August 30, 2011

Britons up in arms: Twinings to “change” Earl Grey tea

Filed under: Britain, Randomness — Tags: — Nicholas @ 07:42

Chris Greaves sent me this link, along with a hint that things could get dicey in English tea rooms:

Charles Grey, the second Earl Grey, gave the world many things, notable among them the Reform Act of 1832, but most of us remember him as the man they named a kind of tea after. Earl Grey is a brilliant tea; even its name conjures up both class and softness (most teas taste like they should be called Baron Harsh), and its taste — bergamot, by and large — is unique yet not too disturbing for the British palate.

I love it, and was once even mocked by John Cleese for ordering it at a writers’ meeting. (“Earl Grey?! Ooo! Ai’m going to have some AIRL GRAY!!” he yelled in a Monty Python shriek. He had himself ordered some sort of Californian fruit tea, so was not, I felt, in much of a position to criticise.)

Twinings’ bizarre plan to change the flavour of Earl Grey seems a misguided one. It has added more lemon and more bergamot to make it even more “wonderful”. Leaving aside the fact that only in the world of tea-producing have the words “more bergamot” and “wonderful” ever been combined, you do feel that they have, how can I put it, gone barmy. Earl Grey is Earl Grey. Variants like the apparently popular “Lady Grey” — it’s got orange in it — and this new Earl Grey Bergamot City, or whatever it’s called, are not really needed. (The Earl Grey-flavoured Kit-Kat was, if Wikipedia is to be believed, fortunately confined to the Japanese market.)

1 Comment

  1. I hope this will provoke tea consumers into trying the offerings of smaller tea companies. This is a huge own goal on the part of Twinings. Check out my view at http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/08/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it.html

    Comment by Matthew Steeples — August 30, 2011 @ 14:10

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