Twinings, the world-famous English tea company, is no stranger to anyone who drinks tea in the world. The unmistakable tea bag and packaging is a branding on its own, making English tea accessible from every corner of the world since 1706. Stephen Twining, the 10th generation of the Twining family, was in in town for an intimate evening with tea-lovers while sharing his passion and knowledge in the art of tea blending and brewing last week.
Stephen Twining South-East Asia Tour 2011
The event was held at the beautiful Senja Restaurant, serving authentic Italian food with a gorgeous lake view outdoors.
Twinings tea and mugs
The event started with Stephen giving a 20-minute presentation on the history of tea, the starting of tea room, tea library and finally, the tricks to the perfect cup of tea. It was amusing to know that coffee used to be a man’s drink while tea catered mostly to women back in the olden days. He went on to share with us the different blends of tea and how the flavour is replicated to be exactly the same no matter which part of the world you get it from.
Stephen Twining sharing his passion for tea
Before he ended his speech, he shared with us some tips on preparing the Perfect Cup of Tea. One interesting scenario is how the tea pot usually ends up getting stained after numerous times of brewing tea. The common misconception is using soap to scrub the insides of the teapot to remove the stains but this will actually lead to your tea being infused with soap, hence destroying the natural flavour of the tea. What Stephen suggested was to clean it with baking soda and hot boiling water for 3 hours to get rid of the stains. Also, it was important to note that most of the English teas require 100 degrees C of boiling hot water for the perfect brew, hence we have to pour in the hot water just at the moment when it comes to boil, for it will not remain at 100C for long. This, however, does not apply for Green, Oolong and White Teas which require about 95 degrees C of hot water.
The Perfect Cup of Tea
After listening to all the stories and history of Twinings tea, we were all hyped up to try one of their signature blend of Earl Grey tea. I am used to drinking Chamomile tea so the Earl Grey was a refreshing start for me. It had a distinctive aroma that could be distinguished even before drinking – almost citrusy with a tint of ginger-like finish. Needless to say, it became my favourite that night.
Pouring of Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea
Honey if you prefer it sweet – Sugar is a big no-no
Stephen suggested the Earl Grey tea to be paired with the sweet and smooth Mini Creme Brulee, giving it a nice balance of flavours that brought out the contrast of sweet dessert and slightly sour tea even more.
Mini Creme Brulee
Our second cup was the Jasmine Green Tea, which was refreshing and light with a delicate jasmine fragrance. This was paired with a trio of afternoon tea snacks which I loved! The scones were especially soft and crumbly, absolutely perfect with the strawberry jam. The tiramisu was delightfully creamy without being overly sweet, and had a base infused with Kahlua.
Afternoon tea food
Absolutely loved the scones
Perfect with Strawberry jam
Our last cup of tea was Strawberry & Mango blend, which was technically not a type of tea since there was no tea leaf involved. It was fragrant from the strawberries, with a sour finish and was served icy cold for a refreshing twist. This is definitely for the health-conscious since it’s caffeine- and sugar-free.
Strawberry & Mango blend
No points for guessing that the strawberry drink was paired with strawberry tarts for the perfect match!
After trying the different blends of tea, it was time for dinner. Senja prepared a 3-course meal for us, starting with Adriatic Seafood Soup – a hearty combination of mussels, fish and various other seafood in a delicious tomato-based broth.
Adriatic Seafood Soup
There were two choices for the mains, either the chicken or seafood, and I picked the chicken. It was a dish of Chicken Breast with Cheese and Roast Potato, presented elegantly with asparagus on top. The cheese was half-melted, giving it a gooey and soft texture to the otherwise bland chicken. I personally thought the chicken breast was a tad too dry especially towards to the thicker middle part, so that’s where the cheese and gravy came in handy to balance it out.
Chicken Breast with Cheese and Roast Potato
Finally, dessert was Panna Cotta with Fresh Fruit Coulis. I loved this! The panna cotta was creamy, silky smooth and had a little bouncy texture. The thick paste on the side (coulis) was sweet and sour, making this dessert less rich and easy on the palate.
Panna Cotta with Fresh Fruit Coulis
Selection of Twinings tea
I have to say the tea-pairing event was a wonderful one, together with the knowledgeable and down-to-earth Stephen Twining. It was an experience that I will always remember, especially whenever I see the famous Twinings tea bag packaging! Thanks to Sue Lynn and Jeamie for the kind invite.
with Stephen Twining
Stephen Twining SEA Tour 2011 at Senja Restaurant
Senja Restaurant, The Saujana Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40140 Shah Alam,
Selangor Darul Ehsan,
Tel: +603 – 7843 1234