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Is There a Perfume in Earl Grey Tea?

Have you ever tasted a flavour of perfume when you have a cup of Earl Grey tea? Sometimes, I have seen people who don’t like Earl Grey tea because it feels like they drink perfume. Why do some people think this way? That’s because there are two different kinds of plants called the same name - Bergamot.

One is bergamot(Citrus bergamia) belonging to the citrus family - this is bergamot orange. This plant has fruits and most of which grows in Calabria in Italy. The shape of the bergamot orange is similar to oranges, tangerines, limes, etc., and the colour of the bergamot orange is yellow. Generally, the fruits are not consumed on their own due to their bitterness and sourness. Instead, the bergamot oranges are mostly for essential oil, extracted from the peels of the fruits. The oil has a refreshing and cool scent like orange. Earl Grey tea is made by adding this oil to malty and full-flavored black tea.

<Picture 1. - leonori / Getty Images>*

Another is bergamot(Monarda didyma), one of the herbs. The flavour is very similar to bergamot orange. The fact that both tastes similar brings confusion to people. Unlike Earl  tea made from bergamot orange, bergamot herbal tea is called ‘Oswego Tea’ or ‘Bee Balm Tea’ - because bergamot herb attracts bees. The dark pink flowers and green leaves can be used as ingredients for cooking and herbal tea after drying them. Also, the dried herb can provide a fresh scent to rooms and wardrobes. Besides, essential oils are extracted from this herb to make perfumes, cosmetics, candles. You might come across Earl Grey tea with blue flowers in it. This is Lady Grey, a variation on Earl Grey tea trademarked by Twinings. The flavour between Lady Grey and Earl Grey tea is similar, but you can feel more orange and lemon flavour in Lady Grey. Many think that blue flowers are bergamot herbs. But funny enough, the blue flowers are cornflowers and have nothing to do with the bergamot.

<Picture 2. - Britannica>*

In conclusion, this misunderstanding has arisen because of the same scented plants. Earl Grey tea that we enjoy drinking is made with essential oil from bergamot oranges. On the contrary, the bergamot herb is not an ingredient for Earl Grey tea. Now that we know the bergamot orange and the bergamot herb are different. Whilst the Earl Grey tea nourishes your body, let this article enriches your wisdom.




[Reference] 2021. Bergamot orange. [online] Available at: < 2021. Monarda didyma. [online] Available at: < 2021. Lady Grey (tea). [online] Available at: <>

Bags, E. and Bags, L., 2021. What is Bergamot?. [online] Twinings UK & Ireland. Available at: <

Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Bergamot | herb. [online] Available at: <>

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