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First they came for the tea drinkers...
September 13, 2011 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Hot on the heels of the stunning revelation that Twining's had changed the 180-year-old recipe for Earl Grey tea, the Telegraph continues its reporting on the decline of British civilization with word that HP Sauce -- condiment of choice in millions of bacon butties around the United Kingdom -- has been brought "in line with changes in consumer tastes."
posted by villanelles at dawn (75 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
What?? Lemon with my bergamot? WWCJLPD?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:35 PM on September 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


At least they haven't just been replaced by a Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae version, I suppose.
posted by dng at 2:36 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But now, the age-old recipe has been secretly altered at the request of Government health chiefs.

The Brits suck at keeping secrets.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:36 PM on September 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
posted by nathancaswell at 2:38 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


NAE ME BROWN SAUCE!
posted by GuyZero at 2:38 PM on September 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


Storm in a tea cup as Earl Gray fans complain at new recipe...

I need a button that electrocutes reporters every time they write something stupid.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:39 PM on September 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


So they turned Earl Grey into Lady Grey?
posted by munchingzombie at 2:39 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


:((((((((

Twinings is the only Earl Grey that doesn't suck. If I wanted more bergamot/citrus I would be drinking another brand. Bring back the muted flavour I love!
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:39 PM on September 13, 2011


The tea article also ends with:

"ends"

So I'm assuming that the copy editor was fired.


This reads an awful lot like an Onion article, but I'd hope there'd be some kind of legislation that would force them to call it "lemon flavored earl gray tea" or something now.

Then again, I'm sure it doesn't matter, the real tea snobs probably weren't buying bags in the grocery store anyway. :)
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:42 PM on September 13, 2011


... Damn you, iPhone.

My first response to this was "has someone at Heinz arranged for someone at the Telegraph to write this so they can say how the bad old government meddlers and their crazy 'public health' ideas are, whilst not actually saying it?"

And that's just paranoia, isn't it?.
posted by cromagnon at 2:43 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Picard does not approve!
posted by kmz at 2:44 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reducing the salt in HP reminded me of this sciam article "The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science"
posted by bhnyc at 2:46 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's hilarious in light of this: as a result of the decrease in salt in the old sauce, the new line has more calories and carbohydrates.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:48 PM on September 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


GASP
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:50 PM on September 13, 2011


Twining's had changed the 180-year-old recipe for Earl Grey tea

Wow. This is like the British equivalent of New Coke. Thank the gods I have a stash of the old stuff.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:50 PM on September 13, 2011


I, for one, applaud the British government for helping to make sandwiches made out of butter and bacon healthier.
posted by xingcat at 2:54 PM on September 13, 2011 [40 favorites]


I quite like Stash Double Bergamot, but I've no interest in added lemon flavour, thank you.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:55 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But now, the age-old recipe has been secretly altered at the request of Government health chiefs.

Heinz publicly signed up to a voluntary health pledge, reduced the salt content themselves, and labeled the bottles accordingly, no doubt. It's fine if people don't like the new taste, but cut the anti-state bull.
posted by Jehan at 2:55 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I'm assuming that the copy editor was fired.

THE PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SACKING OF THE COPY EDITOR

HAVE BEEN SACKED
posted by mrbill at 3:04 PM on September 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


I need a button that electrocutes reporters every time they write something stupid.

You may have one, but only if I get a button that electrocutes politicians every time they lie.
posted by darkstar at 3:13 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


There are a millions kinds of tea out there. They are distinguished sometimes by very small changes in their composition. If you change the recipe for Earl Grey tear it is no longer Earl Grey tea. Call it almost anything else, but calling it Earl Grey is a lie.

And trying to serve me anything other than Earl Grey when I order it is the only way to make sure I order "death" instead of "cake" when presented with the choices.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:14 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If television is to be believed, and I for am a believer, Capt. Picard favorite hot drink is a sham. And not just because it's been replicated.
posted by tommasz at 3:21 PM on September 13, 2011


The best way to improve Earl grey tea would be to remove the bergamont.
posted by GuyZero at 3:25 PM on September 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just don't mess with my Marmite.
posted by Flashman at 3:41 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Marmite. Marmite is doing this gigantic campaign in England including flatware at Selfridges. It's a bit over the top. They are no longer recommending you spread it on toast, but use it as a flavouring in recipes, like Marmite spaghetti.
posted by parmanparman at 3:51 PM on September 13, 2011


I enjoy HP sauce. But the day they mess with Heinz ketchup... there will be blood and flames.
posted by Splunge at 3:57 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has anybody tried this recipe for making HP at home? Where we live in the States, we have to get it via mail order, so I wouldn't mind making it myself and saving a few bucks.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 4:19 PM on September 13, 2011


I want to see a company do this and then not actually change the recipe at all. Just to watch the people complain.
posted by kafziel at 4:20 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Marmite spaghetti

I love me some Marmite, and even I'm terrified to try this.
posted by SomaSoda at 4:44 PM on September 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's happened to Cadbury's chocolate as well. I can't eat it because it just tastes wrong now. :(
posted by frogbit at 5:05 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh no. This will kill my parents. I might as well just go stab them after work and get it over with. It's our family drink. It would be like changing water.

Fuck.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:14 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


They changed the recipe for Cadbury chocolate in Australia in 2009. Not a successful decision as it turned out, the public outcry was huge and they ended up having to apologise and change it back. I love Twining's Earl Grey as it was and hope they quickly realise what a big mistake it was to fuck with it.
posted by Wantok at 5:14 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do the words "new Coke" mean anything to these limeys?
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on September 13, 2011


(damn you, blazecock)
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on September 13, 2011


Stella Artois should change their 645-year-old recipe so it doesn't taste like skunk-water
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:27 PM on September 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Hmm, nevermind. The 1366 on the bottle is a lie.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:30 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


.




A "spot" of tea.
posted by obscurator at 5:32 PM on September 13, 2011


This is all just a plot to make me go out and buy up as many remaining "original" Twinings boxes as I can afford, isn't it?

Sometimes I just want to find the people who think it's a really good idea to mess about with an established, trusted brand/flavor/book/whatever just to change tradition for the sake of change, pick them up by the lapels or reasonable facsimilies thereof, and just seethe one word at them accompanied by a dagger stare:

Why?!
posted by Spatch at 5:34 PM on September 13, 2011


They are no longer recommending you spread it on toast, but use it as a flavouring in recipes, like Marmite spaghetti.

Marmite Chocolate. Proof that two rights make a very, very wrong.

Anyway, you can take away my Earl Grey, if you'll leave me my Twinings Irish Breakfast. I'm more than half addicted to it.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:09 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri want to know why their Infinite Improbability Drive has stopped working.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:14 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


When he was finally told, this evoked the rare double facepalm.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:25 PM on September 13, 2011


Wait... Hewlett Packard makes sauce?!
posted by not_on_display at 6:27 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's coconut oil in Breyer's classic ice cream.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:28 PM on September 13, 2011


I guess I'll go back to Stash, then.
They sell HP sauce in Southern California--my local market has a tiny "British Section" that has it.
posted by luckynerd at 6:42 PM on September 13, 2011


HP Sauce is ubiquitous in Canada, which is good because without it I wouldn't know how to make crappy pub steaks palatable.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:59 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with BungaDunga. If they mess with Irish Breakfast, I will hunt them all down, one by one...that stuff is amazing and very hard to find. I don't know why, or what's in it, but it reminds me very vaguely of banana bread.
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:03 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


My Dad looks down on Earl Grey tea as not being real enough for him. He says it isn't tea, it's one of those herbal things. I think he must be 200 years old or something.
posted by Hoopo at 7:14 PM on September 13, 2011


Has anyone else noticed a difference between US and Canadian HP Sauce? The stuff down here (for which I pay $5 for a tiny bottle! (but I need it on my grilled cheese sandwiches and shepard's pie)) tastes more ketch-up-y? Less tangy?

Anyone visiting the SE US soon from a proper HP-sauce place?
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:14 PM on September 13, 2011


And for tea, I'm addicted to PG Tips.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:15 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


hydrobatidae - The US version has high-fructose corn syrup. The Canadian version probably doesn't.
posted by bh at 7:26 PM on September 13, 2011


Oh man. IZ NUTTING SAYCRID? (Good thing I don't believe in sympathetic magic ... I was just -trying one box- of Stash double bergamot.)

I spose the next thing they'll be adding a spot of Hello Kitty Peppermint to Lapsang Souchong. THAT'll be WOR!
posted by Twang at 7:33 PM on September 13, 2011


As long as dey don't change Daddie's sauce mon.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:44 PM on September 13, 2011


I recently switched to Darjeeling instead of Earl Grey. Looks like that was more or less in time. Twinings, why hast thou forsaken us?

Brown sauce on beans on toast is one of the only breakfasts I enjoy. Capitalism ruins everything.
posted by Errant at 7:55 PM on September 13, 2011


(and personally, I drink Typhoo tea. It puts the OO in Typhoo).
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:58 PM on September 13, 2011


Whatever that means.
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:58 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Funny how they should change the recipe to HP less than five years after they stopped manufacturing it in the UK.
posted by furtive at 8:01 PM on September 13, 2011


Just don't let anyone change PG tips or there will be hell to pay.
posted by Space Kitty at 8:31 PM on September 13, 2011


Why do corporations insist on tweaking with things that work? If they want to 'revitalize' your brand or something equally stupid why don't they just introduce a "new earl grey double plus good" and leave my old one alone!

Here's hoping that this will get quickly reversed prior to the new crap making it over to Canada. I like lemon in my Earl Grey sometimes... but I'll put it in myself thanks.
posted by cirhosis at 8:36 PM on September 13, 2011


You guys, Star Trek is about the future. This change had already happened, centuries before Picard was born. And so had other, similar changes. By the time of Next Generation, "Earl Grey" basically meant "rubbing alcohol flavored with cilantro and taurine."
posted by No-sword at 8:50 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Canadian HP sauce is made in Canada by Heinz, and has quite different ingredients to the European made version. I'm fairly certain that Heinz has already mucked about with their ketchup at some point, since normal varieties contain corn syrup.


UK version: Tomatoes, Malt Vinegar (from Barley), Molasses, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Dates, Modified Cornflour, Rye Flour, Salt, Spices, Flavourings, Tamarind

Canadian version: White vinegar, Water, Glucose-Fructose, Blackstrap Molasses, Tomato Paste, Dates, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Concentrated Orange Juice, Spices, Onions, Tamarind Extract, Concentrated Apple Juice, Garlic, Chilli Peppers, Caramel, Mustard Flour, Corn Syrup.
posted by Harpocrates at 9:55 PM on September 13, 2011


US version: malt vinegar (from barley), tomatoes, molasses, spirit vinegar, glucose-fructose syrup (from wheat), dates, sugar, salt, modified corn starch, rye flour, tamarind extract, spices, onion extract.

So maybe the US tastes more like the British stuff? The Canadian ingredient list does look more 'tangy' and less like ketchup (and more like non-food).
posted by hydrobatidae at 10:05 PM on September 13, 2011


Marmite spaghetti

I love me some Marmite, and even I'm terrified to try this.


A wee spot of marmite (not much, around half a teaspoonful) is actually really nice in simple tomato-based sauces. Makes it taste richer and a bit more umamish. I'm not quite certain how pleasant a spaghetti dish with marmite and marmite alone for sauce would be.

Of course, the other secret use for marmite is to stir a spoonful into a mug of hot water: alakazammy, it's bovril!
posted by Dim Siawns at 12:10 AM on September 14, 2011


A while back I switched from Twinnings to a mail order tea shop called Jing. Thoroughly recommend their tea to anyone in the UK, but it's only loose leaf...

They need to start shipping sample packs of the Earl Grey for ppl offended by the new Twinnings stuff.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 12:14 AM on September 14, 2011


Just as long as they don't touch my Orange Pekoe. For me it's the only tea...
posted by teclo at 1:41 AM on September 14, 2011


Damn you Twinings, I'm almost out of loose EG, have to run to the store before they switch out on me.
posted by arcticseal at 2:05 AM on September 14, 2011


Picard says:

WTF is this shit?

Well ain't that some shit!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:38 AM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


No-sword: This change had already happened, centuries before Picard was born

Plus I was under the impression that manufacturers constantly make undocumented micro-changes to products (partly due to variation in source materials, partly to stop customer's palates getting jaded). This could all be a spun story to get people to try the stuff.
posted by raygirvan at 3:01 AM on September 14, 2011


I wonder if they're changing the Australian version of Twinings Earl Grey too. Good thing I went out and bought a pack of 100 tea bags the other day — it'll be weeks before this affects me.

For what it's worth, T2 does a very good Earl Grey too. But I don't think they do tea bags, so it's not as convenient, and it's about a gazillion times more expensive. (Although I could probably afford it if half of our household income didn't go to feeding our T2 Russian Caravan addiction.)

And if I ever find an Australian source for the Prince Vladimir tea that rocked my world in Liberty, it'll be a moot point anyway.
posted by damonism at 3:37 AM on September 14, 2011


They've moved the Twinings operation from the UK to Poland.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/7982817/Twinings-to-leave-Britain-for-Poland.html

That story isn't quite as whimsical, though.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 3:58 AM on September 14, 2011


Pardon me, is this the queue for snarky comments about how tea flavour augmentation is nothing more than a mask for the insipidity of sub-standard leaves, and how tea bags are a packaging and marketing invention to allow the sales of the sweepings left over when the good quality product has been bundled away, and how Twinings are the IKEA of tea merchants and the laughing stock of those who actually care about what they drink?

I was just wondering because I've got a cup with a second steeping of a five cent bag of fragments barely more than powder from a carton I got at the dollar store and I was wondering where the real action was going to be in this thread.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:56 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Food-flavor specialists, you can take your artificial lemon flavorings and shove them up your already puckered holes. There's not a food in the world improved by it. And your fake apple flavor, and your fake watermelon flavor.

We can tell they're fake, imbeciles. How many cycles of rationalization did you work your way through before you found it acceptable?
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2011


What's next, will they reveal that spotted dick is people? SPOTTED DICK IS PEOPLE!
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:04 AM on September 14, 2011


Heh... Reading further the Earl Grey thing is a little older then I'd guessed... they already have started shipping the "Classic" blend... of course it's only in bags :( I wonder why the new stuff hasn't made it to Canada yet...
posted by cirhosis at 8:49 AM on September 14, 2011


This Guinness variation of HP was the worst thing I've ever eaten, and I've eaten some weird stuff over the years. Love HP. Love Guinness. Love HP on things while drinking Guinness. But actually together? No.

No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No for the love of God No.
posted by dowcrag at 2:47 AM on September 15, 2011


So would it be safe to say that you didn't care for it?
posted by Splunge at 8:44 AM on September 16, 2011


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