View Poll Results: How do you feel about Twinings changing their Earl Grey?
It sucks! Grab the torches and pitchforks! We're marching on Andover! 8 8.70%
I've tried the new formulation. It's better. 0 0%
Twinings isn't my favorite Earl Grey anyway. I prefer a different brand. 12 13.04%
I don't drink Earl Grey, so I don't care. 28 30.43%
I don't drink tea at all, so I don't care. 9 9.78%
I haven't tried the new one yet, so I have no opinion. 30 32.61%
Sheesh, Robson. Get a life. 2 2.17%
What Huerta88 said in post #27 (that "linen sachet" thing) 3 3.26%
Voters: 92. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:45 AM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Twinings changed Earl Grey tea - How do you feel?

For those who don't know the story, British tea giant Twinings was the company that first marketed Earl Grey tea. They've just changed the formulation, adding more bergamot (more detail on my blog here). People appear to be coming apart at the seams over this.

How does this affect you? What will you do about it?
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:46 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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I'll stick to Bushells or Billy Tea.
  #3  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:49 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I drink Ahmad tea, or I get my tea from the tea store. Twinings is tea for break rooms and diners.

But I like Earl Grey tea for the bergamot. I don't think I'd mind having more of it.
  #4  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:54 AM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I drink Ahmad tea, or I get my tea from the tea store. Twinings is tea for break rooms and diners.

But I like Earl Grey tea for the bergamot. I don't think I'd mind having more of it.
Agreed on all points, though I'd note Twinings has also added lemon. I have real reservations here.

But yah, Twinings is acceptable, but I prefer to get my tea from a local tea shop. And lapsang souchong is more my thing, anyway. (Though adding bergamot could be neat ...)
  #5  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:03 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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Okay- after reading your blog I need to know why you know so much about tea?
  #6  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:11 AM
twickster twickster is offline
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Twinings Earl Grey is my tea of choice, so this concerns me. Luckily, a Doper had a discount offer in the Marketplace last winter, and I stocked up big time -- I should be good for a couple of months anyway.
  #7  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:16 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Moved thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.
  #8  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:25 AM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Not a big fan of Earl Grey, but they stock it in the break room at work, so once in a blue moon I have some. Unfortunately it's Bigelow's so I probably won't get a chance to try the new Twinings.
  #9  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:28 AM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent View Post
But yah, Twinings is acceptable, but I prefer to get my tea from a local tea shop. And lapsang souchong is more my thing, anyway. (Though adding bergamot could be neat ...)
Oooh. Lapsang Souchong with bergamot? I'm going to give that a try. I'll go blend up a bit and then report back and let you know...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cicero View Post
Okay- after reading your blog I need to know why you know so much about tea?
I own a tea bar. I also can't stand coffee, so I've been drinking tea my whole life.

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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Moved thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.
Oh, yeah. We enabled polls in Cafe Society. I forgot.
  #10  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:34 AM
ricksummon ricksummon is offline
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Does this mean they're going to have to re-dub all the episodes of ST:TNG?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Tea. Earl Grey. Pre-2011. Hot.
  #11  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:56 AM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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Oooh. Lapsang Souchong with bergamot? I'm going to give that a try. I'll go blend up a bit and then report back and let you know...

I own a tea bar. I also can't stand coffee, so I've been drinking tea my whole life.

Oh, yeah. We enabled polls in Cafe Society. I forgot.
I'm looking forward to hearing how the Post-Apocalyptic Earl Gray works out! (Named thus because, with the smokiness of the lapsang, it should be like Earl Gray that survived some firey holocaust and came out awesome.)

Also: You own a tea bar? Can I be your friend?
  #12  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:59 AM
Taomist Taomist is offline
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I like Earl Grey <or did; haven't tried the new one yet> but after just a few cups my mouth would take on a very weird feel; it'd start tasting stronger too, which I always associated with the bergamot. So I don't think MORE bergamot is going to taste good to me. But I'm sure I'll try it.
  #13  
Old 09-03-2011, 12:01 PM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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I bought some ridiculously expensive kettle that sits on the stove and it has a thermometer- when it reaches a certain temperature it is supposed to be okay for green tea, when hotter, it is fine for black tea.

It is a feature I have never used.
  #14  
Old 09-03-2011, 12:53 PM
Tapiotar Tapiotar is offline
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If I drink Twinings, I'll go for Lady Gray, rather than Earl Gray.
But my favorite teas come from a local shop where they create their own blends, or from
*WARNING! PRETENTIOUSNESS ALERT!*
Le Palais Des Thés in Paris. They do internet mail order, and have wonderful, wonderful teas. Thé des Moines is my favorite for winter. Thé du Hamman has marvelous, sensual aromas that invoke images of long, langorous lovemaking in the tropics. The cardamom-scented tea I'm going to use in desserts.
  #15  
Old 09-03-2011, 01:33 PM
Miss Mapp Miss Mapp is offline
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I've never cared much for Twining's Earl Grey, but it doesn't sound like this is a change for the better for me. I don't like the taste of strong bergamot, and prefer milder blends, like Lady Grey or one called Dorian Grey which a friend introduced me to last year.
  #16  
Old 09-03-2011, 01:49 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricksummon View Post
Does this mean they're going to have to re-dub all the episodes of ST:TNG?
Remember, as much as they'd like you to believe otherwise: not all Earl Grey tea is Twinings. There are many awesome Earl Greys that I personally believe are better than theirs. Like everything else, it's subjective.

I'm going to assume that Picard is the one who taught the replicator what Earl Grey is supposed to taste like, so it's always the formulation he likes anyway.
  #17  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:04 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I own a tea bar.
is it as popular and accessible as this tea bar in China ?



(I've always wanted to go there for a nice, relaxing cuppa tea. But, gee whiz, now that they've changed Earl Grey, I suppose it's just not worth the trip......... )

Last edited by chappachula; 09-03-2011 at 02:07 PM.
  #18  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:16 PM
Rhiannon8404 Rhiannon8404 is offline
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I don't care because I really, really dislike Earl Grey tea. I don't even like the smell of it.
  #19  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:19 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Remember, as much as they'd like you to believe otherwise: not all Earl Grey tea is Twinings. There are many awesome Earl Greys that I personally believe are better than theirs. Like everything else, it's subjective.
You can't say that without telling us which ones you like better!
  #20  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:36 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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I have to wonder if they made the change because of the perceived popularity of flavored tea, particularly fruit flavored.

I like subtle bergamot, not hit-you-over-the-head bergamot. Therefore, I anticipate I will be less than thrilled with the change.
  #21  
Old 09-03-2011, 03:39 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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I don't care because I really, really dislike Earl Grey tea. I don't even like the smell of it.
There's an anecdote I read in a bio of XTC about the social differences between Andy Partridge and original drummer Terry Chambers. Partridge gave Chambers a cup of Earl Grey tea and Chambers got angry, thinking Partridge was trying to trick him into drinking perfume.
  #22  
Old 09-03-2011, 03:53 PM
typoink typoink is offline
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I'm not quite ready to throw a fit here, but...I don't like this.

The whole point of Twinings Earl Grey is that it's Twinings Earl Grey. You can drink it and feel like you're connected to a rich tradition, and it's always the same, and it's just there.

Even if this new mix tastes better (and it might, Twinings isn't the best Earl Grey I've had) it means that there's no more "real" Twinings Earl Grey. And that's no good!
  #23  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:03 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent View Post
I'm looking forward to hearing how the Post-Apocalyptic Earl Gray works out! (Named thus because, with the smokiness of the lapsang, it should be like Earl Gray that survived some firey holocaust and came out awesome.)
I'm going to be tweaking the recipe a bit, but here's my first report back:

The various strong flavors in this tea hit you at different times. As you bring the cup up to your mouth, the bergamot is the first thing to hit the nose, cutting through the smokiness of the lapsang souchong. When you take the first sip, the bergamot all but disappears, leaving the pine smoke flavor, which fades into the base tea (an organic black Yunnan) as it swirls through your mouth. After you swallow, the bergamot returns, blending with the smoke to create a lingering aftertaste.

I think I'll cut back on the smokiness a bit to highlight the underlying tea, but it's pretty darned close now.

Yes, "Mr. Excellent's Post-Apocalyptic Earl Grey" will be going on the menu at my tea bar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent View Post
Also: You own a tea bar? Can I be your friend?
Absolutely! You live in D.C., right? If you hop in the car early tomorrow morning, you can be here by mid-afternoon tea time on Monday. There's an art fair down the street, and the weather should be perfect for a cup of tea. If you're a cigar kinda guy, we could enjoy a nice Macanudo Cru Royale and a class of 12-year old Macallan afterward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
is it as popular and accessible as this tea bar in China ?

(I've always wanted to go there for a nice, relaxing cuppa tea. But, gee whiz, now that they've changed Earl Grey, I suppose it's just not worth the trip......... )
Oh. My. Goodness. I would definitely go there.

But I seriously doubt they serve anything from Twinings

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Originally Posted by Athena View Post
You can't say that without telling us which ones you like better!
Clearly, you didn't read the blog post

My favorite Earl Grey is the Ancient Tree Earl Grey from Rishi. Not only do I love it, but it outsells the next most-popular Earl Grey in my tea bar by a four-to-one margin.
  #24  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:52 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I'm not quite ready to throw a fit here, but...I don't like this.

The whole point of Twinings Earl Grey is that it's Twinings Earl Grey. You can drink it and feel like you're connected to a rich tradition, and it's always the same, and it's just there.

Even if this new mix tastes better (and it might, Twinings isn't the best Earl Grey I've had) it means that there's no more "real" Twinings Earl Grey. And that's no good!
I'm thinking this is a New Coke moment for Twinings. But I don't drink tea and do not care.
  #25  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:55 PM
Tapiotar Tapiotar is offline
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is it as popular and accessible as this tea bar in China ?
Just looking at the photos of the trail made me fee sick with fear, but wow, what an experience! They don't butter the tea there, do they?
  #26  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:00 PM
Tapiotar Tapiotar is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
For those who don't know the story, British tea giant Twinings was the company that first marketed Earl Grey tea. They've just changed the formulation, adding more bergamot (more detail on my blog here). People appear to be coming apart at the seams over this.

How does this affect you? What will you do about it?
Gary, I looked at your blog post and website. If I ever get to Montana again, I'll make a point of stopping in your teahouse/bookstore. It looks exactly like my kind of place.

[HIJACK What was that mystery series set in either Montana or Wyoming, protag have Creole, half Native American, fairly violent, slight but beleivable mystical tendences? I sold my copies before a cross-country move, and now I don't remember anymore./HIJACK]
  #27  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:13 PM
Huerta88 Huerta88 is offline
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My vote was not quite among the options. My vote was "I don't voluntarily drink Earl Grey so I shouldn't care but I do sometimes drink tea and as I posted a couple of years ago a shocking number of offices/cafes stock ONLY Earl Grey as a non-herbal tea so sometimes I get Earl Grey under protest so anything that makes it taste more like my grandmother's linen sachet is an unwelcome development."
  #28  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:23 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by Huerta88 View Post
My vote was not quite among the options. My vote was "I don't voluntarily drink Earl Grey so I shouldn't care but I do sometimes drink tea and as I posted a couple of years ago a shocking number of offices/cafes stock ONLY Earl Grey as a non-herbal tea so sometimes I get Earl Grey under protest so anything that makes it taste more like my grandmother's linen sachet is an unwelcome development."
Sure it is. It's option 8 on the poll.

And as for your herbal teas: see SMBC.
  #29  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:39 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I haven't tried it yet, but I absolutely love bergamot,a dn it would be tough to put in too much for my taste.

Dried lemon, on the other hand, is usually not to my taste, so I'll have to try it.
  #30  
Old 09-03-2011, 05:51 PM
TBG TBG is offline
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Don't drink tea, so only option for me was "I don't drink tea at all, so I don't care." but even though I don't drink it, I wouldn't say "I don't care" about this. Plenty of things I do like have been ruined when they got all "new and improved" so I feel the pain of anyone upset by this alteration of the formula.
  #31  
Old 09-03-2011, 06:12 PM
Cheez_Whia Cheez_Whia is offline
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I stocked up when they had a super blowout sale on their Earl Grey and English Breakfast 50 packs from England. It'll be awhile before I need any.
  #32  
Old 09-03-2011, 06:22 PM
Ann Onimous Ann Onimous is offline
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I love tea, although I don't know squat about it. Suddenly, I really want to learn. Gary, as soon as I get back to my computer, you've got one new follower.

For the record, I also liked New Coke. And Crystal Pepsi.
  #33  
Old 09-03-2011, 06:38 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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I stocked up when they had a super blowout sale on their Earl Grey and English Breakfast 50 packs from England. It'll be awhile before I need any.
Even in their cellophane packaging, if you're going to be storing it for a while, I'd get a good airtight container and put it in a cool room that gets no light (or use one of those resealable silver Mylar bags). Otherwise, you'll start losing freshness in a few months.
  #34  
Old 09-03-2011, 06:50 PM
Toucanna Toucanna is offline
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I had heard that Earl Grey was developed when someone tried bergamot as a cheap substitute for cardamom. So, I tried some black tea with cardamom. Very tasty. I am not going back to EG unless my tea choice is limited to either EG or jasmine tea.
  #35  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:00 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Does this mean they're going to have to re-dub all the episodes of ST:TNG?
No, it just means they'll need to invoke time travel.

Executive on the phone: "Yes, I'm pretty sure I can push the reformulation through..."

<A door behind him silently opens. An angry looking Picard quietly steps out, aiming his phaser at the back of the executive's head...>
  #36  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:12 PM
amanset amanset is offline
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Earl Grey is crap. Twinnings are crap. Thus, Twinnings Earl Grey is crap squared.

PG, Tetley or it isn't tea.

Edit:
In fact, I'll go one further. Any tea that is served loose or in individually wrapped bags is by definition shite.

Last edited by amanset; 09-03-2011 at 07:16 PM.
  #37  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:26 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by Toucanna View Post
I had heard that Earl Grey was developed when someone tried bergamot as a cheap substitute for cardamom. So, I tried some black tea with cardamom. Very tasty. I am not going back to EG unless my tea choice is limited to either EG or jasmine tea.
I've never heard that, and I have a hard time imagining it. Cardamom and bergamot are *very* different. (To most Americans, cardamom-based tea blends are known as "chai.") Do you have a cite for the bergamot/cardamom story?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amanset View Post
In fact, I'll go one further. Any tea that is served loose or in individually wrapped bags is by definition shite.
I do not understand. If it's not in a teabag, and it's not loose, what's left?
  #38  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:39 PM
Ann Onimous Ann Onimous is offline
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No, it just means they'll need to invoke time travel.

Executive on the phone: "Yes, I'm pretty sure I can push the reformulation through..."

<A door behind him silently opens. An angry looking Picard quietly steps out, aiming his phaser at the back of the executive's head...>
This is gold, Der Trihs. Pure gold. Thank you!
  #39  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:50 PM
Swords to Plowshares Swords to Plowshares is offline
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I was under the impression that Twinings reformulated their Earl Grey about 3-4 years ago and decreased the amount of bergamont and whatnot in their tea. I always thought their tea was a bit on the light side, so I kind of approve of this change.

In terms of strength and amount of flavor among Earl Greys, the order was roughly:

Twinings
Bigelow
Tazo

And I thought Bigelow had about the right amount.
  #40  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:55 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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This is gold, Der Trihs. Pure gold. Thank you!
You're welcome.
  #41  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:25 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Earl Grey isn't my preferred taste, but change for the sake of change is rarely good when you have a classic.

For the record, I prefer raspberry sage tea when I can get it, and Bigelow English Teatime every time else.
  #42  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:27 PM
Cheez_Whia Cheez_Whia is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Even in their cellophane packaging, if you're going to be storing it for a while, I'd get a good airtight container and put it in a cool room that gets no light (or use one of those resealable silver Mylar bags). Otherwise, you'll start losing freshness in a few months.
Done! I have a walk in pantry.
  #43  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:27 PM
gwendee gwendee is offline
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Originally Posted by TBG View Post
Don't drink tea, so only option for me was "I don't drink tea at all, so I don't care." but even though I don't drink it, I wouldn't say "I don't care" about this. Plenty of things I do like have been ruined when they got all "new and improved" so I feel the pain of anyone upset by this alteration of the formula.
I am my no means an expert. Earl Grey is my first choice, and I prefer Twinings over Bigelow, but haven't tried many others. By the time I get around to trying the new formula this thread will no doubt be on page four.

My response to simply reading the thread title was to whine (aloud though I am alone). What is wrong with leaving some things how they are?
  #44  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:33 PM
Girl From Mars Girl From Mars is offline
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When did they change it? I've always liked Twinings Earl Grey, but have gone off it in the past few months - I put it down to pregnancy, but could this be the real reason?
  #45  
Old 09-04-2011, 03:00 AM
amanset amanset is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I've never heard that, and I have a hard time imagining it. Cardamom and bergamot are *very* different. (To most Americans, cardamom-based tea blends are known as "chai.") Do you have a cite for the bergamot/cardamom story?

I do not understand. If it's not in a teabag, and it's not loose, what's left?
Individually wrapped bags != teabags.

I mean the likes of this:

http://www.lindacobrien.com/wp-conte...ings%20tea.jpg

Teabags should come in a big box, loosely scattered in said box. Like this:

http://www.thegreatbritishdiet.co.uk/Images/PGTips.jpg
  #46  
Old 09-04-2011, 03:04 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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I've tried PG Tips, and I have to say, I didn't really care for it. Maybe the boxes I bought were stale. I dunno. I just prefer raspberry sage, or Bigelow.

Mind you, I love coffee, but it doesn't agree with me, even decaf. So I drink lots of tea.
  #47  
Old 09-04-2011, 09:07 AM
banjoDavid banjoDavid is offline
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I hope I don't get flamed for this, but

Target in Chicago carries Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey.
I like it. I brew it strong, with milk and Splenda, and it keeps me going on my overnight job.
I've had the old familiar Twinings, and I prefer the stronger Stash.
David
  #48  
Old 09-04-2011, 09:33 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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I do not care for Earl Grey, regardless of the vendor. I like my tea to taste like tea, and tend towards English Breakfast or Yorkshire (recommended to me by my friend Professor Elemental).
On occasion I will have a souchong or oolong, for variety, but I do not like most flavoured teas or tisanes.
  #49  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:10 AM
Bordesley Bordesley is offline
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In my ever so 'umblist opinion Jackson's of Piccadilly make the finest Earl Grey. Lord Grey apparently gave the recipe to the firm in 1830 and they claim to be continuing to make the original blend today.

Now don't forget, only drink out of a bone-china cup and get Fortnum and Mason's to deliver some of their super baby cakes, absolutely spiffing for tiffin...or of course, scones with damson jam and a dollop of clotted cream, What!
  #50  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:32 AM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Earl Grey tea is special to me because of just a touch of bergamot. (Yes, I'm hoity-toity and drink it from a special Wedgwood china tea cup on a chilly fall afternoon. Cause it's not just a mundane beverage.) I don't see how adding more bergamot is going to make it better. I'll try it, though. If it's too bergamot-y, I can always brew a teabag along with a plain teabag to dilute the taste.
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