Interviewer: Good morning, and welcome to Morning Call, London’s favourite lifestyle show. Our first guest on today's programme is Lucy Lim, a senior buyer for the world-famous tea company, 'Total Teas' a company based in London. She travels regularly to India, Sri Lanka and China to buy supplies of tea to be shipped back to the Britain. Good morning, Lucy, and welcome.
Lucy: Good morning.
Interviewer: I understand you’re a bit of a tea fan…
Lucy: Oh completely. I’m obsessed! As far as I’m concerned, you can forget coffee, juice, soft drinks – they’re just also-rans.
Interviewer: Now, in the next few minutes you're going to tell us everything we need to know about one of the world's favourite teas. It is certainly my favourite breakfast beverage. I have a cup every morning before I leave home.
Lucy: You are not alone. According to a survey carried out by my company last year, 'Earl Grey' is the second favourite tea blend we sell. It got seventeen per cent of the total votes.
Interviewer: Ah... those magic words ..... Earl Grey ..... delicious. What exactly makes a cup of 'Earl Grey' taste so good?
Lucy: Well, Earl Grey is a blend of black China tea treated with oil of the Bergamot citrus fruit, which gives the tea its distinctive perfumed aroma and flavour.
Interviewer: Bergamot? What's a bergamot?
Lucy: It's a small fruit related to the orange, which grows in South East Asia and Italy. But not all bergamot are created equal – some are of poor quality, so don't assume that all Earl Grey taste the same. 'Total Teas' use oil from top quality fruit that is picked when it's fully ripe.
Interviewer: Yes, I've tried different brands of 'Earl Grey' in the past, but I always come back to yours.
Lucy: Oh, Thank you! You also have to use a base tea that is of a high quality. You can't make a good Earl Grey by trying to disguise a poor quality tea with lots of bergamot oil. You can tell if a quality tea has been used if the liquid is bright and clear and golden. A good 'Earl Grey' should also feel smooth in your mouth.
Interviewer: I must ask you. Who was Earl Grey? Did he invent the recipe for the tea?
Lucy: Not quite! The story goes that a British nobleman, Earl Grey, was in China in 1803 on a diplomatic mission. He rescued the son of a Chinese mandarin from drowning. The mandarin was so grateful that he gave Earl Grey a secret tea recipe to take back to Europe. And the rest is tea history!
Interviewer: Fascinating! Lucy, thank you very much for talking to us. Well, listeners, we're going to take a break now. Just enough time to put the kettle on and make a delicious cup of Earl Grey. It’s definitely time for a brew.