Monday, May 15, 2006

Help Me Save Twinings Earl Grey Tea!


On January 5, 2006, Twinings Tea issued a press release that announced the celebration of its 300th Anniversary. To commemorate this event, Twinings US made a number of changes. Twinings introduced new flavors, and created helpful categories to group its blends, and redesigned its packaging.

It appears that Twinings also changed the blend of one of its classic most well-known teas: Earl Grey. Since the repackaging, things just haven't been the same. Gone is that perfect mix of black tea and bergamot oil--not too strong and never bitter, but full-bodied and rich in flavor. Now, the tea is extremely weak with little flavor, hardly worthy of the Twinings brand, and a pale shadow of its classic Earl Grey blend. I thought it might be just me until friends started complaining too. Then I did a taste test with some Earl Grey from the earlier packaging--found by my mother-in-law in Pennsylvania--and my fears were confirmed. The new tea just isn't as good.

So I ask for your help. Can you imagine a world in which New Coke successfully replaced the classic flavor of Coca-Cola? No. It is no more conceivable that Americans must be subject to a watered-down version of the classic Earl Grey. Consumers unite, and help me save Twinings Earl Grey Tea!


First, go pick up any of the original Earl Grey Tea that you can find on the grocery store shelves, because it is no longer available in most places. I can't find the original in my New York City groceries. You can distinguish between the new Earl Grey blend and the old Earl Grey blend based on the redesigned packaging.

Original Packaging:

Image Hosted by

New Packaging:

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Also, use the COMMENTS function to publish your laments here. CALL, WRITE, or EMAIL Twinings. Let them know that you want the REAL Earl Grey to return to American shelves, or you will look elsewhere for a satisfactory Earl Grey. Here is their contact info:

Twinings North America, Inc.
Consumer Service
777 Passaic Avenue, Suite 230
Clifton, NJ 07012

Thanks for your help!


  1. I emailed this to Twinings today:

    Dear Twinings,

    When I saw the new packaging for the Earl Grey teabags, I wasn't particularly concerned. Then I used one of the new teabags and was horrified. The new tea is weaker, blander, and altogether inferior to the old blend. Please, please bring back the old Earl Grey. I have bought every box I can find of the older Twinings Earl Grey, and my supply is about to run out. I don't want to switch to another brand--really, I don't--but I don't care for the new blend at all.

  2. Received an email from Denise LeCroy and Tony Smith of Sunny Charleston, South Carolina. They support our campaign. They also "recently launched a new online tearoom directory ~ Great Tearooms of America." Check it out at http://www. I'll be adding it to the links on the right-hand side of the main page momentarily...

  3. Oh, what a sad day. I was hoping that it was I who wasn't looking hard enough. This confirms what I've always suspected: whenever I'm happy with a product, it gets yanked. And no doubt Twinings is saving a bundle on this move, and rationalizing it by saying that Americans have no taste anyway, so let's give them a tea that matches.

  4. Hi,

    I had recently bought 12 boxes of 50 tea-bag Twinings Earl Grey Tea in the new packaging and noticed something right away: These new bags tasted very, very weak and didn't have the same wake-up power as did the old ones in the older packaging.

    Initially, I thought I was going crazy and it was just my imagination, but then I decided to do some searching on the web for "Twinings Earl Grey Tea Change" and this blog thread popped up, confirming my worst suspicions. Arrrgh!

    I've just sent email to Twinings about this and begged/demanded that they change back whatever they changed and fast.

    I have my fingers crossed.

    - "Save Twinings Earl Grey Tea Advocate"

  5. Dear Twinings - you are very hard to contact so I am adding my comments here. In sunny Oz (it's raining thank God) - I wish to enquire about Twinings Earl Grey - especially the new glue on the OZ version tea bags that flavours(Yuk!)the now weaker flavoured tea. My friend with coeliac/wheat reactions now also finds they upset her digestion - never used to. What sort of economy drive is this? Mel

  6. I just received a comment to this post from Australia. It took a little work to interpret, so I'm going to paraphrase here.

    First, the person has found Twinings hard to contact, which prompted her to post here. She has found the Earl Grey in new packaging to be weaker (I didn't even know they changed the product Down Under). She noted that her Twinings Earl Grey seems to have absorbed leached flavoring from the glue used in the new packaging. Boy, that's disturbing. She also commented that a friend with certain food allergies has, since the product change, begun to experience digestive problems after drinking the new Earl Grey. Bummer.

    Thanks for the comments. Keep 'em coming.

  7. I emailed Twinings US today and told them their "new" Earl Grey decaf tastes like old dishwater. I also told them that I can't understand how a company of such stature in the tea world can lend their name to such an inferior product. Doubt it will do much good, but it felt good to let them know. Meanwhile, I am drinking Bigelow Earl Grey. The flavor is good, but, if there is one, I can't find a decaf version in my area.

  8. Ok, the same thing happened here in Sweden. We have also got the new packaging and a totally new Earl Grey which tastes much weaker than the old one. It seems to be completely new blend. What shall I do? I have no idea. I have a couple of old boxes left. Here in Sweden we have Kobbs Earl Grey which is made in the Twinings' tradition but naturally it is not the same thing. I am in despair.

  9. Tks God I still get the same good and old Twinings Earl Grey down here in Brazil!

  10. Nothing has changed still. Here in Finland we have the same issue. Last week my last box of the "good old" Earl Gray was finished and so I went and bought more Earl Gray. Only after tasting the new tea I ran to the box and noticed the "light flavour". The new tea is crap. Next I will try to find other manufacturers and see if their Earl Gray is better...

  11. The last Earl Grey I had I bought in Scotland. Does anyone here have an idea if the Earl Grey packaged for the British market is of its former quality and flavor and if so can it be ordered from England?

  12. Today I took the time to write a complaint to Twinings NA at, but when I sent my e-mail, it bounced back in error. I was able to call and speak with someone who graciously took my feedback.

    I don't want my e-mail to go to waste, so I'll post it here for reference...

    Subject: There is something wrong with your Earl Grey tea now?

    Hello Twining's NA,

    I have been a loyal consumer of Twinings Earl Grey tea for many years here in Canada. I normally buy the 100 bag 7.0 oz 200g boxes from Costco .
    The last box of tea I purchased has a quality problem I am sorry to report. The issue with the tea is that the Bergmot flavour seems to be almost completely missing. Normally when I open a fresh box, I am almost slapped in the face with tea and Bergimot aroma. However with this latest box, I truly have to shove my face into the box to find that aroma. I was concerned immediately, but noticed the new packaging and thought that maybe the new packaging prevented aroma from escaping.

    I was incorrect in my assumption as what I have found as an everyday Earl Grey drinker, I would say that the flavour has been reduced by about 70% or more. I would normally use 3 bags per pot. I am now cramming 4 and 5 bags per pot and still I am not able to recover the flavour that I am expecting.

    I am very concerned that a drastic manufacturing, supplier, product mix, or change has occurred which has caused the Twinings Earl Grey tea to loose its distinct flavour on the other tea's in the market.

    My second and even more frightful worry is that Twinings has made a tragic "New Coke" business decision and changed the wining formula.

    The manufacturing lot codes on the box I am currently looking at are: "NO 28 2011 11:21 6 A02853041"

    Anyway, I am a very displeased Twinings customer, and hate the idea that I have to switch brands after all these years due to poor quality.

  13. I live in Melbourne, Australia and completely agree with you all. The new blend is awful - so disappointing. I contacted Twinnings UK through their website and the Australian supplier sent a very nice letter and $5 voucher - but they confirmed that the amount of Bergomat has been reduced from 4.3% to 3% and that the blend has been "altered slightly". If anyone knows another brand I can try I'd love to hear about it.

  14. Oh no!!!! I thought it was just a matter of being in Canada not a global change. That sucks. I went to the place I was usually able to find it... and guess what??? Now they sell this other crap. If I'd known I would have stocked up for the next 20 years!!!

    What's wrong with these guys??? The other stuff doesn't taste like anything close to Earl Grey.
    And have been drinking that stuff for 25 years!!!!
    I've tried a few other ones, but nothing gets any close to this. Did they also change the loose version?

  15. no earl grey = posh grumpy grandad.

  16. Time someone gave this thread a bump. Twinings seems to have refused to do anything to bring back the old recipe. I am moving on and so are three other families who have been Twinings earl gray fans. But I guess, Twinings is making up for the loss in business from the new suckers (who have no idea what the original tasted like ) and burning through more packs to get some flavor out of their tea. Shame Twinings!

  17. I have been complaining about this for three years now.


    I switched to trader joes earl grey tea after drinking twinnings earl grey for 20 years!

    1. I started this campaign almost 7 years ago. As you can tell, I've not had much luck.

      I second your endorsement for Trader Joe's Earl Grey. It's excellent.

      Interestingly, Twinings similarly changed their blend in the UK. But the revolt was so strong, Twinings relented and re-released the "classic" blend. In the US, they haven't even admitted to the change. (see

  18. I just emailed Twinings Usa to complain about the decaf Earl Grey. It tastes like Lemon Pledge smells. Vile. I quite like the Earl Grey and Earl Grey Cream from; haven't tried their decaf yet. I'll check out Trader Joe's.

  19. I'm in the US, and I too noticed a change in the taste of Twinings Earl Grey around 2006. I first thought I'd gotten a "bad batch" - but after mentioning it to other people, I realized others had had the same experience. As far as I know, the official blend change that occurred in the UK was in 2011, but as this blog and my experience indicate, some changes were occurring much earlier. It would be interesting to know the "real story" - perhaps buried by some Twinings executive? I had given up hope on ever rediscovering that taste I knew from my youth, but I will try Trader Joe's. I agree with the poster above who said the new generation will never know that exquisite taste of the old Twinings Earl Grey!

  20. An addition to my post above: Since the 2011 official change in the Earl Grey formulation in the UK, Twinings apparently brought back the original, renamed "The Classic Edition" - but I've purchased that in the US several times, and as in 2006, it is just not the same as the old version from years ago.