Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Evidence

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.


  1. Have your mother-in-law or someone outside your area buy the tea in the new packaging. If a bad batch was put on store shelves in your area, there's no telling how many of them may be out there.

  2. Interesting suggestion. If I wanted to rule out the "bad batch theory" 100%, I really should call my friends in California and ask them to send me some Twinings. I probably ought to wait another 6 months as well, just to be on the safe side.

    Frankly, I'm not interested in doing either. I first noticed this several weeks ago. I live in New York City, where grocery stores are small and inventory moves quickly. I would expect that the batch I got is long gone and has been replaced many times over at my local grocery. To be on the safe side, maybe I'll pick up another box near my work, as opposed to near my home.

    I realize that this isn't the perfect solution, but if a second batch, purchased miles and months apart from the first, is also weak and flavorless, that provides clear information that Twinings has a problem. Either they changed the blend, or they have a humongous quality control problem. Either issue is sufficient to continue this campaign.

  3. Good luck getting a response from Twinings USA. I sent them an e-mail months ago because my husband and I also found that the new tea is not the same.
    Your comments were interesting - at first I thought it was just that they were not heavy enough spraying the Bergamot anymore, but you are correct, the whole cup is weak.