Traditionalists Call Twinings New Earl Grey Foul

LONDON, England

Venerable Twinings has shaken the sensibilities of the English with the introduction last spring of a new formula for its Earl Grey blend.

Opposition continues to mount among traditionalists who apparently took homage and posted a Bring Back the Original Twinings Earl Grey Tea website opposing changes to the 180-year-old favorite.

Marketers at the company, founded in 1706, say consumer research indicates tea drinkers prefer a zesty, more refreshing update to the bergamot with the addition of citrus.

This led one critic on the site to proclaim "It stinks, rather like lemon Fairy Liquid, and is unpleasant to taste. I threw the contents of my box out into the compost."

"I took a big gulp expecting it to taste lovely and 'bergamotty' but to my utter dismay [and horror as I nearly spat it out] it tasted like lemon cleaning product – vile," writes Jane Smith a Facebook commentator.

"Bring back the old recipe that was refreshing and flavoursome. I cannot describe how awful this new tea tastes," reads one of the posts.

The variation, labeled The Earl Grey, is enjoying brisk sales despite its critics, rising 8 percent in volume compared to the original formula.

"As with all changes to blends, our new Earl Grey has undergone rigorous consumer testing, receiving strong preference feedback over the previous blend," says a company spokesperson.