This post contains mostly (snippet) photos. I don’t want to preempt the SPOT.ph feature which should be published as we speak. (This entry was written yesterday, November 7, 2012.)
“I’m a little tea girl, short and stout. Here is my handle and here is my spout.” Musical number brought to you by my recent visit to the newly opened TWG Tea branch in Greenbelt 5. It’s definitely my new happy place. I love tea, but I’m very picky with it. I don’t like it too strong; I don’t like it too weak; I don’t like it too earthy; I don’t like it too robust. Like everything else, I prefer the baby bear, the balance. The secret is in the very careful, very scientific construction.
Most Filipinos find tea revolting unless it’s doused with milk and served with a few spoonfuls of pearls. Real tea is much too complex for us, but during our pre-opening visit, Jo and I found out why. WE’VE BEEN BREWING OUR TEA INCORRECTLY. My last 22 years of drinking tea has been a complete lie. Tea isn’t about dipping a tea bag in hot water then sipping it with our pinkies poking out. There’s an art and TWG Tea’s Senior PR Manager, Louise Benzrihem, told us exactly what we’ve been doing wrong:
1. Tea bags are only effective once. So much for the economical benefits of ordering one tea bag and refilling it until it reaches the point of being pure water. The first soak (which can last from three to 15 minutes depending on the variety) gives the best flavor.
2. Cotton filters are the best. Not paper, not metal strainers. Cotton is the only material that doesn’t alter the natural flavors of tea.
3. Serve it hot, but not boiling. It’s best to wait until the water simmers–but only simmers. On a practical note, you can’t drink anything that’s boiling. If you soak tea in water that’s 100 degrees, you’d have to wait several minutes for you to drink it and by then it might be over-diluted. Simmered water is the perfect temperature for sipping.
4. There’s art even in the teacups. Nope, it’s not for the cuteness factor. Louise says that the scent influences flavor and a wider cup allows us to smell the contents better. Moreover, the tastebuds on the tips of our tongues are also stronger. A thinner rim allows us to taste the flavors more. No more tea in mugs for us!
5. Heat the water first to make iced tea. TWG has a super secret way of warming tea; they wouldn’t even allow us to take a photo! After brewing it the traditional way, just add ice cubes or refrigerate it. Brew it a bit stronger so the ice wouldn’t water it down.
6. Milder teas work best with lighter chow; stronger teas work best with more flavorful meals. Just like wine.
7. When life gives you lemons, chuck it! If you want it a shade citrusy, use oranges or lemongrass instead. Lemons are far too acidic. I’m not sure about dalandan, though, which is a touch sweeter that lemon.
8. You can use tea with anything! Just like Da.u.de (this other fantabulous tea place in the Fort), everything here is infused with tea. They even have real meals like burgers.
9. Don’t use tube ice. The bigger the ice cubes, the better
10. Happy brewing!
I’m a tea and packaging addict so I really went nuts in this place! The macarons are so awesome that I told Jo we have to update our Top 10 Macarons list.
TWG’s bestseller is the Singaporean Breakfast Tea, but my personal favorites are the Silver Moon and the Eternal Summer (it’s red and herbal, perfect for iced tea). I found the Pink Flamingo (made with hibiscus and is a really pretty shade of rose) so pretty, too.
I thought you’d want to see the extensive tea menu.