Earl Grey is in my top five teas. On some days, it even earns the number one spot. Part of what makes this tea variety a popular favorite is its distinct flavor and aroma. What is the source of this noticeable bite? A scan of the ingredients will reveal the culprit…bergamot oil. Oh, bergamot oil, of course! Wait, what's a bergamot and why is it oily? My acquired taste for this curious tea additive demanded that I find out. I'll skip the other obvious question surrounding this tea, which is why it’s called Earl Grey. In short, a British politico named Charles Grey liked the particular blend so much that it was named after him.
The bergamot, as it turns out, is a variety of orange. This citrus fruit is often grown in Italy and France. The rind's fragrant oil is added to black tea to give Earl Grey its signature pungent punch. This new information makes me wonder if Bergamot trees could grow or are currently grown in California's mediterranean-esque climates alongside lemon and orange groves. Could provide for some fun homemade brewing…of which Chuck G. himself would approve.