hist-brewing: Re: Spice question

Michael L. Hall hall at galt.lanl.gov
Mon Jun 28 08:38:12 PDT 1999

OxladeMac at aol.com writes:
> I've got a mead recipe that calls for the steeping of 6 bags of Earl Grey tea 
> (probably for the tannins.)  I don't have any Earl Grey, but I do have some 
> peppermint tea.  Would this substitution be bad?  Would the peppermint be too 
> overpowering?

Tea will add tannins, and many meadsters use it for that reason. 
However, *Earl Grey* tea has a taste different from standard (orange
pekoe and black pekoe) tea; it is made with oil of bergamot.

Here's a good page that tells a lot about Earl Grey tea:


The page includes these comments:

     Earl Grey: This popular black tea was named for Charles Grey,
     the second earl in his line, who was also prime minister to
     King William IV in the early 19th century. An amalgamation of
     Indian and Sri Lankan teas, Earl Grey gets its elusive flavor
     from oil of bergamot. The Earl is said to have been given the
     recipe by a Chinese mandarin with whom he was friends.

     Bergamot [BER-gah-mot]: A small acidic orange with a peel
     that yields an essential oil ­ called essence of bergamot ­
     which is used for perfumes and confections. The peel is used
     in Earl Grey tea. It's also candied and used in the same way
     as other candied fruit peels.


Michael L. Hall, Ph.D.                    <mailto:hall at lanl.gov>        
Past President, Los Alamos Atom Mashers   <http://hbd.org/atommash>    
Member, AHA Board of Advisors             <http://www.beertown.org/aha.html>
The Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, describes the creation of
the world in 200 verses, but it uses 400 verses to describe the origins
of beer. -- Malt of the Earth, True Brew Facts

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