Teatime Story - A Gent's Guide To Tea
Perhaps the image of a group of old English ladies nibbling on cream-smeared scones with little pill box hats perched on their dainty heads promptly appears in mind at the sheer mention of the word “tea”. But trust me, there’s nothing definitively feminine or matronly about the second most consumed beverage in the world. Our friends at local tea company 1872 Clipper Tea Co. have stated famous figures of masculinity who ooze rugged sex-appeal like actor Patrick Dempsey, football legend David Beckham, and silver screen fixture Johnny Depp to be fans of a good cup of the brew. Not with their pinkies extended, of course.
“The health benefits of tea extend beyond gender limitations. Both genders get to reap the health benefits of tea,” shares Mr Rehan Amarasuriya, Director of 1872 Clipper Tea Co. He adds that tea is packed with potent phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals, for the uninitiated) to fend off a wide array of age-related diseases like cancer, heart attack, clogged arteries, and also helps prevent tooth decay. With that in mind, I’d say it’s time to ditch the rancid mug of fermented barley we call beer, and opt for a good old cup of hot tea.
Getting To Know Tea
Before we get down to business, let’s first get acquainted with our shrubby friend. All tea – green, oolong, and black – come from the same plant scientifically known as Camellia sinensis. What sets them apart really boils down to the leaves’ oxidation process that they’ve being subjected to. Mr Amarasuriya shares with us a simple overview of the different teas and their stages of oxidation that gives them their distinct characteristics.
Process: Not wilted and not oxidised
Preparation: 1-3 minutes (75°C-80°C)
Benefits: High antioxidant content that significantly reduces the risk of cancer
Try: Jasmine Pearls Green Tea, $21 for 20 sachets
Process: Bruised, wilted, and partially oxidised
Preparation: 2-3 minutes (85°C-90°C)
Benefits: Contains plant chemicals that speeds up metabolism, thus aiding in weight loss
Try: Alishan Oolong, $21 for 20 sachets
Process: Wilted and fully oxidised
Preparation: 3-5 minutes (95°C-96°C)
Benefits: Contains plant chemicals that help protect the teeth from decaying, and reduces bad breath
Try: Finest Darjeeling, $25 for 100g tin
Wondering if that cup of chamomile tea in your pot is really tea? Mr Amarasuriya clears the air by pointing out that herbal, floral, and fruit teas that do not actually include the Camellia sinensis leaves should be more appropriately referred to as “infusions” or “tisanes”. Because these tea-less counterparts lack a caffeine kick, they’re a perfect chill out companion to have with a good book in hand.
Process: Usually dried fruit, flowers, herbs, or a blend
Preparation: 4-6 minutes (98°C-99°C)
Benefits: Depends on which dried herb is used
Try: Healing Garden, $18 per 100g tin
Like liquor and spirits, tea too have their own characteristics. “A cup of strong tea should be full-bodied with a rounded taste, while a cup of light tea should have a thinner profile,” says Mr Amarasuriya. The notes to detect include:
And these are profiles that should be avoided:
• Staleness: Flat and dull with a slight muskiness at the back
• Weakness: No distinct flavour coming through
• Astringency and bitterness
“Tea connoisseurs typically prefer single-blend teas so they could taste the tea’s individual profile,” says Mr Amarasuriya. But as with most things, there is no hard and fast rule as to how a gentleman should enjoy it. After all, taste is subjective.
I guess if the weekend is here and you’re really looking to impress your mates at the dinner table, here’s a tip: Get creative. Infuse your brew in your evening poison if you have to. That way, you get to loosen up a little while still reaping the benefits of the brew. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. The people of 1872 Clipper Tea Co. have shared with us some cocktail recipes to incorporate into your Friday night frenzies.
Suggested Cocktail Recipes
Before we start, it is imperative that you concoct a tea syrup with the brand’s unique blend of teas.
Tea Syrup Preparation:
• Equal parts of tea blends and sugar
• Add hot water and stir until smooth, before draining tea leaves (steeping time anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes, taste constantly)
Orchard Road Cocktail
Orchard Road tea, $56 for a set of three City of Flavours blend (comes with a tea infuser)
• 30ml Orchard tea syrup
• 15ml lime juice
• 30ml rum
• Add rum, tea syrup and lime juice into a shaker and fill with ice
• Shake, and strain into a cocktail or flute glass filled with crushed ice
• Garnish with half a lime
Lau Pa Sat Cocktail
Lau Pa Sat tea, $56 for a set of three City of Flavours blend (comes with a tea infuser)
• 30ml Lau Pa Sat tea syrup
• 10ml Lau pa Sat tea
• 30ml Coconut water (sugarless)
• 30ml rum
• 15ml lime juice
• Add above ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice
• Shake, and strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice
• Top with a sprinkle of lime juice
So there we have it. A full guide to enjoying tea for the gentleman on the go. Now is a perfect time to bid farewell to the unsightly beer belly, and say cheers to good health.
1872 Clipper Tea Co. is physically available at Tangs at Tangs Plaza (B1), Robinsons at The Heeren (B1), Gardens By The Bay (Gift Shops), Singapore Botanic Gardens (Gift Shops), and online at https://www.clippertea.com.sg/shop.