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.

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Old 10-07-2005, 01:43 AM
Pat
 
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Default Earl Grey

Twinings Earl Grey has always been one of my favorite teas. I was
always under the impression that this was the definitive Earl Grey, and
that they were using the original, unaltered recipe used by the Second
Earl Grey himself. However, I have recently read on the web that
Jacksons of Piccadilly claims that **THEY** and only they have the
original recipe. Apparently this has been a long standing bone of
contention between the two companies for a very long time.

I have tried both versions and they are noticeably different. Twinings
has a much stronger bergamot flavor, whereas the bergamot flavor in
Jacksons' formula is very subtle indeed. I prefer Twinings.

Surely there must be a way to determine who is correct in this dispute.
Does anybody know if one firm or the other's claim to the original
recipe has ever been validated? Which firm do you believe, and what
is the consensus regarding whose version is better?

Pat


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Old 10-07-2005, 11:09 AM
Dieter Folz
 
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Pat schrieb:
Twinings Earl Grey has always been one of my favorite teas. I was
always under the impression that this was the definitive Earl Grey, and
that they were using the original, unaltered recipe used by the Second
Earl Grey himself. However, I have recently read on the web that
Jacksons of Piccadilly claims that **THEY** and only they have the
original recipe. Apparently this has been a long standing bone of
contention between the two companies for a very long time.

I have tried both versions and they are noticeably different. Twinings
has a much stronger bergamot flavor, whereas the bergamot flavor in
Jacksons' formula is very subtle indeed. I prefer Twinings.

Surely there must be a way to determine who is correct in this dispute.
Does anybody know if one firm or the other's claim to the original
recipe has ever been validated? Which firm do you believe, and what
is the consensus regarding whose version is better?

Pat


Twinings Earl Grey use definitly NOT the original recipe, because at
Earl Grey's time tea was not harvested by machines. Also there was real
bergamotte oil and not just flavouring which is used by Twinings
(German declaration law is *very* strict on that, so based on the label
with the declaration of ingredients (Zutaten) they definitely use no
real bergamotte oil!).

The only brand I know which uses a traditional blend of Chinese black
O.P. leaf teas and real (Italian) bergamotte oil is a traditional
German brand (Teekanne). Maybe this is the closest match to the
original Earl Grey recipe.

On the other hand: does it really matter? Isn't it more important,
which taste you like most?



Dieter

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Old 10-07-2005, 02:37 PM
Pat
 
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Default



Dieter Folz wrote:


Twinings Earl Grey use definitly NOT the original recipe, because at
Earl Grey's time tea was not harvested by machines. Also there was real
bergamotte oil and not just flavouring which is used by Twinings
(German declaration law is *very* strict on that, so based on the label
with the declaration of ingredients (Zutaten) they definitely use no
real bergamotte oil!).



I'll take your word for it regarding the bergamot oil, but what do
machines have to do with the recipe? I wasn't referring to how the tea
is manufactured, just the recipe itself.



The only brand I know which uses a traditional blend of Chinese black
O.P. leaf teas and real (Italian) bergamotte oil is a traditional
German brand (Teekanne). Maybe this is the closest match to the
original Earl Grey recipe.



Teekanne owns Redco Foods, the licensee of Red Rose and Salada teas in
the US. The only other Teekanne products I've ever seen here are their
Pompadour herbal infusions. Any idea where I can buy some of their
Earl Grey to sample? Is it available online?

And, BTW, the bergamot orange is native to Vietnam, not Italy, based on
what I have read.



Pat

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Old 10-07-2005, 05:04 PM
Scott Dorsey
 
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Default

Dieter Folz wrote:

Twinings Earl Grey use definitly NOT the original recipe, because at
Earl Grey's time tea was not harvested by machines. Also there was real
bergamotte oil and not just flavouring which is used by Twinings
(German declaration law is *very* strict on that, so based on the label
with the declaration of ingredients (Zutaten) they definitely use no
real bergamotte oil!).


The original bitter orange oil that was used was probably not Bergamot
oil anyway, which where things start getting very confusing.

The only brand I know which uses a traditional blend of Chinese black
O.P. leaf teas and real (Italian) bergamotte oil is a traditional
German brand (Teekanne). Maybe this is the closest match to the
original Earl Grey recipe.


I have seen some commercially made that used real bergamot oil and some
which used a bergamot+neroli oil mixture.

On the other hand: does it really matter? Isn't it more important,
which taste you like most?


It _would_ be interesting to know what the original Earl Grey tea was
like. I don't think we'll ever know today, though, because I think the
orange oil used is probably unavailable. Bergamot is a reasonable
substitute to my mind.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 10-07-2005, 06:06 PM
Dieter Folz
 
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Default



Pat schrieb:

I'll take your word for it regarding the bergamot oil, but what do
machines have to do with the recipe? I wasn't referring to how the tea
is manufactured, just the recipe itself.



There's a great great difference between those "modern" tea bag
optimized teas, harvestet by machines and chopped not rolled leafs, and
orthodox produced teas.


Teekanne owns Redco Foods, the licensee of Red Rose and Salada teas in
the US. The only other Teekanne products I've ever seen here are their
Pompadour herbal infusions. Any idea where I can buy some of their
Earl Grey to sample? Is it available online?


I don't know. They own several companys now (had an organizational
restructuring just a few years ago). They have several product lines
(e.g. Pompadur, Sir Winston etc.) and one product line with loose leaf
teas, but maybe only for the German market.

http://www.teekanne.de/html/de/sorti.../teekanne_los=
e=2Ephp?aktiv=3D2&uaktiv=3D1

Maybe you can email their English speaking customer service.


They have also a Sir Winston Earl Grey which is not so good as the
other -- well, in my opinion not so good at all, but as far as I know,
they also use real bergamitte oil for that so far.


And, BTW, the bergamot orange is native to Vietnam, not Italy, based on
what I have read.



Nope. It's produced in Italy (on a 100km coast string of Calabria
(between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian sea from Villa San Giovanni to
Gioiosa Jonica), and is a cross between lemon and grapefruit.

It is one of the ingredients of Eau de Cologne (K=F6lnisch Wasser) since
the 17th or 18th century.



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Old 10-07-2005, 07:23 PM
Pat
 
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Scott Dorsey wrote:

I have seen some commercially made that used real bergamot oil and some
which used a bergamot+neroli oil mixture.



The East India Company's Staunton Earl Grey uses bergamot and neroli
oil. I've never seen any other brnd that used neroli oil, though. The
Stauton Earl Grey is quite good, but I like Twinings better.



It _would_ be interesting to know what the original Earl Grey tea was
like. I don't think we'll ever know today, though, because I think the
orange oil used is probably unavailable. Bergamot is a reasonable
substitute to my mind.



It's very possible that whatever was used to scent the batch that was
given to the second Earl Grey was not available in England at the time,
so bergamot might have been the closest thing they could obtain. But
there's no reason to think that Twinings and Jacksons haven't been
using bergamot oil from day one, is there?

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Old 10-07-2005, 07:28 PM
Pat
 
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Dieter Folz wrote:
Pat schrieb:

I'll take your word for it regarding the bergamot oil, but what do
machines have to do with the recipe? I wasn't referring to how the tea
is manufactured, just the recipe itself.



There's a great great difference between those "modern" tea bag
optimized teas, harvestet by machines and chopped not rolled leafs, and
orthodox produced teas.



Perhaps. I was referring to Twinings loose-leaf Earl Grey, though, not
the bagged version. It is a larger leaf tea, though most likely it is
still machine harvested. But that is neither here nor there.
Regardless of how the tea is manufactured, that does not mean that the
same kind of tea used in the original recipe isn't used today.


http://www.teekanne.de/html/de/sortiment/kategorien/schwarzer/teekanne_lose.php?aktiv=2&uaktiv=1

Maybe you can email their English speaking customer service.



Thank you. I will give it a try.



Pat

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Old 10-07-2005, 07:28 PM
Pat
 
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Default



Dieter Folz wrote:
Pat schrieb:

I'll take your word for it regarding the bergamot oil, but what do
machines have to do with the recipe? I wasn't referring to how the tea
is manufactured, just the recipe itself.



There's a great great difference between those "modern" tea bag
optimized teas, harvestet by machines and chopped not rolled leafs, and
orthodox produced teas.



Perhaps. I was referring to Twinings loose-leaf Earl Grey, though, not
the bagged version. It is a larger leaf tea, though most likely it is
still machine harvested. But that is neither here nor there.
Regardless of how the tea is manufactured, that does not mean that the
same kind of tea used in the original recipe isn't used today.


http://www.teekanne.de/html/de/sortiment/kategorien/schwarzer/teekanne_lose.php?aktiv=2&uaktiv=1

Maybe you can email their English speaking customer service.



Thank you. I will give it a try.



Pat

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Old 10-07-2005, 09:40 PM
aloninna
 
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Default

I've heard the original Earl Grey recipe brought to England from China
included jasmine blossoms in addition to whatever type of citrus oil
the Chinese used.

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Old 10-07-2005, 10:10 PM
aloninna
 
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I've heard the original Earl Grey recipe brought to England from China
included jasmine blossoms in addition to whatever type of citrus oil
the Chinese used.



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Old 11-07-2005, 12:12 AM
Dieter Folz
 
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Pat schrieb:

Perhaps. I was referring to Twinings loose-leaf Earl Grey, though, not
the bagged version.



It's the same tea they put in the bags. All is (like with almost every
British brand) this modern chopped tea (therefore you don't have the
old FOPs, BOPs or OPFs, PDs etc. categories anymore, because while all
the same, they don't have to be sieved) -- the only British brands as
far as I know which still use orthodox teas are Fortnum & Mason and The
Bramah Tea Museum. Compare a FOP or even BOP to Twinings, PG Tips,
Typhoo, Taylors of Harrogate or whatever loose or bagged English tea.
It is *real* leaf tea to all the same very small stuff which guarantees
you a very dark and strong brew, but also a quite different taste
compared to an orthodox tea. Chopped teas are best compared to avarage
orthodox fannings. They have a body and colour like orthodox fannings
but are far less brassy and more brisk (and therefore better), more
pungent than bitter but have also their edges, best taken off by
flavourings and / or a splash of milk.


It is a larger leaf tea, though most likely it is
still machine harvested. But that is neither here nor there.
Regardless of how the tea is manufactured, that does not mean that the
same kind of tea used in the original recipe isn't used today.


No, these modern teas (breeds) are in character *quite* different from
orthodox ones. Orthodox teas are not very common in the UK since the
1950s. Whereas on the continent you have still nearly 100% orthodox
teas (maybe because it is not very common to drink tea with milk). So,
in the UK you have good and decent teas for a price you can't get a
decent orthodox tea for. On the other hand you can't get the real
exquisite stuff. Because of this you get e.g. in Germany for low and
also medium priced teas only total crap (barely- or non-drinkable),
esp. with tea bags, but if you pay real good money you can (if you're
lucky and know where to shop) get the real good stuff -- but you *have*
to pay for that, and there is no way around. So, for a good Earl Grey
(like Teekanne) you have to pay about 4 Euros per 100gr (also minimum
for a good Assam, min. 10 Euros / 100gr. for a decent Darjeeling
(easily up to 30 Euros per 100gr!) etc.). That is one reason why I tend
to use more and more e.g. PG Tips for my daily tea shot.

Modern teas like the Brits use have a good to unbeatable price per
value ratio in the low and medium price segment. If it's getting
expensive e.g. because you have to pay for a fancy label, you better
should change to decent orthodox teas.


Cheers, Dieter

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Old 11-07-2005, 02:17 AM
Pat
 
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Dieter Folz wrote:

So, for a good Earl Grey
(like Teekanne) you have to pay about 4 Euros per 100gr (also minimum
for a good Assam, min. 10 Euros / 100gr. for a decent Darjeeling
(easily up to 30 Euros per 100gr!) etc.). That is one reason why I tend
to use more and more e.g. PG Tips for my daily tea shot.



4 euros for 100 grams is a reasonable price. That is about what
Twinings and Jacksons cost, so I guess that puts them in the same
quality range as Teekanne. 10-30 euros is getting a bit steep. I am
not overly fond of Darjeeling, so that is rarely an issue for me. I
hate Twinings Darjeeling. Jacksons is better, but give me a good
strong cup of English Breakfast over the finest Darjeeling any day.

PG Tips is a very good "every day" tea. That is what I have been
mostly drinking lately.


Modern teas like the Brits use have a good to unbeatable price per
value ratio in the low and medium price segment. If it's getting
expensive e.g. because you have to pay for a fancy label, you better
should change to decent orthodox teas.



Most of the teas sold in Britain are what I consider decent, especially
if you want something strong that doesn't cost a fortune. PG Tips and
Typhoo are both very good. Tetley I'm not as crazy about.

I drink a lot of tea, so I don't buy much of the most expensive stuff.
Mostly I drink PG Tips, Typhoo or Red Rose. I drink Twinings English
Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, when I have more time to
savor it. I usually have a cup of Earl Grey in the afternoons, and out
of all the Earl Greys I've tried, Twinings is by far the best. I am
not sure if Twinings is what you would consider a fancy label. It's a
good few notches about the standard supermarket fare and reasonably
priced, IMO. There are other brands like Lipton, which do Earl Grey
blends that are more expensive and are undrinkable, IMO.

Twinings, Jacksons and Taylors of Harrogate are about as high in
price/quality as I typically go. I enjoy them, and the more expensive
orthodox teas I've tried were not enough of an improvement to justify
the substantially higher price.


Pat




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Old 12-07-2005, 05:12 PM
Scott Dorsey
 
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Lewis Perin wrote:
(Scott Dorsey) writes:
aloninna wrote:
I've heard the original Earl Grey recipe brought to England from China
included jasmine blossoms in addition to whatever type of citrus oil
the Chinese used.


After reading this, I just tried cutting a commercial Earl Gray from
Harrod's with some yellow box jasmine... and the effect is really quite
nice, if a little bit strong.


"Yellow box jasmine"? You mean jasmine *green* tea, right? If you
want something milder, you might try to find a jasmine black/red.


Yes, the "yellow box" tea from Fujian is a green tea with jasmine flowers.
A jasmine black might be a better choice, indeed, but I still found the
bergamot too strong for my tastes, as well as the jasmine. Perhaps
blending some jasmine flowers and cutting with a raw black tea base would
be closer, though I don't have raw jasmine flowers in my office today.
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 12-07-2005, 06:11 PM
aloninna
 
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I had a chance to try an Earl Grey + jasmine blossoms. As you would
expect it's a very pleasantly highly aromatic blend. The sweet
fragrance of jasmine is a nice contrast to the spicy-bitter fragrance
of bergamot. As far as the taste goes, the jasmine is hardly noticed
under the strong bergamot + black tea taste.

I've never tried a straight black tea + jasmine combination, but would
assume it the jasmine would kinda get lost. Anyone ever tried it?



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