Posted in Kafevend Blog

We've often enjoyed going off on a tangent or two on this blog, and today will let us add another mark to the tally as we take a look at oranges! As tangents go though, it is a fairly well linked one. For those who read last week's article on Earl Grey, you'll know that it's the oil of the bergamot orange that gives it its distinct taste. Sweet and bitter oranges have also found their way into the tea flavouring repertoire, and it is those that we shall be looking at today.

Quite where either originated is not known, but they are generally thought to have grown in southern Asia in countries like China and India and parts of the Malay archipelago. It was the Chinese who appeared to have first cultivated the sweet orange as far back as 2000 B.C.E. before it eventually began to spread westwards. The bitter orange was the first to be introduced to Europe when they were brought back by the crusaders in the 11th century C.E. The sweet orange didn't arrive for another 400 years at the start of the 16th century, but it quickly became a sought-after luxury item.

The popularity of the sweet orange prompted the wealthy classes who could enjoy the delicacy to build structures known as orangeries, which became symbols of prestige and status throughout Europe. Aside from being an exuberant garden feature, orangeries did have a practical side. During the cold winter months in some countries, the orange trees (and later other plants) which were sensitive to the weather were moved inside. Fires or stoves were used to keep the building warm, and the trees would last out the months until they could be moved outside again.

These days of course oranges can be enjoyed by everyone, and without the need for a snazzy greenhouse. If you enjoy the taste and want to try something different, there are a range of orange enhanced teas on offer around and about. Though we mentioned it earlier, it bears mentioning again that Earl Grey is worth a try. Whittards provide an orange blossom loose leaf tea, which features orange blossom flowers and peel blended with black tea. Also on the menu from Twinings is their orange and lotus flower green tea.

Alongside the tea on offer from various companies, you can also try making your own using this simple method:

-Place a couple of slices of orange into a glass and add a small amount of boiling water. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes to let the oils release into the water,

-Meanwhile, make up a normal cup of black tea. Once done, add it to the glass with the orange slices.

-Add sugar or honey to sweeten to your preferred taste.

Keeping up the citrus theme, you might like to enjoy your orange tea with a slice of lemon drizzle cake, although any cake at all is a bonus!

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