I love all types of tea not just loose leaf, tea bag tea also has its rightful place in our cupboards. Growing up in East London, builders brew was a staple for me and it holds a special place in my heart. This is where my love of tea started.
At the supermarket I usually reach for Twinings Tea. Living in Bermuda, the shelves are stocked with British, American and other international brands. Both Twinings and Bigelow are side by side at the supermarket, one of British origin and the other of American origin.
My preference is to opt for the British brand because I’m British and of course it tastes better (or does it?). There’s nothing more British than tea, right? But does Twinings really taste better than Bigelow? I want to know whether I would know the difference in a blind tea tasting test….
Read more: Do Brits really drink a lot of tea?
On my search for similar teas, I found 5 boxes of tea that looked almost identical, 1. Jasmine Green Tea, 2. Green Tea & Mint, 3. Lemon & Ginger Herbal Infusion, 4. Earl Grey Tea and 5. Green Tea with Lemon.
Whilst the ingredients may differ slightly in each, the product title was the same (or very close!)
Twinings Tea is Britain’s best selling tea! So, it appears that the Queen’s favourite tea is also the nations favourite too.
Before serving tea to many Londoners, the Twining family lived in Gloucestershire where they worked as millers and weavers. During the late 1600’s the Twining family moved to London. At the age of 26, Thomas Twining (founder of Twinings) worked for a tea merchant named Thomas D'Aeth and learned many valuable skills in the tea industry.
In 1706, Thomas Twining bought a coffee shop known as Tom’s Coffee House in Strand, London which reopened as the Golden Lyon a year later. Ten years after this, Thomas Twining acquired 3 houses in strand and converted them into a shop which still stands today, more than 300 years later.
Queen Victoria appointed Twinings In 1837 as the tea supplier to the Royals known as the ‘Royal Warrant’
A Royal Warrant is a special stamp on their product that declares to the rest of the world that they supply the royal family. The stamp shows a coat of arms with the writing ‘By Appointment to…’ below it.
Bigelow Tea was founded in 1945 in Connecticut, USA by Ruth C. Bigelow.
Whilst Bigelow Teas are relatively new in comparison to Twinings, they have still been producing teas for over 75 years.
Ruth C. Campbell first started blending black tea with orange peel and spices which was a huge hit with friends. Her first blended tea gained the name “Constant Comments” as it gained so many constant comments. And that’s where Bigelow Tea was born.
Ruth’s granddaughter, Cindi Bigelow, is now the CEO of Bigelow Tea and she continues to grow Bigelow as the family owned company that it always has been. Cindi initiated the Annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge and also works in the community too!
Twinings vs Bigelow
Jasmine Green Tea vs Jasmine Green Tea
Here’s a confession, I’m not too keen of the taste or aroma of Jasmine! I probably shouldn’t say this but it kind of reminds me of cat’s pee (sorry!). Jasmine is a super popular tea so I’m probably slightly alone in my opinion here. If I get a waft of the smell of jasmine flowers while out walking, my nose doesn’t react too well! Being blindfolded may confuse my senses, let’s hope it’s a winning taste!
Jasmine tea is a Chinese scented tea that has been scented (rather than flavoured or blended) with jasmine flowers.
Well… I still wasn’t overly keen on the taste. Twining’s Jasmine Tea was quite strong and pungent and really not for my tastes. But I was pleasantly surprised with the light and delicate taste of Bigelow’s Jasmine Green Tea. I would probably indulge in this one again. So, I’m sorry Twinings, I feel as though I’ve let the British side down but Bigelow definitely won this round.
TWININGS: Jasmine Green Tea
Ingredients: Jasmine Scented Green Tea
Box Description: Delicate jasmine flowers balanced with green tea, intertwining beautiful aromas and flavours. Deliciously fresh tasting on it’s own or after a meal.
BIGELOW: Jasmine Green Tea
Ingredients: Jasmine Green Tea
Box Description: A light aromatic experience with the gently hint of fresh-picked jasmine flowers.
Green Tea With Mint vs Green Tea With Mint
Rather than call these Moroccan mint, both Twinings and Bigelow have opted to call theirs Green Tea with Mint instead. Probably because of the type of green tea used. Traditional Moroccan mint tea is made with gunpowder green tea, spearmint and white sugar. Making fresh Moroccan mint tea is just the best! I much prefer to make my own with fresh spearmint rather than in tea bag or loose leaf form.
Both teas had very different tastes. I much preferred the taste of the Twinings Green Tea with Mint over the Bigelow Green Tea with Mint. I found the Bigelow tea rather bitter and far too bold for my tastes. I think that a spoonful of white sugar would balance the taste of this one out. The Twinings tea was lighter, sweeter and had a more minty fragrance.
This round definitely goes to Twinings. I really enjoyed drinking this one. I would definitely have this one again.
If you like green tea with mint, you may also like this Watermelon and Moroccan Mint Tea Agua Fresca recipe.
TWININGS: Green Tea with Mint
Ingredients: Green Tea, Natural Mint Flavouring, Mint Leaves
Box Description: Life doesn’t have a pause button, but this blend is the next best thing. Lively peppermint, delicate green tea and cool refreshment. Just what your day needs.
BIGELOW: Green Tea with Mint
Ingredients: Green Tea, Mint Leaves
Box Description: Our signature green blend gently kissed with mint.
Lemon & Ginger Herbal Blend vs Lemon & Ginger Herbal Tea With Probiotics
Of course I had to include a herbal infusion in the game. Both Twinings and Bigelow make a Lemon and Ginger blend. I never used to like the taste of ginger (only in ginger nut biscuits!) but the older I get the more I enjoy the taste. So this could be an interesting comparison.
The Twinings tea had a very strong gingery taste and I found it quite overpowering. It was so overpowering, in fact, that I couldn’t really taste the citrus notes. Which was such a shame because I love lemon tea. The Bigelow tea was super sweet and had a unique creaminess to it. It went down so well. Out of all the teas that I tried, this was the most surprising because I really loved the taste. I actually thought it would be on the strong side due to some of the ingredients such as liquorice and cinnamon but the blend was well balanced and just super.
This round goes to Bigelow, hands down!
TWININGS: Lemon & Ginger
Ingredients: Ginger Root, Natural Lemon and Ginger Flavourings with Other Natural Flavourings, Orange Leaves, Apple, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass
Box Description: This spicy infusion will warm you up from the inside. Its lemony freshness is blended expertly with ginger root for an uplifting taste. Perfect whenever you need a little burst of sunshine.
BIGELOW: Lemon & Ginger Herbal Tea plus Probiotics
Ingredients: Lemongrass, Lemon Peel, Natural Ginger and Lemon Flavours with Other Natural Flavouring, Lemon Verbena, Rose Hips, Ginger, Licorice Root, Ganeden BC (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) Citric Acid
Box Description: This recipe not only tastes delicious, it’s good for your digestion too. Our zesty blend of lemon and ginger has been combined with the probiotic BC 30.
Earl Grey Tea vs Earl Grey Tea
Ok, confession time, I much prefer other types of tea to black teas (with the exception of masala chai) So I wasn’t too sure if I was going to get this one right.
Earl Grey is a classic blended black tea flavoured with fragrant bergamot oil.
However, it was easier than I first thought to tell the difference and I did actually get this one correct. I found the Bigelow Earl Gray a little astringent and strong, I much preferred the taste of the Twinings Earl Grey. The Twinings Earl Grey was so deliciously delicate and easy to sip on.
I wondered if adding a dash of milk would sway my mind, but I still did prefer the Twinings over the Bigelow. So sorry Bigelow, this round went to Twinings.
Did you know that Earl grey tea intoxication actually exists? Read the blog article and find out how much tea is too much tea.
TWININGS: Earl Grey
Ingredients: Black Tea, Bergamot Flavouring
Box Description: Aromatic black tea blend, scented with a citrus bergamot flavour.
BIGELOW: Earl Grey
Ingredients: Black Tea, Natural Oil of Bergamot
Box Description: Hand-picked black tea delicately blended with real oil of bergamot from Calabria, Italy.
Green Tea & Lemon vs Green Tea With Lemon
Quite possibly my favourite supermarket tea… Twinings Green Tea with Lemon. Surely I could tell the difference here. Although I thought this was going to be difficult as the pressure was on to guess the correct tea, especially as this was my favourite supermarket tea bag tea.
I liked both Bigelow and Twinings offerings here, both tasted great. Surprisingly they did taste quite different. Bigelow tea had a slight creaminess and natural sweetness to it, so I would totally drink this one again. But I just love the simple citrusy-ness of the Twinings Green Tea and Lemon.
Overall, I gave this round to Twinings but it was a really close call in the taste department!
TWININGS: Green Tea & Lemon
Ingredients: Green Tea, Natural Lemon Flavouring with Other Natural Flvourings, Lemon Peel
Box Description: Need a lift? We’ve blended the fresh delicate character of green tea with just the right amount of juicy, zesty lemon - the perfect balance to brighten any day.
BIGELOW: Green Tea with Lemon
Ingredients: Green Tea, Lemon Peel, Natural Flavour
Box Description: Just a dash of lemon, that is all we needed to add to our gentle green tea to make your green tea experience complete. You get a cup of our healthy, smooth Bigelow green tea rounded out with a lovely lemon finish…oh yeah.
Overall, Twinings won 3-2. But it was a really really close competition. First up was Jasmine Green Tea, this round went to Bigelow’s light and delicate tea. Next up was Green Tea with Mint, this went to Twinings, I really enjoyed this tea. The third offering was herbally tasting Lemon & Ginger. This one went straight to Bigelow. I was most surprised by this tea and thought that the flavours were just perfect, must be all those tasty probiotics! After this was the Earl Grey round. It’s no surprise that Twinings won this round being that Earl Grey is so classically British. Lastly, was my favourite supermarket tea bag tea, Green Tea with Lemon, of course this one just had to go to Twinings.
So, it turns out the Bigelow create some amazing teas just as Twinings do too. :)
Do you have a favourite? Don’t forget to comment below!
Read More of my Blog Articles About Tea
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