Sunday, March 24, 2013

TEA-RIFIC TIME

What kind of tea would go well with this luscious chocolate cake? This and other mind-boggling questions were the hot topic at the recent Dilmah Tea workshop held at the Hub @ Le Meridien KL one fine Saturday morning.
Chang Yeow Lim, Food Service Manager from Dankoff Coffee Specialist Sdn Bhd (Dilmah's local rep) shared with us some interesting facts about the tea brand e.g. how the name Dilmah is derived from the founder - Merrill J Fernando's sons' names, how his family has devoted 56 years to the tea business (from planting, processing and marketing to changing the lives of their workers and sustaining the area on which Dilmah teas are grown) and the upcoming trend of matching tea with food.

Within the short span of time when Chang held court, we learned that Dilmah teas are hand-picked, powered by an almost all-female workforce that selects only "two leaves and the bud" from the tea plants. Only the finest teas boast such quality hence it is unsurprising that Dilmah commands good prices for the tea that they produce.

The Dilmah team also brought along a brass samovar - a unique heated metal contraption that's traditionally used to heat and boil water in Russia and certain Eastern European countries for the tea-making demonstration.
Aided by the company trainer and resident mixologist Cheryl Lee, we were treated to creative concoctions of mocktails using Dilmah tea such as Moroccan Mint and Lapsang Souchong mixed with Monin flavoured syrups.

It was fascinating watching them brew and steep the tea. Some of us (yours truly included) were itching to own the nice implements such as Dilmah's very own tea timer and specially designed tea glass.

When it comes to the correct way of brewing tea, Chang advised us to brew black tea between 2-4 minutes depending on whether loose tea leaves or tea bags are used. Of course, spring water will make the tea tastes better but us city folks would just have to contend with tap water. :-/

"Allow one teaspoon of black tea per person and one for the pot. Once boiled water is poured in, let the tea steep for a minute before stirring. Then the pot should be left for 4 more minutes before serving. For tea bags, brewing time is only about 2 minutes."

He also reminded us not to squeeze the tea bag if we're using them to brew tea as the tea's best flavour would have leached into the water on its own accord. It is also advisable to remove the tea bag once the time is up. "Green tea also takes less time to brew - use boiled water that's around 70 degrees Celsius and let it steep for 2 minutes."


The hotel provided us with a sugar rush to complement our tea-tasting session. Earlier I didn't take to the Moroccan Mint mocktail as I found the minty overtone too strong for my liking but when partaken hot, the refreshing tea really complemented the rich chocolate cake, macarons and little muffins.

We also had a chance to try Dilmah's Pure Chamomile Flowers, Earl Grey, Green Tea with Jasmine, Natural Ceylon Ginger Tea and Natural Rosehip with Hibiscus infusions, testing them with the different sweet offerings.

If there's one driving force that should inspire you to choose Dilmah over its competition, it should be the company's admirable and untiring efforts in doing away with the middlemen and reinvesting the fruits of its labour back to the tea plantations so that their workers and economy of Sri Lanka get to share in the spoils of fair trade. Now won't you join me and drink a 'tea-rific' toast to such ethical practices?

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