What is Royal Tea?

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A “Majestic” Guide to Royal Tea

Who else has ever found themselves wondering what ‘Royal Tea’ actually is? (Raises hand.)
I love Royal Milk Tea, so every time I came across the name “Royal tea” I thought both could be related.
But after some extensive research, I’ve realized they are different things.

To save you the time, I’ve gathered my findings in this blog post.
So, my fellow tea enthusiast, let me be your trusty guide as we go on an exploration of the fabulous world of Royal Tea!

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What is Royal Tea? Unraveling the Royal Tea Mystery

Royal tea is an intriguing term that can refer to two different concepts:

  1. high-quality tea that is luxurious
  2. a particular way of enjoying tea, similar to “afternoon tea” (but posher)

“Royal tea” as a name

When naming their teas and tea blends, many brands use the term “Royal” to imply that their product meet superior standards.

There are even brands with the term “Royal” in their name.

However, the term is somewhat subjective, as different people might associate different characteristics with “Royal” teas.

Generally, the term is linked with lavishness, luxury and sophistication.

But as far as I know, there are no rules on what makes a tea “royal”, at least where I live.
So, theoretically you could* probably call your own tea blends “Royal” if you feel like giving it a classy name.

*Please be aware that this is based on my personal opinion. Everything I write is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice, as I am not a lawyer.

Royal milk tea

A mug with creamy beverage called royal milk tea, made from black tea that’s simmered in milk

One example of tea that features “Royal” in its title is Royal Milk Tea.

Royal Milk Tea is a popular way to prepare black tea in Japan that involves simmering, like chai.

You may have also come across it as a flavor at bubble tea shops.
People often compare this Japanese milk tea to Hokkaido milk tea and occasionally use their names interchangeably.

A tea house in Japan coined the term “Royal milk tea” in the mid 1960s, probably to hint the luxurious and creamy texture of the beverage.

If case you are curious about these milk teas, you can check here the recipes:


Here are more examples of tea that often carry the “royal” label:


Darjeeling tea is often marketed as “royal” because it is highly regarded by tea connoisseurs.
It has a delicate and unique flavor profile with floral and musky hints, earning the nickname “champagne of teas.”

Just as champagne MUST be come from a specific region of France to get that name, Darjeeling tea only grows Darjeeling (West Bengal, India).

The tea plant used to make this tea is of the small-leafed Chinese variety, which thrives in the cool and misty climate of the Himalayan foothills.

The limited supply and high demand for Darjeeling tea further adds to its exclusivity.

Earl Grey

Earl Grey tea is associated with royalty because it is named after Charles Grey, the Second Earl Grey.

Legend has it that during a diplomatic mission to China, the Earl saved the life of a Chinese man’s son.
As a token of gratitude, the Mandarin man gifted Charles Grey tea flavored with bergamot oil.

The Earl reportedly fell in love with this unique flavor, so he brought it back to England and asked a local tea merchant to recreate it.

The result became known as Earl Grey tea or “Earl Grey’s mixture”.
The blend then quickly gained popularity among the aristocracy, eventually becoming a favorite of Queen Victoria herself.

While it’s difficult to verify the exact details of this story, the connection of this unique blend with the aristocracy and royalty persisted.
That’s why Earl Grey tea remains an iconic tea associated with elegance and sophistication.

By the way, have you seen how often earl grey blends with loose tea leaves contain cornflowers (wich are blue)?
The reason for this might be in the next section.

RELATED: How to make your own Earl Grey blend

Blue elements

Royalty (and nobility) has had a longstanding association with the color blue, mainly because producing of blue dyes was difficult and expensive.

Consequently, in numerous cultures, blue was exclusively a color for clothing and accessories of the elite classes.

It was also a beloved choice for royal crests and coats of arms.

This association with royalty has carried over into the world of tea.
That’s why many blends featuring the word “royal” in their name often incorporate blue dried flowers (blue cornflowers).

Due to this link, many brands also use blue letters or decorative elements in their designs for tea blends they market as “royal”.

Tea brands associated with royalty

There are several tea brands bonded with royalty.

Twinings, for example, has been supplying tea to the British monarchy for over 300 years.
Also, it holds a Royal Warrant (an official recognition of royal patronage) that dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria.

Fortnum & Mason, a luxury department store in London, has also been granted multiple Royal Warrants over the centuries.

Other tea brands with connections to royalty include the American brand Harney & Sons tea, which has been enjoyed in several palaces, and Mariage Frères that was closely linked to the French court.

Royal Tea vs. High Tea vs. Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea, high tea, and royal tea are all types of tea services that are popular in the United Kingdom.

The differences between them are:

Afternoon tea

Finger sandwiches, scones and sweets served in a three stored tray for afternoon tea

Afternoon tea is an English tradition that consists on a light meal, usually served between 2 pm and 5 pm.

It includes finger food like crust-less sandwiches (usually cut into small pieces), scones, pastries and cakes.

Originally, it was a social occasion for ladies.

High tea

High tea is a more substantial meal than afternoon tea.

It typically takes place between 5 pm and 7 pm and includes hot dishes like meat pies, quiches, and casseroles.

It was originally intended as a meal for workers after a long day.

Royal tea

Royal tea consist of premium teas, a wide selection of delightful sweets and sandwiches, just as afternoon tea.

The main difference is that Royal tea includes champagne.
However, there seems to be a general consensus about royal tea being somehow posher that afternoon tea.

Common questions about Royal tea

What does royal tea taste like?

Royal tea can taste different depending on the blend.
There are many tea blends with the name “royal,” but there are no set rules about what makes a tea “royal”; it’s rather a marketing label used to promote the idea that the tea or tea blend is premium or luxurious.

What type of tea is royal tea?

Royal tea is not a specific type of tea, but rather a name used by many tea brands to denote high-quality and exquisiteness.
But are no specific rules or criteria for tea to be considered royal.
So, ultimately it’s up to the brand to define it.
Some common types of tea under this designation are Darjeeling, Earl Grey, and blends with floral and fruity notes.

What is royal tea made of?

There is no specific set of ingredients that make up royal tea because this is a marketing name to connote that it’s high-quality and exquisite.
Therefore, the ingredients and flavor profile will vary depending on the particular blend or brand.
Royal milk tea on the other hand is a recipe usually made with black tea, a small amount of water, milk and sugar.

What is the difference between milk tea and royal tea?

Milk tea simply refers to tea that has milk. On the other hand, royal tea is a marketing term to suggest that the tea is of high-end and premium.
However, it is common to confuse the term “royal tea” with “royal milk tea”. The difference between milk tea and royal milk tea is that the latter is creamier because if contains more milk than regular milk tea and the tea is brewed by simmering it in the milk.

And that was all about royal tea and the different variations of it.
From classic Earl Grey to the aromatic Royal Milk Tea and other flavorful blends, enjoying a cup of tea can transport you to a world of relaxation and indulgence.

So, brew a pot of your favorite tea and take a moment to experience the tea-rrific kingdom of rich flavors and aromas that awaits you!

Got in the mood for tea time? Try this recipes!:

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