Whether it’s a soothing cup of Earl Grey Crème Tea, or a luxurious and comforting London Fog Tea, there’s no mistaking the unique flavor of bergamot. Anyone who is familiar with the iconic black tea blend knows the highly aromatic citrus notes bergamot brings is truly why any Earl Grey-style tea carries that name.
What is Bergamot?
Bergamot is a fragrant citrus fruit common throughout the Mediterranean. But unlike other citrus fruits, bergamots are extremely sour and are not eaten fresh. Instead, essential oils are extracted from the rind by cold-pressing peels of nearly ripe bergamot fruits, and then used to scent perfume, soap, and course, provides any tea carrying the title of Earl Grey with its signature flavor and aroma.
Though native to Asia, Bergamot is extensively grown in the Calabria region of southern Italy. It was named from the Italian City of Bergamot (or Bergamo) in Lombardy, where the oil was first sold. Fun fact: it takes 100 bergamot oranges to produce just 3 ounces of bergamot oil.
This bright combination of bergamot oil and organic Chinese black tea, along with cornflower, orange peel, and natural vanilla and crème flavoring creates the hallmark flavor of The Spice & Tea Exchange®’s Earl Grey Crème Tea.
It is the perfect starting point when making Earl Grey Crème Chocolate Mousse, a decadent dessert with a sweet, delicate finish. It also makes an easy swap for traditional Earl Grey in three-layer shortbread, Earl Grey Caramel Slice.
The Story Behind Earl Grey
Earl Grey tea was named after Charles Grey, an Earl (noble rank) and eventual Prime Minister of England. To this day, there is no official consensus on how he became associated with the tea, though one story is he was gifted a shipment of black tea & bergamot oranges from diplomats in China. The tea absorbed the aromas from the citrus during transit.
Another theory of origin is a Chinese friend of the Earl blended the tea with bergamot in hopes of offsetting the mineral taste in his home’s water. There is also a legend claiming Earl Grey saved the son of a Chinese tea blender from drowning and was given the recipe in a gesture of gratitude.
Whatever its origin, one can only be thankful for the iconic tea blend adored around the world.