Earl Grey Tea vs English Breakfast Tea

There are a couple of things which are more synonymous with the England as compared to most other places in the planet. Tea would definitely rank high on this list. It is a well known fact that the Englishman or woman loves their cup of tea. The time of the day does not matter since there seems to be a cup of tea for every occasion and almost every time of the day.

Two of the more famous and legendary varieties are the Earl Grey and the English Breakfast. These teas have carved a sort of niche for themselves and each has its own set of loyal fans that will fiercely defend their choices. Let us get an insight into what these two teas are all about and why they have literally caused a ‘stir’all across the world.


The stories surrounding the origin of these two popular teas are quite interesting, if not fascinating. Earl Grey was named after a former British Prime Minister who was known for his extreme love and preference for this particular tea. This recipe of this tea never got trademarked though, and various people around the world started using the formula to create their own versions.

English Breakfast, as far as the origin of the name is concerned, could be slightly misleading. It so happens that an Englishman, who was also a tea merchant, moved across to the United States in the middle of the 19th century. There was some tea with him which had the same or similar blend to the tea that the English drunk in the morning. He started selling this tea and because of the lovely taste, it soon became a crowd favourite. As per the most popular version, that is how this variety of tea ended up getting such a name.

Type of tea

Both these much loved blends are two of the best known versions of black tea around the world. The tea known as Earl Grey generally has a mix of Chinese and Indian black teas which get naturally blended with the Bergamot oil from Italy. This combination gives Earl Grey a unique flavour and can be enjoyed best with or without the addition of milk.

English breakfast, on the other hand, packs a much heavier punch due to the teas that go into this blend. It is a mix of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan teas generally and can be had with the addition of milk or lemon.


When it comes to Earl Grey, the important thing to remember is that it should not have a very strong taste as it could spoil the actual essence of the tea. The citrus type flavour that it produces can be somewhat likened to the taste that a mix of grapes and lemons would emanate.

English Breakfast is quite a strong tea and has a full body and richness when it comes to taste. It also produces light floral undertones when milk gets added to it. Some even say, it produces an aroma which can be likened to honey and warm toast.  Interesting to say the least.

Best time to drink

Earl Grey is a tea which can be enjoyed at most times of the day since it is meant to be more of a soothing brew. The fact that it has a citrus sort of base means that it would produce a taste which would be appeal to the buds and be relaxing for the body and mind.

English Breakfast is generally the go to drink in the morning for a lot of people who are not coffee drinkers. Based on the blend, this tea is much stronger and has the ability to instantly shake up a person’s senses and wakes them up due to the caffeine which is present in this blend.

Side effects

The thing to remember is that everything should be consumed in moderation. There is a substance called bergapten in bergamot oil which has been known to be a potassium channel blocker. Too much of Earl Grey on a daily basis could lead to electrolyte disturbance with side effects being things like blurred vision, tingling sensations and muscle cramps. A few cups a day, though, would definitely keep the doctor away.

One of the best things about English Breakfast is that it is said to be devoid of calories. It does not mean filling the stomach throughout the day with this tea as that is when the side effects of the caffeine will kick in. Common problems are nausea, headaches, dizziness while some of the more serious problems could lead to irregular heartbeat.

Both these heavyweights pack punches of different kinds since they are similar in some ways and yet so different. It is best to try out both and would not come as a surprise if choosing a clear winner becomes a herculean task.


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