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It had always shocked, even horrified my family that I could be an English person yet not like a cup of tea. So for my birthday I got as a joke gift a hamper of different flavoured teas. You have to like something there there they said. Actually it did teach me that I don't mind some chamomile tea and yes Earl Grey too. The packet I received was Twinings. This is such an old company and so I was not surprised to find that they produce a quality product.
You can get loose leaf Earl Grey but mine was bags. Earl Grey is intended to be drank as a black tea with no milk in it. This suits me as the milkiness of ordinary tea was what originally put me off it I think or that would be my best guess. I don't tend to like milkshakes or drinking plain milk etc. Sweetening Earl Grey is optional the packet said. I don't usually sugar my hot drinks so I tried the tea without it at first, liked it that way and continued afterwards in the same way.
This product needs to be brewed for a few minutes. The herbal smell if it is immediately obvious as soon as the packet is opened and increases when hot water is added to the bag. The smell and the teas distinct flavour comes from the fact that Earl Grey is flavoured with oil of the herb bergamot. This is not a herb I have experienced in any other way. It is a hard one to describe because it is so unique. It reminds me slightly of lavender. Some of my friends have banned me from Earl Greying in their company because they hate the smell and I have found some really dislike the taste of it. Personally I will buy this Twinings product again from time to time as a change from coffee.
***Why do I buy it? How much? ***
I am very much a tea drinker and unfortunately drink a ridiculous amount over a day ~10 cups (NOT mugs) on average especially when I'm at work. One thing that I do prefer is loose leaf tea over bagged tea & not because I'm a snob but because it's cheaper, it tastes better and it's more environmentally sound. I have a love for Ceylon, Rose pouchong and the lovely Earl grey which is black tea from china with the addition of a few drops of bergamot oil. The loose leaf tea comes in at about £2.00 for a 125g packet (which lasts me about 2 months) although I've seen it on offer for 2 for £3 which isn't bad at all.
***How do I brew it? What's it taste like?***
I am not an expert when it comes to tea and not the type to chuckle at others because they don't eat/drink a food in the fashion it's supposed to be eaten/drank - Only a person so far up their own bottom would do that in my opinion! So when it comes to Earl grey I take approximately a level teaspoon of the leaves and place them within my tea egg and then place the egg in my cup where I pour the freshly boiled water and leave for 4 minutes. Once the time is up I remove the egg and splash some milk into the tea and stir and voila - a simple Earl Grey tea with no pretentiousness. As for the flavour of this particular Earl Grey I can state that the balance of the black tea to the bergamot is perfect as I have tried others e.g. Clipper where the bergamot is so overdone that you could use it to clean windows. The Twinings blend is subtle and possesses a slightly smokey aroma which is lovely and is also great when used in cake recipes.
***Is it worth buying?***
Oh goodness yes. I have tried store own-brand versions of the loose leaf Earl grey which unfortunately just don't do it for me. I have even tried high end Suki tea etc and cannot understand how they warrant their excessive price tags when compared to the Twinings blend. So go on give it a go with milk, without milk, with lemon and honey, with just lemon, with a hint of rich tea biscuit who cares as long as you flamin enjoy it :)
I am much more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker, and I tend to stick to the same couple of brands of teabags as I don't like overly strong tea. Back in the summer, we had friends round to visit and they brought us a couple of things as a little gift, one being a box of Twinnings Earl Grey Teabags. I would have much preferred the English Breakfast Tea Range, but anyhow I simply put it in the cupboard and thought that hubby would take it at some point. I was running low on regular teabags however about a month ago and was looking in the cupboard and remembered these Earl Grey teabags and thought it would be better using them up than getting anymore.
Twinnings is a well known tea specialist and a 250g pack of these teabags containing 100 bags is over £4 so they are not cheap, but then again they were purchased for me! Supposedly Earl Grey is given its name from the English Prime Minister given some of this tea from China and then Twinnings created its own version as a request from Earl Grey himself. It is described as being 'light, fragrant and with a bergamot and lemon flavour' making it stand out.
The tea bags themselves are almost grey in colour especially in comparison to standard teabags. It is suggested that this tea be taken black or with only a little bit of milk. I'm afraid I don't like black tea so I always add milk, but my husband moans with these teabags that they need to be stewed for a long time just to get any kind of colour in the tea.
When I first started drinking this earl grey, it was a lot different from what I expected, and actually I really liked the sweetness that it had. It is not overwhelming, but there is just a nice hint of sweetness that makes it refreshing and makes it just that little bit nicer than a standard tea bag. I have actually really come to like this tea and am now half way through the packet - the packet that I never thought I would ever use.
I am wary of buying these tea bags myself at the price, however, I certainly wouldn't object to having a small pack in the cupboard, to keep for certain occasions when guests etc are over and you just want a nice refreshing cuppa. All in all however I really like this, and it has really grown on me.
Tea - so many different varieties - so little time. Today I'm going to write about Twinnings Earl Grey. Early Grey is one of my favourites and one I tend to go for when I am out. There are many brands of Earl Grey out there but I nearly always buy Twinnings.
** Twinnings **
Twinnings is quite a popular brand in the UK. They have a wide selection of teas and infusions that there is generally something for everyone (from their Everyday tea to Green tea to Cranberry & Sanguinello Orange). They can usually be found to be moderately priced, though not the cheapest, they do offer good quality teas. These are the reasons I come back to Twinnings time and time again (though I am branching out a little - Clipper and Yorkshire are also on my favourite tea list).
So, why choose Twinnings Earl Grey? I find the quality to be great. It also has a great, well-rounded taste that others do not seem to have. Though some may not appreciate the recent controversy over the change of the recipe, fans will be happy to hear that Twinnings have since issued a statement saying that the old recipe will be making a come-back. Tea is serious business, after all!
** Earl Grey **
Earl Grey has a distinctive taste from ordinary black tea acheived by the addition of bergamont orange oil. And in reference to the quote above (and if you get the quote, give yourself some bonus points), it was named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s (this makes me happy as a politics geek) after receiving a tea containing bergamont oil.
Earl Grey now comes in more varieties since the days of the 2nd Earl Grey. With Lady Grey and even Earl Grey Green Tea (see previous Green tea review for information on the benefits of green tea). So, even within the realm of Earl Grey there is a tea to suit.
** Experience **
Earl Grey is brewed like normal black tea: tea bag in boiling water, sweetened to taste and add a splash of milk if preferred. Douglas Adams advocates milk then tea, but I have seen studies suggesting that the taste is more enhanced by adding the milk last (and you can't argue with science!) However, some prefer it without milk and flavouring with a slice of lemon instead. It is all down to personal taste.
The taste of the tea (I make it the first method mentioned, with milk) is quite light and with a hint of citrus from the bergamont oil. The citrus taste is not too overpowering though; a hint but yet distinctive. As it is also a black tea, it still has that comforting, I just want to curl up with a good book effect that I get from everyday black tea. I find the citrus flavour make it refreshing during the summer days (whenever they do occur).
** Price and Availability **
It is unfortunate that Earl Grey does tend to cost more than your average black tea but I think that little extra cost is worth it. A box of 50 will cost about £2.40 from most supermarkets. However, I bought a box of 200 for just over £6. This has lasted me quite a while - even with my mum pinching a tea bag or two. If you do like Earl Grey, I'd suggest getting the better value larger box. Again, available from most supermarkets; I bought mine from Tesco.
Also, Earl Grey is often the same price as other teas in cafe's. While some may not offer Twinnings, it does mean you can enjoy the taste without the additional charge.
** Conclusion **
If you enjoy a good cup of tea then I recommend Twinnings Earl Grey. Whether you have tried Earl Grey before or not it is definitely something that needs to be experienced. Play around with your serving (milk? sugar? lemon?) and find the taste that suits you.
(Kudos if you get the reference)
There's nothing like a nice cup of tea. Twinings recently caused controversy when it changed the recipe of it's Earl Grey tea, which sparked anger among fans of the bergamot flavoured tea. I like to ring the changes when it comes to tea, and have bought Earl Grey periodically as a change to my regular tea and fruit infusions, so I bought a box of the new blend to find out what the fuss is about.
PACKAGING, PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Twinings Earl Grey is sold in boxes of 50 and 100 tea bags, as well as a loose tea. My box of 50 teabags came from Waitrose and it cost £2.37. I took advantage of a special offer which had two boxes of tea for £3.75 (I chose Assam as my other choice, as Mum doesn't like Earl Grey). Pricing seems to be similar across other major supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco. There is also a decaffeinated version available too, which I sometimes have in the evenings and bedtime.
As with Twinings' other specialist black teas, the Earl Grey comes packaged in a black box, which I think is synonymous with sophistication and premium brands. The blurb on the box provides some information about Twinings' company history, and it's tea blending for the Earl Grey and his family, and the new blend has the Earl's stamp of approval. On the front of the box it also proudly states it's a new and improved blend.
Elsewhere on the box, I'm given all the other information I'd expect including the ingredients, brewing instructions and Twinings' contact details.
~Opening the box~
Opening the box is as easy as pulling the cardboard strip off, and opening the treasure chest lid. There's a perforated tab which provides some information about the The Earl Grey range of teas which also includes Lady Grey and the newer Sunshine Grey. This pulls away to reveal the square tea bags in sets of two, I pull them along the perforated edge to separate them.
On smelling the tea bags, I can tell instantly tell that there is something different to what I know as Earl Grey. Yes I can smell the bergamot, but there's also a definite hint of lemon. The new blend apparently contains more bergamot, and a squeeze of lemon, which Twinings' claims adds 'more oomph and refreshment' compared to the old recipe.
~ Brewing the tea~
I brew the tea in the normal way, as there are only two of us, I don't use a tea pot so I make mine in the cup. After boiling the kettle and pouring water over my tea bag, I brew my tea for around 30 seconds to a minute to stop it going bitter and stewed, which I really don't like!
The decision to add milk and sugar is up to the drinker, and some people like to add a slice of lemon. Personally I like my Earl Grey with small splash of milk (far less than normal black tea blends) as it isn't a strongly flavoured tea and too much milk ruins it, and I also add half a teaspoon of sugar to take the bitter edge off the bergamot, the new blend is no exception.
So, what does this new blend taste like? I can still taste the bergamot, but the addition of the lemon, while in my view is not too strong, but it does take the softness away from the bergamot which I think does give it 'more oomph' as Twinings describes, but it's not what I expect from Earl Grey. In my view it should be a tea with a soft orangey flavour, almost like toast and marmalade. It's that delicate blend of flavours which I like about Earl Grey, and gives the tea it's unique character and charm, I like to drink it in the afternoons into the evening, as I find it a comforting, uplifting and satisfying drink. That said, I do like the new blend though as I think it has a lovely flavour that isn't too lemony but enough to change the character of the flavour, and it's refreshing. I actually prefer the taste to Lady Grey which is a bit too sharp for my tastes, but I can see why fans of Earl Grey are upset by the recipe change.
In my opinion I don't think Twinings needed to change the recipe, but it has produced a nicely flavoured tea in my view. I think though the new blend would be good as a new tea for anyone who likes lemon in tea, but not too strong. I do think Twinings should bring back the old blend as the Earl Grey that we're used to, but sell the new one alongside it.
In terms of a rating, it's difficult to decide as I really like the flavour, but it's just not Earl Grey if you know what I mean, so I'm giving it three stars. If, Twinings brought back the old blend as Earl Grey and re-marketed the new one as say Afternoon Grey (really suited for afternoon tea, but not evenings in my opinion) then I'd award a higher rating.
Also on Ciao under the same user name
This review is about Earl Grey tea by Twinings and it still carries the Earls personal stamp of approval!
++ About the Tea ++
Earl Grey tea is named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. He was also known as Viscount Howick (sounds like a different beverage that one) he was also the British Prime Minister in the 1830s.
But enough about politics what about the tea you might ask?
Earl Grey is a black tea which usually means that it is stronger than green and white teas but I usually make my cup of Earl Grey fairly weak (a 2 minute brew) and drink it without milk.
On the box the ingredients list the flavours found in Earl Grey to be Bergamot Orange, lemon and other natural flavourings (which I presume is more citrus fruit?)
People often drink Earl Grey with a slice of Lemon but if it already contains it as a flavouring then I'm not sure if it would be required.
The box suggests you brew for three to four minutes (which seems to be standard practice) and then to either drink black or with just a splash (it says "drop" but I prefer "splash") of milk.
++ Taste and Smell ++
The tea itself smells perfumey, a little like the smell found in an apothecary. You can pick out slight hints of citrus, it's amazing how just just a bit of orange and lemon completely change the smell of the tea.
When I was younger I never liked the smell and thought it smelled like an old lady but if this is how old ladies smell then they're only doing something right because I think Earl Grey smells refreshing now.
The taste can be quite bitter if I over brew the tea but when I keep it down to just 2-3 minutes I find it tastes refreshing and the fruits are not overpowered by the black tea.
I usually drink this tea at night as I find it relaxing and as I usually don't brew it for very long I've never noticed any caffeine kick from it either.
This is not the best Earl Grey I've ever tasted but I'm quite fond of Twinings as a brand and I think they produce good quality teas. I'd definitely recommend this and also their tea called Lady Grey which is similar but with added Seville orange.
I love tea. I drink lots of it. My favourite is Earl Grey, and I'm quite particular about it - I've tried a lot of brands and I think I am quite knowledgeable about it. I like the good quality loose leaf stuff best, but sometimes I can't be bothered making a pot, and it's not an option at work, so I use Williamsons teabags (they're the best, but Tesco own brand will do - Somerfield own brand were good too but it's the Co op now).
I don't like Twinings Earl Grey, I think it is the worst on the market (I'll elaborate on that shortly), but since starting a new job a few months ago I've been drinking it regularly. Why, you ask? Because it is provided free - we have a stand of different teabags, and it includes Twinings Earl Grey. I could bring my own, which wouldn't exactly be expensive, but I'm loathe to buy teabags when they are provided for me.
Twinings Earl Grey is seen by many as the best Earl Grey there is - just read the other reviews here. These reviews really baffle me, there is much better Earl Grey out there, and at similar prices or even lower.
Earl Grey should have a nice "clear" flavour. It should have a good taste of bergamot, which is what gives it its distinctive taste, without being cloying or sickly. You can serve it with milk or lemon (or neither) and with or without sugar or sweetener.
First, the practicalities. Twinings Earl Grey is available in bags or loose leaf, and teabags with strings and tabs are available. There are different size boxes available, and typically a box of 50 teabags will set you back around £2.50. There is also a decaffeinated version available which I have never tried.
Twinings Earl Grey does not have this lovely clear taste. I have experimented with brewing times, using milk, lemon or nothing, and the amount of sugar or sweetener (or none) that I use, and I have never found a decent cuppa out of all of it. Twinings Earl Grey has a ridiculously cloying flavour to it, it is not at all refreshing and leaves you with a funny taste in your mouth. I've just had a cup, and I now want to go and get some water to refresh my mouth; this isn't right, I should be feeling relaxed and have enjoyed my cuppa. The flavour of Twinings Earl Grey is overpowering, not light as it should be, and far too fragrant a taste. It is what you could describe as a "sticky" taste I think, it leaves your mouth feeling as if you've just eaten some sweets which coat your mouth in sticky residue. This is mass market Earl Grey, but perhaps that is an unfair label - supermarket own brand Earl Grey teas are also mass market, but they are perfectly pleasant.
Look beyond Twinings when you want a good cup of Earl Grey, there's so much better out there. For loose leaf I can't recommend Suki highly enough, and for teabags I think Williamsons is the best but for a cheaper cuppa, Tesco is perfectly good. Really, Twinings does not make good Earl Grey tea, it's a poor example of a wonderful drink.
~~~ Introduction ~~~
I usually only drink tea in the mornings ... and a lovely cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea usually does the trick. After 9.00am, it's coffee all the way to the "wee small hours" for me. Recently, however, I decided that I would start to drink less coffee and more tea so decided to try something a little different ...
I tried a few different brands and flavours ... and whilst some were quite nice others tasted like I had found an odd sock under the sofa and simply added hot water !!!!!
I was about to give up the quest when my other half suggested trying Earl Grey. I had avoided this tea, however, as I had tried it as a child and wasn't overly impressed by the taste. I decided to buy a box anyway !
At the supermarket I was presented by a massive choice of Earl Grey teas ... but in the end I opted for Twinings as their English Breakfast Tea is something I enjoy every morning. I also chose this brand as the box looked quite posh ... unlike the picture selected by dooyoo the box I bought was black with a luxurious looking gold band and a picture of some rather noble looking dude who I assumed was Thomas Twining !!!
~~~ My name is Earl ~~~
Back at home I decided to treat myself to a "proper" cup of tea and located the tea pot ... and whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I read the box. It turned out that the man whose picture was on the box wasn't Thomas Twining at all but was infact Earl Grey. I had always assumed that this was a made up name for the tea to make it sound posh.
Anyway, there was also a quote on the box too from the current Earl Grey ...
"Twinings has been blending my family tea for many years. Legend has it, that my ancestor, the second Earl Grey, was presented with this exquisite recipe by an envoy on his return from China. Generations of my family have enjoyed Earl Grey tea and, today, I am proud to continue this tradition with the tea celebrated throughout the world known as Twinings Earl Grey Tea." [The Sixth Earl Grey]
By now I was intrigued and after a quick internet search I discovered that the 2nd Earl Grey was actually Charles Grey who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland between 1830 and 1834 and was also one of main people directly responsible for the Reform Act of 1832. I also discovered that although many other companies produce Earl Grey tea it is only the Twinings brand that is officially endorsed by the Grey family !
Choosing to buy Twinings had clearly been an inspired choice ... and it seemed that I was drinking a tea that had an impressive history. Thank goodness I had decided to search for the tea pot !!!
~~~ Twinings Earl Grey Tea ~~~
With the short (but intriguing) journey back in time over with it was time to return to the task in hand ...
I once remembered reading somewhere that it was recommended that you should drink Earl Grey tea black so I gave it a try. However, I felt that it didn't really taste like a cuppa should do so I added a splash of milk (although am sure that this is a personal choice so wouldn't want to influence you in any way). I also added a spoonful of sugar ... I read the box which suggested adding a slice of lemon too but decided to give this a miss ... wouldn't want anyone thinking I was trying to be all posh would I ?
Anyway, on to the taste ... and I was pleasantly surprised by just how good my cuppa tasted. Earl Grey tea (for those who don't know) is simply tea which has had the flavour of bergamot oil added to it. Bergamot oil is extracted from the rind of a bergamot orange but don't let this put you off as Earl Gray tea doesn't taste of oranges or indeed any other citrus fruit. The taste is much more delicate than that ... something I can only describe as tasting fragrant rather than over-powering !
Since buying the box I have several cups of Earl Grey tea and am pleased to say that I have dramatically reduced the amount of coffee I had been drinking. Unlike regular tea I feel that Earl Grey tea doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste and is actually quite refreshing to drink. I would recommend Twinings Earl grey Tea to anyone and although I have heard it being described as an acquired taste I would actually have to say that (in my opinion) it makes a delightfully easy to drink and refreshing cuppa !!!
~~~ FINAL THOUGHTS ~~~
So there you go ... a quest to find an alternative drink to coffee that lead to two new discoveries. I now know who Earl Grey actually is and I now enjoy a drink that as a child I had hated !!!
Thanks for reading ;)
>>> jedimastergray73 <<<
I am undeniably a tea addict and am renowned in the office for drinking around 15 cups a day - it is a wonderful pick me up and great for warming up on a cold winter day. I tend to drink regular tea but have recently begun to drink Earl Grey Tea - namely Twining's.
I find this tea to be much more light than regular tea. It has a much sweeter edge to it and is very refreshing; in my opinion, it doesn't require as much milk as regular tea and i don't tend to use sweeteners as I find it to be sweet enough.
For an early morning pick me up, I wouldn't recommend this tea; although it is full of flavour and very refreshing, it doesn't quite have the kick of English Breakfast Tea, for example. However, for a gentle boost half way through the day, this is perfect.
Twinings Earl Grey tea is perhaps one of my favourite teas of all time. I was told that one of twinings biggest mistakes was not to copyright this tea, as it has done with many of its other ranges, and that led to so many other companys jumping on the Earl Grey bandwagon!
The tea is nearly 200 years old made with the essence from the rind of the bergamot orange. The tea can be enjoyed with or without milk and is naturally sweet tasting and hence can be quite pleasant without any sugar! To get the most out of this tea it is definately worth infusing for 3-4 minutes.
The tea is also relatively cheap, it can be ordered at about £2.70 for 50 bags.
I would definately recommend this tea to anyone who is getting bored of the standard English Breakfast Tea.
Furthermore, if you have tried this tea and enjoyed the taste, it would worth having a look at the Earl grey counterpart, Lady grey- also a lovely tea.
i was brought up like many English people on Tea. Tea for breakfast (with toast of course), Tea with lunch and Tea for dinner, not to mention all those times inbetween when you want to relax or get away from the computer for a bit.
I had drank the 'normal' tea of tetleys, PG tips..etc for many many years until a friend of mine wouldn't shut up about how good Earl Grey was. My first reaction was that it was a snobby tea, reminiscent of old England and all those toffee-nosed rich people that we all so like to dislike.
I was wrong about Earl Grey, I tried it once, thought "Hmm, thats not bad", tried it twice and fell in love with it. The distinguishing factor of course is the bergamot flavour that is added to what would normally be black tea.
Since that fateful day I have drunk only Earl Grey tea, when someone asks if I would like a cup of tea I brave the initial laugh in my face b asking if they have Earl Grey and if they don't I usually decline. Because, to me, normal tea is now nothing compared to Earl Grey, once you have acquired the taste you don't go back.
Now this review is for Twinings' Earl Grey and I must admit that this is 'the' tea to get. Slightly more expensive than the supermarket's own (although Sainsbury's and Morrison's both offer very good versions) but when you taste a Twinings' tea you can tell straight away that this is good quality. I actually went through a phase of testing others through taste and smell and Twinings won hands down. Now i usually stick to only that and do not drift away from it!
This tea can be drunk with lemon traditionally but i prefer a small tiny amount of milk with mine...divine!!
I am very, very fussy about my tea. I drink around 10 cups a day and have a giant latte mug full in a morning to get me going. For me 'normal' tea is Earl Grey because it is what we always had in the house when I was growing up, any other tea? Well I can drink it and its better than nothing but it doesn't hit the spot in quite the same way.
Twinings is by far the best brand of Earl Grey and it always amazes me how much the flavour can change with other brands, quite far removed from the Twinings blend, I know I would be able to pick a cup of Twinings Earl Grey out of a line up with other brands, it is the flavour I am most familiar with but it is also distinctive.
I remember, for some reason my parents switched to Earl Grey at home when I was about 12 in 1990, I have never asked them why but suddenly that was the tea we drank, every morning and every evening. People used to visit and think that they had left washing up liquid in the cups or would make a face when they tasted it and leave most of it. We used to have to remember to keep normal tea in for visitors.
So, I have just grown accustomed to the taste of Earl Grey - but then its a matter of which type, Twinings get the balance of bergamot just right (I never knew til recently that Bergamot is actually a type of orange which is why the tea sometimes has a citrussy smell - not lemon as is widely thought). I think it is this delicate balance which determines the flavour and which other brands, to my mind, get wrong.
Someone at work recently bought a box of a supermarket's own brand earl grey with the tea kitty (they were trying to appease me, knowing my 'tea snobbery' which was nice), they were from the local Co-op, the bergamot was overwhelming, to the point that once the hot water was on them you could just smell really overpowering citrus. Now I would still rather drink this than normal black tea but its nowhere near the perfetion of Twinings.
I drink my Earl Grey with a little milk, which used to be a no-no for tea connoisseurs. I just find any tea a little too harsh without milk, however, I cannot drink tea if all you can taste is the milk, I tend to put my small dash of milk in the cup before the water because its easier to measure that way.
Twinings Earl Grey is sold as both bags and leaf tea, I use the bags for convenience. A small box of 50 is around £2.50 but ASDA quite often have them on special offer, ive even seen them at a pound a box on one occasion when I stocked up. They are more expensive than own brand versions but, as I have said above, the trade off is the flavour.
This morning I could not have my daily bucket of Earl Grey to get me going because I was having a 'fasting' blood test first thing and was only allowed water for the 12 hours previous. I bought a couple of Twinings bags with me to work and have just ran at the kettle like a mad woman to get my fix! Thats when it occured to me that I had not reviewed such a key component of my daily routines.
Earl Grey is an acquired taste, but once you have it nothing else quite measures up!
Twinings Earl Grey Tea
Twinings and Tea are virtually synonymous, the history of the company going back centuries. Thomas Twining actually opened the first known tea room in 1706, a building that still stands in the Strand, London to this day.
In 2006, Twinings celebrated its 300th anniversary, with new teas, a special anniversary tea, associated tea caddies and updated product packaging.
When I want a nice cup of tea but something with a bit more taste to it I often reach for the Earl Grey tea, one of my favourites. Earl Grey however is definitely an acquired taste and I believe you either love it or you hate it, there is no in between.
Earl Grey tea is a tea blend with a distinctive flavour and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit. It is the bergamot oil that gives it it's distinctive taste. Even though bergamot is a citrus fruit, Earl Grey does not taste citrusy to me, it is completely different than specific fruit teas. I would say it has quite a sour taste to it but it's definitely very refreshing and really quenches your thirst. Earl Grey is part of the Twinings Aromatic's range due to its unique taste.
Earl Grey is traditionally a black tea and most often drunk without milk as it has quite a strong taste already and mixing milk does alter the taste but you can add it and I often do. I think of Earl Grey as an almost posher tea than regular English Breakfast for example because of it's association with Earls etc and the fact that Twining's is a Royal Warrant holder (appointed by HM The Queen).
According to an article I read, the Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s and author of the Reform Bill of 1832, who reputedly received a gift, probably a diplomatic perquisite, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil, taken from bergamot, a citrus fruit typical of southern Italy. Apparently in tea circles it is generally accepted that Twinings was the first company to blend Earl Grey in Britain during the premiership of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, although this is disputed by rival tea merchants.
The Twinings Earl Grey packaging is quite distinctive, featuring a picture of the Earl on the front of their box. Their box is a traditional black colour and is available in packs of 50 and 100 tea bags, as well as 125g loose tea. Twinings received an official endorsement from the sixth Earl Grey, Richard Grey, whose signature also appears on packages of Twinings Earl Grey.
Twinings now sell more than 200 teas in more than 100 countries throughout the world so if you're looking for a nice Earl Grey look no further than the original and in my opinion the best.
Twinings Earl Grey has to be one of my all time favourite teas. According to legend Earl Grey is named after my great great uncle Charles, the splendid 2nd Earl Grey, former Lord Whorewick and prime minister to King William IV. He is said to have been given (probably stole it) a special blend of tea from a Chinese Mandarin with a long white beard and crinkly slippers. When the tea supply ran out the Earl asked Richard Twining to recreate the tea for him, ("but don't tell the Chinaman I told you so" - he said). As British Prime Minister Earl Grey believed that adding Oil of Bergamot ensured a memorably refreshing cup of tea. Let's face it, what else can you do with Bergamot? And so the blend became known as "Earl Grey's" tea and was marketed as such. Earl Grey is today marketed as a premium tea that is supposedly made from only the most tender young leaves on the tea leaf plant thereby ensuring a most tender flavour and a smoother tingle.
Fortunately Earl Grey is not grey but is a black tea comprising a blend of Indian and Sir Lankan teas which is then flavoured further by the addition of bergamot oil. The oil is extracted from the bergamot pear-shaped citrus fruit as it is squeezed between the thighs of Calabrian virgins. The dark leaf tea retains a very light colour once brewed which should not be mistaken for a lack of strength. It is not 'smoky' but exudes an overpowering fragrance and a vibrant taste that will skip over your taste buds. It is a tea to be drunk away from the dining table. An ideal brew for relaxing on quiet afternoons although satisfaction is assured at any time of the day.
Twinings Earl Grey should be left to brew for between three to five minutes. In the halls of high society it has often been recommended to me that it be drunk without milk but I always feel that a little drop or two does not blemish the flavour in any way, it certainly didn't do the Queen Mother any harm. If you're feeling bold enough you might add a slice of lemon with sugar to taste. There are cheaper versions of Earl Grey out there including supermarket own brands but I can assure you that they never attain the tingling quality of Twinings.
There's nothing like a nice strong cup of earl grey tea to make you feel just fantastic. It's the right combination of delicate flavour with the strength of a good cup of black tea. In my opinion the Twinings version is without question the top of the tree. With some brands the bergamont flavour is just not strong enough, or the tea itself is too weak, or even worse, the quality of the paper used for the tea bag is not high enough and you end up tasting the paper a lot more than the tea itself!
I love earl grey - it fantastic either very strong with a splash of milk and with or without sugar, or a little bit weaker but black. I find that when you're drinking it without milk it's better to let it draw not quite so long otherwise you can start to get slightly bitter flavours from the bergamont. When making your tea it's very important not the let the string of the tea bag soak in the water, as this can also affect the flavour.
The reason I love the Twinings brand is that the flavour is so strong and pure. In fact, sometimes if I am really dying for a cuppa I'll use the same tea bag twice - that's how much flavour there is! Or you can put the tea bags aside and use the remnants of hot water to make flavouring for all sorts of things, from earl grey custard or brulee puddings to rice pudding. Delicious!
Much more interesting than plain english breakfast, but with the same strength and pizazz, Twinings Earl Grey is the perfect cup of tea!
Character: This black tea, scented with the oil of Bergamot, gives a most refreshing sensation. How and when to serve: Black or with very little milk, but never lemon which detracts from the Bergamot. Some have it for breakfast, most in the afternoon, and some in the evening. Origin: China. Strenght: 1.