Forenote: C.Y. was invited to this workshop as a guest.
The origins of tea started in China, but it was the English that glorified and glamorized the tea drinking culture. The concept of Afternoon and High Teas were started in England after tea was introduced to them.
Twinings has been in the business of tea for over 300 years. It was started by Thomas Twining as a tea room located at 216 Strand, London. Slowly, it expanded to be the multinational business that it is today. Twinings was the first tea company to blend Earl Grey - and it being a special blend requested by Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845).
Today Twinings has over 250 different blends of tea, from the traditional English Breakfast to the modern caffeine-free herbal infusions.
Held at the Presidential Suite of Marina Bay Sands, the Workshop was conducted by Stephen Twinings, Twinings’ Director of Corporate Relations and 10th Generation member of the family.
The workshop taught us the steps to brewing the perfect cup of tea:
1. Water must be boiling at 100 degrees Celsius with the exception of Green Tea, White tea and Oolong tea – reason being that these tea are more delicate.
2. Use oxygenated water, because the oxygen will bring out the flavors of the tea.
3. Tea pots must be clean. No grease should be present.
Tea, like wine, can be paired with food. The workshop gave us a few platters of food to sample to go along with the different types of tea.
With the Earl Grey, we were served Turkey Breast & Sharp Cheddar Finger Sandwich, Bacon and Chives Biscuits, Candied Violet Cupcakes and Opera Torte.
Earl Grey is a variation of black tea that is uniquely flavored with the citrus fruit, Bergamot. It has an uplifting floral fragrance. The tea has a strong flavor and so, food with rich taste is best paired with this tea.
Next, we are served White Tea.
And for food pairing wise, we were given Char Siew Pastry, Maki Sushi, Macaroons and Hazelnut and Milk Chocolate Torte.
A little fact about White Tea. Teas like Black Tea and Green tea go through an oxidation process. This process gives the tea, colour; the long the oxidation process, the darker the color. White Tea go through no or little oxidation process and there has a shorter manufacturing time as compared to other teas. But the selection of the tea leaves for White Tea is extremely stringent and strict – only the young tea leaves or the young buds of the tea plants are picked and made into White Tea.
白牡丹 (White Peony Tea) and 白毫銀針 (Silver Needle Tea) are some examples of White Tea.
White Tea has a delicate taste and may often feel bland by someone who prefers stronger tea. Naturally, lighter tasting food are paired with this tea.
To counter the sweltering heat of Singapore, Twinings has also introduced us their Twinings Mint Cooler. It tasted a lot like Moroccan Mint with a citrusy twist. It was very refreshing with the uplifting taste of mint and the sharp citrus flavors.
To pair with it, we were served English Cucumber Tea Sandwiches, Spinach Quiche, Mini Pistachio Financier and Mini Ginger-Creme Brulee.
To end of the workshop, we were each given a box of Earl Grey (My personal favorite BTW) and a cup. The box was signed by Stephen too!!!
Many thanks to Dick Lee Concepts and Twinings of London for the invitation.