Mead Lover’s Digest #180 Tue 27 July 1993

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator

Bergamot ("George Paap")

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Date: 26 Jul 1993 16:21:23 U
From: "George Paap" <>
Subject: Bergamot

7/26/93 From: george
I posted the question about bergamot to the herb list
I am on. Hope this helps:

Bergamot is a bit confusing until you’ve sorted out all the various
I hope I can help clarify some of them.

The bergamot in Earl Grey tea is the herb Monarda didyma. It is also
known as Bee Balm, Oswego Tea, and a few other regional names (Rooster’s
Comb in the Waterloo area, for example). This herb is native to North America,
and was used as a tea by the Oswego indians (and undoubtedly several other
native peoples, but the Oswegos got the credit). It was also adopted as a
tea substitute in New England when tea was scarce after the Boston Tea Party.
I don’t know when the name "Earl Grey" was given to the mixture of bergamot and
black tea. I’ve made my own Earl Grey tea by mixing black tea with the leaves
and flowers of bergamot. I prefer the flavour of the flowers, myself, although
the leaves dry better for winter use.

The Bergamot Orange is a variety of citrus fruit which is grown in Southern
Europe and used in perfumery. My guess is that the herb was named "bergamot"
because its flavour was reminiscent of this fruit. There is no botanical
relationship between the two plants.

There are varieties of mint which are occasionally called "bergamot mint".
I think I’ve seen Mentha citrata called this, although I’m going on memory
here. In any case, these mints are not the same as true bergamot, even though
bergamot is in the mint family.

The best way to know for sure is to look or ask for the botanical name Monarda.

Hope this helps.

Bob Wildfong
Waterloo, Ontario
AgCan zone 5b, USDA zone 4

End of Mead Lover’s Digest