Earl Grey is a tea blend with a pungent, smoky flavor that is derived from the addition of bergamot oil, extracted from the rind of bergamot citrus fruit.
The origin of “who first put leaf to water” is completely unknown to culinary historians. Before the mid-nineteenth century, botanists failed to decipher tea’s formula; however, many tales provide what human record does not. Like all teas, Earl Grey’s “distinctive quality… comes from essential oils that leach flavor and caffeine into a cup of hot water.” The exact source of the Earl Grey blend has remained a mystery, except that it is based on Chinese tea. Unlike other Chinese blends, Earl Grey tea contains the flavoring agent, bergamot oil. Before bergamot became tied to the Earl Grey blend, it had a bad reputation as being a taste enhancer for lower quality teas. In England, the first known reference of bergamot oil used as a flavoring ingredient for tea was in 1824. Read more here.