Homemade Earl Gray Cream Tea - photo philip blankenship

In addition to knowing the quality of the ingredients, personallisation is always a motive for making things from scratch. This delicious mix has all the components of a perfect cup of earl grey cream including some extra sweetness from fruity grapes and nutty bitterness from cocoa nibs.

Earl gray tea’s distinct flavor comes from bergamot orange, a sour orange mostly used for tea and perfume. The fragrant oil is extracted from the peel and considering how frequently the fruit is used in finished products it is surprisingly hard to find fresh. When our little garden tree is off season I order mine from buy exotic fruits. If bergamot orange is unavailable, a combination of various citrus fruits will make a refreshing substitute.

For this tea I dried champagne grapes in a dehydrator but regular grapes (or store bought raisins) would be equally flavorful.

Bergamot Earl Gray Cream Tea - photo philip blankenship

bergamot earl grey cream tea with champagne raisins & cocoa nibs
8 oz black Assam loose tea (organic here and here)
1 ½ cups champagne raisins (or regular raisins)
1 cup dried bergamot orange peel (bergamot oranges here)
1 cup raw cocoa nibs (organic here)
½ oz dried corn flowers (organic here)
3 tablespoons ground fresh whole vanilla pods

To dry citrus peel, break up the colored part of the peel into small pieces and dry in a dehydrator or in an oven on the lowest setting until they feel dry and light. Check every 30 minutes as the time vary between dehydrators and ovens from about 1-4 hours. Leave to cool.

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Lasts for 6-12 months but becomes weaker with time. Freeze for longer shelf life.

Makes about 7 cups loose tea.

Earl Gray Cream Tea - photo philip blankenship

Photography by Philip Blankenship.