When you think of citrus and tea, lemon is probably the citrus fruit that springs to mind first. But don’t forget limes, oranges, etc. They add zest to your teatime!
Quick quiz: How many citrus fruits can you name?
- Orange — duh! everyone thinks of this one; becoming more common in flavored teas and herbals. The bergamot orange is the flavoring in the most popular flavored tea, Earl Grey.
- Lemon — the second one people think of and the one most associated with tea, both in pre-made blends and as an additive to the perfect cuppa black tea (especially Assam).
- Lime — yellowish-green, not as sours as lemons, lots of acid; not just for key lime pie and cookies.
- Grapefruit — several varieties; lots of fiber, beta carotene, iron, and calcium; low in calories. Sometimes called “the diet fruit.”
- Pummelo — larger than grapefruit, thicker outer skin; less sweet than other types of oranges; low calorie/fat.
- Tangelo — oblong shaped; lots of vitamins C and A; no fat or cholesterol.
- Mandarin — seedless, loose skin, sweet, high fiber, no fat or cholesterol.
- Tangerine — orange-red; citrus or sour taste; less acid content; lots of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, and B6, plus calcium, iron, and potassium.
- Kumquat — edible skin; used in cooking and alcoholic beverages.
- Clementine — seedless; high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
- Minneola — a cross between tangerine and grapefruit; easy-to-peel; also called the Minneola tangelo.
Teas and herbals that contain citrus: The trend to flavored teas seems to be a conveyor belt running faster and faster. More teas and herbals with one of the above types of citrus added in are becoming more common.
- Earl Grey tops the list. It’s the best known and has the longest history (first made in the early 1800s) of citrus-flavored teas. Versions are available from many sources, including Bewley’s, Davidsons, Harney and Sons, The Republic of Tea, Revolution Tea, Stash, Taylors of Harrogate, Twinings, and of course the English Tea Store’s Double Bergamot Earl Grey and British Earl Grey Flavored White Tea. (More on the real Earl Grey, the creator of this tea.)
- Teas with citrus added into the dry leaves, either as an oil, a zest, or rind pieces. There are black teas with lemon, cranberry orange flavored black tea, orange spice naturally flavored black tea, Pomegranate Lemon Organic Black Tea, Blood Orange Flavored Black Tea, and The Republic of Tea Orange Blossom White Tea.
- Herbals with citrus added such as Twinings Teas – Herbal Honeybush – Mandarin and Orange, The Republic of Tea – Tangerine Rooibos Kid’s Tea – 36 Teabags, Florida Orange Rooibos caffeine free tea loose leaf, Sunshine Lemon Rooibos Caffeine Free Tea – Loose Leaf – 16oz (1lb), and Davidsons Tangerine Almond Herbal.
Treats with citrus: Don’t forget citrus in things that go with tea.
- Curds, jams, and marmalades to add flavor to your scones, toast, biscuits (U.S. style), and other treats. Some good choices are Follain Seville Orange Marmalade, Sticky Fingers Orange Curd from Sticky Fingers Bakery, my fave Robertsons Lemon Curd, Elizabethan Pantry Key Lime Curd, and Jalapeno Tangerine Jam (tangerines give a marmalade-like flavor and jalapeños add a bit of heat).
- Speaking of scones, try some lemon poppy seed or cranberry-orange scones.
- Honeys flavored with lemon.
- Cookies and cakes like Norfolk Manor Lemon Biscuits, Too Good Gourmet Key Lime Tea Cookies, Bolands Lemon Puffs, Jacob’s Jaffa Cakes with a tasty bit of orange in the middle, Key Lime Coolers, and Mr Kipling Lemon Slices.
One thing is certain: lemon and milk together in your tea is not one of life’s great experiences. “Why?” you ask. In a word, “curdling.” Richard Feynman, noted physicist, wrote in one of his sort of autobiographical books, that when attending a university tea as a young man, he said he wanted both lemon and milk in his tea. His hostess replied: “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.” Yes he was. So beware!