Earl Grey?Edit

Should this be moved/cross-referred to "Earl Grey tea"?

Oil of bergamot is a main ingredient in that beverage, favored by Jean-Luc Picard in TNG. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).

No. These are two entirely different beverages with no ingredients in common --- see my notes below. Second, as the "Oil of Bergamot" used in Earl Grey Tea is only a flavoring and perfume, and as such represents less than 1 percent of the finished product, this is hardly what one would call a main ingredient.
However, because there is such a common confusion between the European Bergamot Orange (Citrus bergamia) and the American Bergamot Mint (Monarda didyma), one might profitably make a note to the effect that the "Oil of Bergamot" referred to is an essential oil derived from the Bergamot Orange, and not the Bergamot Mint, and cite their Latin names in both entries. The other confusion that is the result of the use of the term "tea" for both of these beverages, I regard as hopeless, being that 'Bergamot Tea' is one of the common names for (Monarda didyma) --- and nobody anymore seems to understand the difference between a 'tea' and a 'simple', being that both are infused in a 'teapot' --- BUT properly speaking, 'tea' is only 'tea' when it's from the 'tea plant' (Thea Chinensis or Camellia Chinensis) and one's teapot should be exclusively reserved for brewing tea, the subject of a rather large number of superstitions so as to avoid "off" flavors and/or breaking the pot whenever brewing tea.
While I could have done this for you, I didn't care to "step on" your entry, besides which as I'm not at my regular computer, this Wiki doesn't seem to be allowing me to log on.
My Notes:
Earl Grey tea is a proprietary blend of 'black teas' with a distinctively sweet smokey taste and aroma derived from the blend of teas, which has been further flavored and perfumed with the addition of "Oil of Bergamot" extracted from the rind of the Bergamot Orange, a fragrant citrus fruit. It's named after the 2nd Earl Grey, who was Prime Minister at the time it first became availible to the public, there are ONLY two companies who produce it, and there are at least two stories as to it's origin.
The first is a legend that usually involves a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey's men. This mandarin then made a present of this tea blend to the Prime Minister, and it proved so popular in the Prime Minister's drawing room that his tea merchants, 'Twinings in the Strand', were given a sample and asked to come up with a close match. Twinings then sold the first batches of this special blend as "Earl Grey's Tea" in the British market. As Twining's Earl Grey blend has always included China tea, Indian Darjeeling tea, and Ceylon tea, with a hint of Lapsang souchong, a strong "smokey" black tea; and at the time the aristocratic Chinese preferred delicate 'green teas' to the strong 'black teas' --- tea historians have always tended to doubt this version of the story, although no one disputes it that it was Twinings who originated the name.
Conversely, 'Jacksons of Piccadilly' claim that it was they who originated Earl Grey's Tea, Lord Grey having given the recipe to Robert Jackson & his partner George Charlton in 1830. According to Jacksons, the original recipe has been in constant production since 1830, never having left their hands, and that their blend has always been based on China teas --- implying that the Twining's blend was and still is nothing more than a cheap commercial copy of the original. Tea historians tend to believe that this version is the truth because back in the day, Oil of Bergamot was in common use by the English and French to flavor and sweeten smoking tobaccoes, as well as cakes, biscuits (read cookies) and other desserts, and they suggest that the earl might have dropped some in his good quality black tea to sweeten it in order to avoid using milk and sugar. Again, depending on who's telling the story, the earl either regarded milk and sugar to be injurious to one's health; and/or being an aristocrat, he despised the English habit of adulterating their teas with milk, cream, butter, sugar, and/or lemon juice because even their good quality teas were usually ruined for being badly brewed, badly served, and quite bitter by the time they hit the cup.
Regardless of it's true origin, Earl Grey tea was always intended to be a strong "cuppa", suitable as a 'breakfast tea' and the quick "pick me up". It is traditionally served black, without milk, cream, sugar, or lemon the way the 2nd Earl Grey preferred to drink his tea. Earl Grey is, and always has been, an expensive 'gormand' tea for picky, demanding tea drinkers. If you bother to buy Earl Grey at all, buy it only from Twinings or Jacksons in a tin, have it airmailed overnight if necessary to be sure that it's very fresh, use it up quickly, don't use distilled, filtered, or chlorinated water that's "dead" or that tastes bad to brew it, and don't over brew it or let it sit long in the teapot before serving. Otherwise, you'll nark yourself off as being just another barbarian who doesn't know how to brew tea, and you might as well drink the common Lipton with orange peel, saving yourself the bother, sneers and expense. Earl Grey is a very fussy tea to make as the Oil of Bergamot flavoring evaporates rapidly when exposed to heat, air and light in the box and in the pot; and the other tea companies who produce so called Earl Grey teas tend to use cheap substitutes that may even cause seizures in some people, depending upon what substitutes were used. In the same way that there are no substitutes for Coke or Pepsi, there are no substitutes for the two real Earl Greys produced by Twinings or Jacksons, so don't support these rip off companies by buying their expensive knock off teas.
The discriminating have always had a very strong preferences between Twining's Earl Grey and Jackson's Earl Grey. Offhand, Jackson's seems to be smoother, sweeter, and the Bergamot flavoring predominates over the "smoke". It's less fussy in the pot, can sit longer in the pot before being served, and may be brewed quite strong with more tea to water for more of the caffine kick before it gets too bitter to drink. Twining's Earl Grey is much smokier, it's very fussy in the pot, it must be served the very instant that it's brewed, and it's quite bitter when badly brewed or when too much tea is used to brew it. Although Jackson's is likely the better quality blend, I like Twining's Earl Grey better because "less tea is more" when brewing it, and it has a richer, much more complex taste and aroma when properly brewed and served. Regular coffee and expresso drinkers, like myself, do tend to like Twining's better, whereas regular tea drinkers usually prefer Jackson's. It may be an urban legand, but I was told that there was a scientific study done to this effect, but I don't now remember all of the story, or what their conclusions were.
Because it's such a fussy tea, I've always had trouble believing that the very discriminating Picard would ever consent to drinking replicated Earl Grey without gagging at the very idea.
Bergamot Tea, on the other hand, is an American mint used for making "tea". Other common names for this plant include 'Bergamot', 'Bergamot Mint', 'Bergamot Mint Tea','Bee Balm' or 'Oswego Tea', and it is commonly mispronounced by Americans as "Berga-mont", or "Berga-mount", even among those who spell it Bergamot. When made from fresh green tender young leaves, it makes a nice hot infusion for whatever ails you with a relatively mild mint flavor and orangy aroma as opposed to the strong mint snap of peppermint or spearmint. Older leaves, and dried leaves don't taste as good, but they can still be used for medicinal purposes. Fresh or dried, when used medicinally, it's a digestive and mild antiseptic, particularly good for the ear infections and sniffles of children, and the "winter chills" of both children and adults to stave off illness and frost bite. It's also used for colds, fevers, flu, hayfever, diarrhea, heartburn, gas, colic, stomach troubles, sea sickness, nausea, vomiting, and the morning sickness of pregnant women, but YMMV as to it's effectiveness for these ailments. Where I grew up, it was used in the same manner as the Jewish chicken soup. When sick, you were required to drink gallons of the stuff sweetened with touch of honey or sugar, and you weren't allowed to drink anything else in the way of milk, coffee, tea, cocoa, or soda pop until you were well, except for broths, soy milk, barley water, or boiled water flavored with apple cider vingar. When used in this manner, avoiding milk, eggs, wheat, and all of their products, it was particularly effective for relieving congestion, and coughs due to congestion, and didn't taste bad on the second go around when vomiting --- meaning that children are more apt to stay hydrated because they are much more willing to drink it when ill than other beverages that sour in the stomach. Some Native American tribes (I don't know which ones) used Bergamot Mint as a purifier in sweat baths for women and children, both drinking it as a beverage and sprinkling the infusion or fresh leaves on the hot rocks for steam. This was done whenever the more commonly used sage, fir etc. were regarded as being "too strong" for the person being sweated. That I've noticed, it's especially nice for sweat baths on hot muggy days whenever the temperature hits 80, or above, as drinking the tea seems to rehydrate people much more quickly than plain water alone, the steam from the leaves or tea promotes sweating without overheating, and the combination seems to prevent the nausea associated with sweat baths. Historically in the area of my birth, Bergamot Mint Tea was used by Native Americans, Metis, blacks and poor whites alike as a specific for what are now known to be water borne illnesses, and food poisoning.
""The whole plant is strongly impregnated with a delightful fragrance; even after the darkly-coloured leaves have died away, the surface rootlets give off the pleasant smell by which the plant has earned its common name 'Bergamot,' it being reminiscent of the aroma of the Bergamot Orange. It is known in America as 'Oswego Tea,' named after an East Coast Native American Indian tribe, because early colonists first learned of it's use as a tea from this tribe. However, the infusion of its young leaves was in common use among most of the tribes of the United States wherever it grew, for a beverage and medicinal tea, and it's use was not something peculiar to the Oswego alone. The plant is also sometimes called 'Bee Balm,' as bees are fond of its red blossoms, which secrete much nectar. It delights in a moist, light soil, and in a situation where the plants have only the morning sun, where they will continue in flower longer than those which are exposed to the full sun. It is a very ornamental plant and readily propagated by its creeping roots and by slips or cuttings, which, if planted in a shady corner in May, will take root in the same manner as the other Mints.""
I'd cite you this quote but I've lost the link. Sorry.
spacewing The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).


  • Since Earl Grey tea is flavored with bergamot, there is a possibility that this tea is the same as or similar to Earl Grey (such as the variety commonly known as Earl Green, which uses green tea, rather than the black variety). The term may have been thrown in by the writers of "Night" as a subtle reference to the tea which Captain Jean-Luc Picard favored.

"Possibility" and "may have been" equals speculation unless proof is given.--31dot 17:41, August 30, 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the note as written was too speculative, but how about something simple like this:
Oil of bergamot is also used to flavor Earl Grey tea.
Would that be OK? —Josiah Rowe 18:02, August 30, 2010 (UTC)