08 Sep 11 UK: Storm in a tea cup as Earl Grey fans complain at new recipe
Twinings has tweaked the flavour profile of its famed Earl Grey tea – a move that has erupted a mountain of protest among tea tipplers. While Twinings trumpeted that adding “a dash of lemon and a touch more bergamot” would create its “best ever” tipple. But regular drinkers have likened the new version of the 180-year-old tea to a “lemon cleaning product” and “foul-tasting dishwater”.
Trouble is brewing as hundreds have complained on the company’s website and a Facebook campaign page called ‘Bring back the original Twinings Earl Grey tea’ has been set up.
Several likened Twining’s move to the 1985 ‘New Coke’ fiasco when Coca-Cola changed its world-famous drink, then performed a hasty U-turn after customer outrage.
Drinker Julia Wilson slammed the new brew, which is being marketed as ‘The Earl Grey’ after its April launch. She said: “It stinks, rather like lemon Fairy Up Liquid and is unpleasant to taste. I threw the contents of my box out into the compost.”
Marion Cooper wrote: “I can’t drink the new blend. The false lemon flavour is just horrid. I have noticed in the supermarket that they have massive stocks of the new Earl Grey that are just not shifting off the shelves and indeed have halved in price.”
Similarly, Steve Verity said: “I cannot describe how awful this new tea tastes. The old award-winning tea was in a completely different league to this foul-tasting dish water. Please revert back to the original taste as soon as possible or risk losing faithful customers, who have bought your tea for decades.”
Many joining the Facebook campaign say they are desperate to locate old stock of the original Twinings Earl Grey on supermarket shelves.
Twinings was founded by Thomas Twining after he opened a tea room on the Strand in London in 1706. It launched the first brand of Earl Grey tea in 1831, naming it after the Prime Minister of the day, Charles Grey.
The distinctive taste is created by infusing black tea with the oil of the bergamot orange from South-East Asia.
Twinings spokeswoman, Claire Forster, claimed that the relaunch had resulted in their “highest ever volume share of the Earl Grey market”.
She said: “As with all changes to blends, our new Earl Grey has undergone rigorous consumer tasting, receiving strong preference feedback over the previous blend.”
Source: The Telegraph