Since its inception back in the 18th century, Earl Grey Tea was a unique blend of black tea with bergamot oil. But with the recent healthy foods revolution, green tea is gaining popularity in the West. Many large brewers such as Twinnings are now selling green tea blends of earl grey both online and in retail stores.
So just what is green tea and how is it different than the black tea we here in the West have grown more accustomed to? Green tea is the more natural variant of tea, made solely with the leaves of Camellia sinensis and undergoing a minimum level of oxidation. Green tea has traditionally been preferred in China, (the native home of tea) Japan, and the Middle East. Black tea is much more processed and has a much greater degree of oxidation and caffeine levels. The main reason black tea took off in the West is because while green tea only retains its taste for about a year, black tea can store it for much longer. This made it ideal for commerce in the early 19th century when it took much longer to export a product from Asian to the European markets.
Even today, black tea accounts for 90% of all tea sales in the West but this is gradually changing. Green tea is much more natural and healthy than its heavily processed cousin, and people are beginning to realize that. What are the health benefits? Firstly, it has less caffeine (a stimulant) than black tea. Secondly, it has been shown to increase the rate of fat oxidation in the body. This means green tea can help obese people lose weight and keep it off. The antioxidants found in green tea are also effective in keeping the body safe from free radicals that destroy vital organ tissue. There are several other health claims made by proponents of green tea but these have not yet been scientifically proven so readers should take them with a grain of salt. It has been said that green tea consumption can stop certain neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s from developing but cannot reverse the diseases once they’ve taken root. Green tea has also been said to neutralize the effects of ‘bad’ cholesterol so those suffering from a high cholesterol are encouraged to try it for a few weeks and seeing if it helps. New flavors of Earl Grey Tea are still being created regularly too, so check out your local grocery store for new flavors.