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Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 03:12 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?

I visited the Twinings shop in the Strand this past summer and stocked
up on tea to bring back home to the States with me. There seems to be
a much more extensive selection of Twinings blends available in the UK
than what we get here, but there were also the familiar popular
favorites such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

I have been a happy Twinings customer many years. I was surprised when
I got home to find that the tea I had purchased in London tasted much
different than the Twinings I was used to getting here in America. The
British version seemed to have a much richer flavor, but I thought at
first it might just be my imagination.

Therefore, I decided to do a taste test. I ordered some of the US
Twinings English Breakfast tea bags from their website, figuring that
it would be fresher coming directly from Twinings rather than from the
supermarket. I made two 20 oz. pots of tea. The first pot contained
the British tea, using two tea bags. The second pot contained three US
tea bags (because there is less tea per bag in the US version). I
figured that would allow for any differences in strength.

I concluded that the British version is much better than its US
counterpart - which I cannot understand, because although the US tea is
packed in North Carolina, it is, according to the label, blended in
London. Therefore, Twinings English Breakfast should be the same
throughout the world, except perhaps for the packaging, right? But I
am more convinced than ever that these are two different blends of tea.

I also tried the same experiment with Twinings Earl Grey, and while the
difference is less prounounced, there IS still a difference. As a
result, I seem to have lost my taste for Twinings' US offerings and
when my supply runs out will probably only purchase the imported
versions online.

Has anyone else noticed this or am I just crazy??

Ads
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 03:36 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


Piculet wrote:
Has anyone else noticed this or am I just crazy??


You're not crazy, so that should be a relief, eh? They are very
different animals for sure. In fact in my local grocery store they have
a world section and in the British section you can buy real UK
Twinnings tea and it is the only Twinings I even consider. (although
I'm still no Twinnings fan) I have seen a few folks around here say
that they only drink the UK version over the US counterpart, so my
guess is that you were spot on.

  #3 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 03:46 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?

It's a mute point on how crazy you are. They closed the Greensboro
N.C. plant. You will continue to see export blends for particular
markets primarily based on price points. So if you like the London
blends you'll need a source.

Jim

Piculet wrote:
I visited the Twinings shop in the Strand this past summer and stocked
up on tea to bring back home to the States with me. There seems to be
a much more extensive selection of Twinings blends available in the UK
than what we get here, but there were also the familiar popular
favorites such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

I have been a happy Twinings customer many years. I was surprised when
I got home to find that the tea I had purchased in London tasted much
different than the Twinings I was used to getting here in America. The
British version seemed to have a much richer flavor, but I thought at
first it might just be my imagination.

Therefore, I decided to do a taste test. I ordered some of the US
Twinings English Breakfast tea bags from their website, figuring that
it would be fresher coming directly from Twinings rather than from the
supermarket. I made two 20 oz. pots of tea. The first pot contained
the British tea, using two tea bags. The second pot contained three US
tea bags (because there is less tea per bag in the US version). I
figured that would allow for any differences in strength.

I concluded that the British version is much better than its US
counterpart - which I cannot understand, because although the US tea is
packed in North Carolina, it is, according to the label, blended in
London. Therefore, Twinings English Breakfast should be the same
throughout the world, except perhaps for the packaging, right? But I
am more convinced than ever that these are two different blends of tea.

I also tried the same experiment with Twinings Earl Grey, and while the
difference is less prounounced, there IS still a difference. As a
result, I seem to have lost my taste for Twinings' US offerings and
when my supply runs out will probably only purchase the imported
versions online.

Has anyone else noticed this or am I just crazy??


  #4 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 04:09 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Posts: n/a
Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


Space Cowboy wrote:
It's a mute point on how crazy you are. They closed the Greensboro
N.C. plant. You will continue to see export blends for particular
markets primarily based on price points. So if you like the London
blends you'll need a source.


So by price points you mean that certain markets are only willing to
pay so much for a particular type of tea - and that the ones who are
willing to pay less get a lesser quality of tea? Because I didn't
really notice much price difference between the tea I bought at home
and what I bought in the UK.

I can understand tailoring the products to local tastes - and that is
why, I assume that we see blends like Ceylon Orange Pekoe and Irish
Breakfast here in the States which are not available in the UK. And
why Traditional Afternoon and Assam are available in the UK but not in
America. (Actually I suspect that Irish Breakfast and Assam are the
same blend, but some marketing research might have suggested that an
"Irish" blend might not sell well in the British market).

But I always assumed that English Breakfast and Earl Grey were English
Breakfast and Earl Grey everywhere. I figured that the export tea
bags contained less tea because the Brits like their tea stronger (and
rightfully so) than most other countries do. But you may be on to
something because the export blend is definitely different from what
the Brits are drinking.

If they have closed the North Carolina plant, it will be interesting to
see if there are any changes in the blends we are getting here in North
America.

  #5 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 05:24 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?

All the big commercial tea companies target export markets with
pricing. The rest of the world buys tea on price points and market
differentiation. I wouldn't get too hung up on price points versus tea
taste. If you are imprinted on a particular Twinings London blend then
nothing else will do. I stock my share of penny/gram
Indian,Ceylon,Chinese and enjoy every cup. Most commercial teas aren't
meant for export and maybe you can find them in your local ethnic
market. My guess Twinings will cease in the US market.

Jim

Piculet wrote:
Space Cowboy wrote:
It's a mute point on how crazy you are. They closed the Greensboro
N.C. plant. You will continue to see export blends for particular
markets primarily based on price points. So if you like the London
blends you'll need a source.


So by price points you mean that certain markets are only willing to
pay so much for a particular type of tea - and that the ones who are
willing to pay less get a lesser quality of tea? Because I didn't
really notice much price difference between the tea I bought at home
and what I bought in the UK.

I can understand tailoring the products to local tastes - and that is
why, I assume that we see blends like Ceylon Orange Pekoe and Irish
Breakfast here in the States which are not available in the UK. And
why Traditional Afternoon and Assam are available in the UK but not in
America. (Actually I suspect that Irish Breakfast and Assam are the
same blend, but some marketing research might have suggested that an
"Irish" blend might not sell well in the British market).

But I always assumed that English Breakfast and Earl Grey were English
Breakfast and Earl Grey everywhere. I figured that the export tea
bags contained less tea because the Brits like their tea stronger (and
rightfully so) than most other countries do. But you may be on to
something because the export blend is definitely different from what
the Brits are drinking.

If they have closed the North Carolina plant, it will be interesting to
see if there are any changes in the blends we are getting here in North
America.


  #6 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 05:41 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?

On Sat, 21 Jan 2006 09:24:04 -0800, Space Cowboy wrote:

All the big commercial tea companies target export markets with
pricing. The rest of the world buys tea on price points and market
differentiation. I wouldn't get too hung up on price points versus tea
taste. If you are imprinted on a particular Twinings London blend then
nothing else will do. I stock my share of penny/gram
Indian,Ceylon,Chinese and enjoy every cup. Most commercial teas aren't
meant for export and maybe you can find them in your local ethnic
market. My guess Twinings will cease in the US market.

Jim

Piculet wrote:
Space Cowboy wrote:
It's a mute point on how crazy you are. They closed the Greensboro
N.C. plant. You will continue to see export blends for particular
markets primarily based on price points. So if you like the London
blends you'll need a source.


So by price points you mean that certain markets are only willing to
pay so much for a particular type of tea - and that the ones who are
willing to pay less get a lesser quality of tea? Because I didn't
really notice much price difference between the tea I bought at home
and what I bought in the UK.

I can understand tailoring the products to local tastes - and that is
why, I assume that we see blends like Ceylon Orange Pekoe and Irish
Breakfast here in the States which are not available in the UK. And
why Traditional Afternoon and Assam are available in the UK but not in
America. (Actually I suspect that Irish Breakfast and Assam are the
same blend, but some marketing research might have suggested that an
"Irish" blend might not sell well in the British market).

But I always assumed that English Breakfast and Earl Grey were English
Breakfast and Earl Grey everywhere. I figured that the export tea
bags contained less tea because the Brits like their tea stronger (and
rightfully so) than most other countries do. But you may be on to
something because the export blend is definitely different from what
the Brits are drinking.

If they have closed the North Carolina plant, it will be interesting to
see if there are any changes in the blends we are getting here in North
America.



Over 20 years ago, I thought Twinings Earl Grey had a wonderful flavor.
Now what I get seems bland and lemony. The true bergamot flavor just
isn't there. MLB

  #7 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 06:28 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Posts: n/a
Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


Space Cowboy wrote:
. My guess Twinings will cease in the US market.



I doubt that very much. Twinings holds a considerable share of the
specialty tea market in the US and is doing quite well here. From the
2005 financial results of Associated British Foods, the parent company
of Twinings:

Our global hot beverages brands, Twinings and Ovaltine, achieved strong sales and profit growth supported by a significant investment in brand marketing and new products over the last two years. This included double digit growth for Twinings in the UK and US and for Ovaltine in its three key Asian markets: China, Thailand and the Philippines.


The full report can be found at:

http://www.abf.co.uk/investors/repor...ew/grocery.asp

The plant in North Carolina plant was closed because it was outdated
and it was determined that it would be cheaper to pack tea for the
North American market in England than to bring the North Carolina plant
up to date. I don't think any changes will be noticed by the consumer
except that "packed by R Twining & Co, Greensboro, NC" will no longer
appear on the packages. The tea was already blended in England - the
NC plant only put it into tins and tea bags - so I doubt that there
will be any changes in the tea blends themselves.

  #8 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 07:17 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


mlbriggs wrote:


Over 20 years ago, I thought Twinings Earl Grey had a wonderful flavor.
Now what I get seems bland and lemony. The true bergamot flavor just
isn't there. MLB



I know what you mean. I grew up drinking Lipton and discovered
Twinings when I was in college and thought it had to be the best tea in
the world. I loved the Ceylon Orange Pekoe but I don't really like it
at all anymore. And I agree that their British blends are better than
their American ones.

I don't think the products change so much as our taste does. When
Lipton was my reference point, the Twinings I got in the supermarket
was superb. But now that I've tried other teas, it doesn't excite me
so much anymore.

I used to occasionally treat myself to some British teas - like
Twinings, PG Tips, Typhoo - and save them for weekends or special
occasions - and drink teas like Red Rose or the US Twinings for "every
day". It didn't really bother me to switch back and forth and there
didn't seem to be a huge difference. But then I found some good online
deals for some of the British teas - and began buying it by the case.
I started drinking it every day because it would have hung around way
too long otherwise. And after a steady diet of nothing but British
teas for several months, I found it impossible to go back to my old
stand-bys. I now know how the Brits feel when they come here are
disappointed in our tea. I have found that Tetley British Blend will
do in a pinch when I can't get the "real thing", but most of the time I
just buy tea from ethnic markets and from online sources.

  #9 (permalink)  
Old 21-01-2006, 09:04 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


"Dominic T." wrote in message
oups.com...

Piculet wrote:
Has anyone else noticed this or am I just crazy??


You're not crazy, so that should be a relief, eh? They are very
different animals for sure. In fact in my local grocery store they have
a world section and in the British section you can buy real UK
Twinnings tea and it is the only Twinings I even consider. (although
I'm still no Twinnings fan) I have seen a few folks around here say
that they only drink the UK version over the US counterpart, so my
guess is that you were spot on.


I thought I was crazy too. My sisters friend brought some Twinings English
Breakfast bags on her visit from the UK. I had some and loved it. It was
so rich tasting. I then bought some from Ralphs....suspiciousluy of course.
It was definitely not the same.
Pete


  #10 (permalink)  
Old 22-01-2006, 12:54 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Posts: n/a
Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?

Piculet wrote:
I concluded that the British version is much better than its US
counterpart - which I cannot understand, because although the US tea is
packed in North Carolina, it is, according to the label, blended in
London. Therefore, Twinings English Breakfast should be the same
throughout the world, except perhaps for the packaging, right? But I
am more convinced than ever that these are two different blends of tea.


The difference is not subtle. The blends for the US and UK are clearly
different. This wasn't the case 20 years ago either, but it is very
obvious today with most of the Twinings varieties. I don't know why;
perhaps they believe American tastes are different, or perhaps they really
are foisting cheaper teas off on us.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 22-01-2006, 01:17 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


"Piculet" wrote in message
oups.com...
I visited the Twinings shop in the Strand this past summer and stocked
up on tea to bring back home to the States with me. There seems to be
a much more extensive selection of Twinings blends available in the UK
than what we get here, but there were also the familiar popular
favorites such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

I have been a happy Twinings customer many years. I was surprised when
I got home to find that the tea I had purchased in London tasted much
different than the Twinings I was used to getting here in America. The
British version seemed to have a much richer flavor, but I thought at
first it might just be my imagination.


snip


I concluded that the British version is much better than its US
counterpart - which I cannot understand, because although the US tea is
packed in North Carolina, it is, according to the label, blended in
London. Therefore, Twinings English Breakfast should be the same
throughout the world, except perhaps for the packaging, right? But I
am more convinced than ever that these are two different blends of tea.

I also tried the same experiment with Twinings Earl Grey, and while the
difference is less prounounced, there IS still a difference. As a
result, I seem to have lost my taste for Twinings' US offerings and
when my supply runs out will probably only purchase the imported
versions online.

Has anyone else noticed this or am I just crazy??




Can anyone tell me what the difference in packaging is between Twinings
British and Twinings American? Someone said they were able to buy the
British type at their store, I'd like to know what I'm looking for should I
come across it and decide to try it.

Melinda


  #12 (permalink)  
Old 22-01-2006, 01:21 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Posts: n/a
Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


Scott Dorsey wrote:

The difference is not subtle. The blends for the US and UK are clearly
different. This wasn't the case 20 years ago either, but it is very
obvious today with most of the Twinings varieties. I don't know why;
perhaps they believe American tastes are different, or perhaps they really
are foisting cheaper teas off on us.
--scott
--


I think American tastes probably are different. I am American but my
taste in tea is very British. I prefer a strong, dark hearty cup of
tea. I like it to be so dark that it looks like coffee in the mug
(unlike the Brits, I don't usually add milk). Most Americans drink
their tea a lot weaker. Many people who have tea at my house seem to
think it is too strong, and when I have tea at other peoples' houses,
it is usually way too weak. I am also inevitably given an endless of
choice of fruit flavors to choose from, which I don't like. The only
flavored tea I like is Earl Grey.

Come to think of it, the "milk" issue may account for the difference in
blends. Teas in Britain are usually taken with milk, so they have to
be stronger. Most Americans don't take milk, so the tea doesn't need
to be as strong. I just happen to be one of the few oddballs who likes
tea strong and without milk.

Twinings and other tea companies have probably done some market
research indicating that certain blends will sell better in certain
regions of the world. It is unfortunate that we in the USA always
seem to get a weaker, "watered down" version of tea because then people
never get a chance to develop a taste for the really good stuff.

I wish tea in the USA was more like what is typically sold in Canada -
stronger, heartier, 3 grams of tea per bag (as opposed to the 2 grams
typically in American tea bags).

  #13 (permalink)  
Old 22-01-2006, 03:34 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?

Melinda wrote:
Can anyone tell me what the difference in packaging is between Twinings
British and Twinings American? Someone said they were able to buy the
British type at their store, I'd like to know what I'm looking for should I
come across it and decide to try it.


http://www.twinings.co.uk/home_flash.asp
http://www.twinings.com/en_us/index.asp

The American boxes seem to be those familiar solid-color, traditional
ones.

The British boxes are much more modern looking, with photos of pretty
people and bold graphical elements. They'd actually fit in rather well
on American shelves, but then we wouldn't get the "Britishness", which,
I think, is at least 80% of its selling points to Americans. The
British site wouldn't have a picture of a guy in a powdered wig
anywhere on it.

And the product lines are different. The American line has more
varieties. From what I saw, the British line is more limited, with
just an "Everyday tea", a "1706", and an "African" blend, plus a number
of greens and tisanes.

Looks like their marketing department treats the two sides of the
Atlantic as totally separate marketing paradigms.

Just for a laugh, I looked through the other countries' websites (see
www.twinings.com for the selector box):

Australia: still different packaging graphics, but the site is still
mostly following the "look how traditional and British we are". Has
most if not all of the American-market products.

Russia: looks like the American tins, though I don't doubt they're
printed in Cyrillic; the powdered wig is gone, but there's an old
delivery truck. Looks like similar product to the other non-British
sites.

International: pretty much indistinguishable from the American
version, save the inclusion of a come-on for something called the
"two-day detox plan" which would probably send the FDA into fits of
advertising regulationism (and rightly so).

Wait. The "two-day detox plan" is in the American site, too, but buried
a bit. Hmm. Looks like it lacks protein. Some sort of vegetarian
hoodoo. Meat is good for you; stop eating crappy, fatty meat like
McDonald's (Burger King etc.) and you'll feel a lot better.

--Blair

  #14 (permalink)  
Old 22-01-2006, 04:57 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


Blair P. Houghton wrote:

And the product lines are different. The American line has more
varieties. From what I saw, the British line is more limited, with
just an "Everyday tea", a "1706", and an "African" blend, plus a number
of greens and tisanes.



The British line is much more extensive than that. Aside from the new
(and very good) Every Day Tea, 1706 (also very good) and the African
blend you mentioned, the British line consists of:

English Breakfast
Assam
Traditional Afternoon
Ceylon
Chai
Keemun
Yunnan
Darjeeling
Lapsang Souchong
Earl Grey
Lady Grey
Organic English Breakfast
Organic Earl Grey
Decaffienated Earl Grey
Decaffienated Traditional English

plus the "Twinings &" line which is black tea with fruit flavors, as
well as a fairly extensive line of green teas and herbal tisanes.

To answer Melinda's question in a nutshell: the Twinings teas sold for
the UK market are in back boxes with a gold-embossed Twinings logo,
whereas their export teas are generally in the plain colored boxes we
typically see in US supermarkets.

  #15 (permalink)  
Old 22-01-2006, 05:05 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Twinings UK vs. Twinings USA - is it just me?


Pat wrote:
To answer Melinda's question in a nutshell: the Twinings teas sold for
the UK market are in back boxes



That should read BLACK boxes. Sorry for the typo.

 




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