There is a misconception that the ingredient that lends Earl Grey its famous, refreshing citrus scent and flavour is Bergamot the herb (also known as Scarlet Beebalm or Monarda didyma, native to North America). This, however, is false!
That classic Earl Grey flavour tastes like citrus because it comes directly from a true citrus - The Bergamot Orange.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is commercially grown in Calabria, Italy, and has become so renowned that the fruit has come to symbolize the whole region (though it is also grown in other favourably warm regions). Unlike other orange varieties, bergamot citrus is not grown for its juice - instead, the oranges are harvested and pressed to extract the fragrant essential oil from their rinds.
Like any agricultural product, the flavour of the oil depends on many factors: temperature, environment and weather, plant care, soil quality (terroir), and processing methods. The flavour may change season-to-season, even from the same tree. Tea plants are similar in this way - its flavour is very sensitive to growing conditions and often changes slightly harvest to harvest.
We recently had to switch our Earl Grey supplier due to market shortages and Covid-19. After many samples and a lot of trial and error, we are elated to have found a direct and reliable source for fresh, cold-pressed, certified organic 100% essential oil of bergamot from Calabria with a taste we love. From now on, all of our Earl Grey will be small-batch blended in-house with this oil.
Please see the 'Classic Earl' page on our website and recent labels for updated tasting notes.
We can't wait for you to try it!