind the tea.

The western world was introduced to tea by cultural exchange from the east, and inevitably began creating their own distinct flavors and styles.

One such tea is known as ‘earl grey’, which is a black tea flavored with bergamot, which has grown to immense popularity throughout the world; however, there are some variations as well, such as Lady Grey.

Introduction to Earl Grey

Earl Grey has existed in the UK since at least the 1820s, but it may have existed in Asia before that time.

There is a tale which states that Charles, 2nd Earl Grey was gifted a box of earl grey tea after a member of his crew saved a Chinese mandarin’s son. However, this account is disputed because there is no evidence Charles Grey ever went to China.

A more likely scenario is that a British envoy brought the tea back from China, eventually being discovered by tea houses which then proceeded to market it.

If you’re looking for a good and relatively inexpensive earl grey tea, we recommend Taylors of Harrogate Earl Grey tea.

Introduction to Lady Grey

Lady Grey is a trademarked variety of Earl Grey. It came into the scene in the early 1990s as a product of Twinings.

Although these teas are very similar, Lady Grey is considered to be targeted towards those who find Earl Grey to be a bit too intense for their taste. It came as a softer variation and quickly became very popular.

This is why both these teas are a constant topic of discussion among tea enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for Lady Grey tea, there’s really no other option than the original Twinings Lady Grey tea.

Early Grey vs Lady Grey

As we discuss their origins and back-story, now it is time to compare the two and understand where the disparity lies.


Earl Grey is prepared from black tea and bergamot.

The leaves are generally mild-tasting leaves, which originate from India, China, or Sri Lanka and are often in a cut and sifted form. The tea leaves are scented with the bergamot fruit, a plant originating from South-East Asia.

Nowadays, most commercial bergamot is grown in Italy, but that is a relatively new occurrence in history.

Most modern earl grey tea is now made with extracted bergamot oil, but in ancient times, these types of teas were usually scented with fresh fruits or flowers and then allowed to dry.

Lady Grey is made the same way, but it also contains dried lemon and orange peel.

Bergamot has a unique aroma with notes of citrus and flowers.


The flavors of both Earl Grey and Lady Grey are both quite distinct.

Earl Grey is very strong and powerful as the producers use more bergamot oil, resulting in a stronger taste.

Lady grey has softer, more delicate fruit notes. It caters to those who prefer a more aromatic, yet lighter tasting tea.

The main picture is by Stefan Schweihofer from PixaBay.

Travis Joynson

Travis Joynson

Travis Joynson is the founder and chief editor of the Professional Tea Taster.

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