Blending and harmonizing
There is an art to blending which demands respect for tea. Tea that is made in the traditional, orthodox style is blessed with the sense of place, the inﬂuence of soil, climate and local ecosystem, and expressed in speciﬁc aroma, ﬂavor, texture and appearance. Combining tea with ﬂavors requires multiple trials to harmonize them. Our most popular teas are our Ceylon, Single Origin tea, our Breakfast and Earl Grey teas, although we are seeing interesting trends in the tea category with a new and more adventurous generation.
Traditionally, tea aﬁcionados in the Middle East appreciated leafy teas with bold appearance and an earthy ﬂavor, although that is changing. As a three-generation family of passionate tea growers, we look to present a variety of tea, working with luxury hospitality operators in the region to offer teas from different regions of Sri Lanka.
Gastronomy and mixology making waves
Beneﬁting from a natural synergy with food and key ingredients, tea has proved to have exciting potential for gastronomy and mixology projects. Since our ﬁrst events, we have seen growing enthusiasm for tea paired with food. We have also worked with mixologists around the world to explore ways of combining tea with different terroir and other natural ingredients, spirits and methods to produce tea cocktails. These trends are engaging a new generation of tea drinkers who are attracted to tea for its natural, plant-based goodness, variety and purity. Tea lovers are able to enjoy the experience of ﬁne tea and ﬁne food, which, together, offer an almost magical harmony in taste.
DILHAN C. FERNANDO
Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company PLC
Preparation is key
When choosing tea, knowing where it is sourced from and how it is grown is essential. I take pride in personally visiting each tea farm and sourcing organically grown teas tea directly from the farmers, even though this can be challenging. Drinking tea is a very personal experience and when choosing what to serve to customers, various factors require our consideration, such as their mood and how they are feeling at the time. How the tea is prepared and served is crucial in offering the best experience – the temperature, the water quality and the steeping time all play a vital role in highlighting the best characteristics of each tea.
At Chawan, we specialize in sourcing Japanese teas from different regions to offer an experience that juxtaposes ﬂavors based on each tea region and growing method. These include Sencha from Aichi, Kagoshima or Yame prefecture. In addition, we also source Chinese and Taiwanese teas.
Although Matcha remains the focal interest across the tea community outside of Japan, tea-based mocktails are trending, offering an attractive choice on menus for restaurants and cafes. Aware of this, we provide a tea menu creation as part of our service at Chawan, which includes developing signature tea-based drinks to complement the theme of the restaurant or cafe we work with.
Tea master and sommelier,
Founder of Chawan Japanese Tea House
Going with the mood
I believe tea is a great mood enhancer and social tool for uplifting the spirit. In selecting teas, our team considers the time of day it should be taken. The perfect brews for mornings are teas that help induce energy and focus, while epicurean teas suit midday and teas that help with digestion and calming are perfect for evenings.
We have a wide range, from white teas and green teas to Oolong and then specialty teas. We also have tisane, which are herbal infusions and caffeine-free teas, and are a great addition as an antioxidant alternative. Our house tea at The St. Regis is the Wuyi Oolong from the Huangcun Garden in Fujian, China, which is known as one of the world’s ﬁnest terroirs for high altitude Oolong. It is harvested mountainside in the autumn to preserve the aroma and gets its complexity from the mineral riches in soils and high altitude. Characterized by the fresh fragrance of rose, peach, fragrant wood and caramel, it has a buttery sweetness.
Artisanal, high-quality teas are becoming more popular, while rare, exotic, small batches from unique growing areas is the future. Teas with health beneﬁts and mood enhancing ingredients are on the rise, as are cold brew teas.
Provenance is becoming the major driver of listing teas, with fairtrade and ethical farming practices at the core of any
new company selling teas. Organic and biodynamic teas are also in high demand. On a business level, tea subscriptions have become a fast-growing trend, helping to introduce unusual and sometimes exotic teas to an untapped market.
Multi property beverage manager and sommelier
The St. Regis Downtown Dubai
A few years ago, I wanted to discover more about the science behind tea leaves. Caffeine is extracted from tea with heat and time, however there is little variation in the amount of caffeine contained in different types of tea. Products labeled herbal teas or tisanes do not contain any caffeine at all, unless they are mixed with tea leaves. Most of our guests are business travelers. In order to help our guests relax and enjoy their stay with us, we offer selections of peppermint, chamomile and lemongrass & ginger options, which are made from other ﬂowers, fruits, herbs and spices.
Big on brewing
Tea is a way in which guests are welcomed and considered the supreme form of hospitality in a variety of cultures. Today, there are many brewing techniques which tea lovers routinely use. My top three are: gong fu cha, concentrated amounts of tea leaf brewed in small vessels for a short period; cold brew tea, which involves pouring water over tea leaf, before leaving it in the fridge for few hours to steep; and western style – the most traditional at home – one big tea pot for gong fu brewing.
A ﬁesta of ﬂavors
There are six main ways to process tea and these methods create the six types: green; organic; white; herbal; black; and matcha. But even within these different tea types, there can be many nuances of ﬂavor, aroma and texture, creating a fantastic array of tastes to explore. We pride ourselves on offering the world’s ﬁnest selection of Jing tea, from the ancient gardens of China to the high mountains of Taiwan.
Assistant F&B restaurant manager
Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh