Is Earl Grey Tea Safe During Pregnancy? Caffeine and More

Quintessentially English, many women enjoy a nice warm cup of Earl Grey tea, especially when trying to cut back on coffee consumption throughout pregnancy. Is Earl Grey tea a mindful swap or is there anything that might make this tea unsafe?

Lower in caffeine than an average cup of coffee, traditional-style Earl Grey tea is safe to enjoy whilst pregnant. It is recommended to keep to a cup or two daily to maintain moderate caffeine consumption, however. 

Earl grey can sometimes be more than meets the eye, with inventive flavors and even decaf varieties to choose from. I’ll break down what to look for when shopping, as well as ways to minimize caffeine if desired, while still enjoying a cup of tea. 

Is Earl Grey Tea Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?

Traditional earl grey tea is a relatively simple beverage. This tea typically contains only two ingredients- black tea and bergamot. 

Though earl grey tea has a floral taste, bergamot is not a flower or herb at all. Bergamot is actually a type of Italian orange, and the oil from the rinds is used to flavor earl grey tea.

There are two ways to infuse the signature bergamot flavor, either steeping black tea leaves in bergamot oil or including pieces of the bergamot rind itself within the loose tea blend. 

Both black tea and bergamot are safe to continue during pregnancy, however, there are a few considerations to make before sipping on a warm cup of earl grey tea.

Many pregnant women wonder whether earl grey tea is safe to drink as it is caffeinated. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends limiting daily caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams throughout pregnancy (Source: ACOG)

One cup of traditional Twinings Earl Grey tea contains around 20-60 milligrams of caffeine, but depending on the type of tea leaves used in your earl grey, this amount may change. I’ll break down how to determine the amount of caffeine in your cup below.

Regardless, a cup or two of even the strongest earl grey is not likely to exceed your daily caffeine limit. 

earl gray  black loose tea leaves

How Much Caffeine Is in Earl Grey Tea?

Caffeine during pregnancy is one of the most often queried topics. A number of favorite foods and drinks are caffeinated, from soda and coffee to chocolate and even tea. 

Large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy are not recommended due to the risk of miscarriage and preterm labor (source: BJOG). Moderate caffeine intake, less than 200 milligrams daily, is deemed safe (ACOG). 

So how much caffeine is in a cup of earl grey? There are several factors that influence how much caffeine is in your cup of tea. Steep time, type of tea leaves used (red versus black, and so on), the amount of tea leaves used, and even water temperature all impact how much caffeine is released from the leaves. 

To decrease caffeine in your tea you can: steep for the recommended amount of time or less, choose a lower-caffeine type of tea, use fewer tea leaves or stick to only one sachet per mug, and keep the water temperature warm, not boiling hot. 

Since the type of tea used can affect how much caffeine is in your cup, I created a handy chart to compare. 

Earl Grey Tea TypeAverage Caffeine (mg)
Traditional earl grey- black tea50 mg
Rooibos earl grey0 mg
Decaf Earl grey<10 mg
Black coffee (for comparison)95 mg

If you’re concerned about caffeine intake or are trying to minimize caffeine as much as possible, try a rooibos earl grey, for a naturally caffeine-free drink with a similar flavor. 

Even if you brewed a concentrated cup of earl grey, it is unlikely to go over the 200-milligram daily limit. Enjoy your earl grey tea, but consider sticking to a cup or two per day to keep caffeine intake in check. 

Is Earl Grey and Bergamot Tea Safe When Pregnant?

Traditional earl grey tea, made from just black tea and bergamot, is safe to drink while pregnant so long as you are mindful of caffeine intake. 

While ‘pure’ earl grey tea is simply black tea and bergamot, there are many earl grey blends. Once other ingredients are added it becomes important to review the ingredients list to ensure no unsafe herbs or spices are added to the tea. A few earl grey blends that contain all pregnancy-safe ingredients include:

  • Breakfast in Paris (Stash)
  • Earl Grey Rooibos (DAVIDsTEA)
  • Chocolate Earl Grey (DAVIDsTEA)
  • Victorian London Fog (Harney & Sons)

As a rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to read tea labels carefully, as tea blend names don’t always tell the full story of ingredients. This is especially true if you are trying a new tea for the first time. 

pouring earl gray tea in tea cups

Can I Drink Decaf Earl Grey Tea When I’m Pregnant?

Similar to decaffeinated (decaf) coffees, decaf tea is not completely caffeine-free. 

There are a few different processes of removing the caffeine from the tea leaves. All of the methods work well to rid the majority but simply cannot remove 100% of the caffeine. On average, a cup of decaf traditional-style earl grey made from black tea will have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine remaining. 

Even though decaf earl grey is not truly caffeine-free, the lowered caffeine content means there is less risk of going over the recommended daily caffeine limit. Decaf Earl grey is safe to drink while pregnant and can be helpful to have on hand if you’re an avid earl grey fan. 

Though not caffeine-free, earl grey tea is a safe and lower-caffeine alternative to coffee for those searching for ways to cut back on caffeine during pregnancy. 

This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.

Samantha Broghammer, RD

Samantha Broghammer, RD is a Wisconsin-based registered dietitian and nutrition writer. In addition to contributing to Pregnancy Food Checker, she serves the mental health and wellness population as a clinical dietitian providing medical nutrition therapy to those of all ages, from toddlers through senior citizens.

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