Quite reasonably, some people who have emailed me have been dismissive, suggesting that maybe I just got a bad batch of tea. It is a fair point, and worthy of response. I haven't conducted a double blind study with a large subject group, but I have gathered more than my own highly subjective opinion, and am planning to investigate further.
Argument #1: Maybe it is just a bad batch
I hope this is the case, but I'm not confident that it is. I downplayed my own reaction to the "new" tea until I overheard others complaining about the change--without any prompting from me. Only after comparing notes did I realize that this is likely a bigger picture problem.
Argument #2: Maybe it's all in your head.
Response: Thanks to the efforts of my mother-in-law, I have two sets of Twinings Earl Grey in the Cupboard. She purchased the last stock of Earl Grey in the old packaging from her local grocery in PA, and brought it up to NY for me to have. Very kind of her. So, I have been able to compare the flavor of the "old" packaging against the "new" packaging, and I stand by my assessment. The previous generation is much tastier. My mother-in-law, the connoisseur most responsible for my tea habit, corroborates.
What the situation calls for is for me to go out and purchase another batch of the new tea and do a blind taste test against the tea in the "old" packaging. I plan to do this in the coming days, and will post the results one way or the other. After all, Twinings Earl Grey is my favorite tea, and my only incentive for creating this blog is to restore the tea to its former glory.