Saturday, May 23, 2009

TWG Tea Salon

Second visit to TWG was indeed a very pleasant experience. This time round, we had a good introduction towards the various types of tea from the tea master of TWG. Pardon for the wrong information in my one of my comments in the previous post, I have indeed mistaken Pu-er tea (普洱茶) as a yellow tea. Instead, this is considered a matured tea whereby the tea is purposely left to age after being oxidized completely. In a way, it is similar to fine wine whereby the older it gets the more prized it becomes. Yellow tea, on the other hand, is not completely oxidized and has only one harvest each year, thus is expensive.

Daddy being a tea drinker decided with Pi Lo Chun Imperial (碧螺春, $11.50++), a type of green tea from Jiangsu. Unlike the popular Long Ching (龙井 from Zhejiang), this tea has a refreshing and light taste. Anyway, Japanese green tea tends to be greener and has a grassy after-taste while green tea from China, being pan-fried tends to have an stronger fragrance.

Tea for 2

For non-drinker like me, I have decided on one of the tea blends available at TWG. The White House Tea ($10.50++) has a strong floral aroma but light in taste. Comparing with the Pi Lo Chun, this white tea blend has a slight sweetness and sourish while the former has a "cleaner" and slight bitterish taste. Due to its low degree of oxidation, green tea and white tea are generally low in caffeine.

For black tea lovers, one would not want to missed out Darjeeling; the unique aroma is due to the cultivation of tea at a cool environment of the hilly areas of Darjeeling district. Although the degree of oxidation correlates with the caffeine content, the South African red tea contains zero caffeine, despite it being 100% oxidized. What is more surprising is that this bush-like plant is only found in a small region of South Africa. Anyway for a brief introduction to tea and caffeine, Marigold gave a pretty nice and concise piece of information on my previous entry.

What surprises us is that Kwai Flower (Osmanthus, 桂花) is actually a type of Oolong (blue tea) from Fujian and a Chinese tea drinker like my dad was attracted by the green, rolled up tea leaves. Anyway, Kwai Flower Superior is priced at $17.25 nett for every 50gm. Also, expensive tea leaves tends to be more consistent and in TWG's context, a good tea is dependent on the age of the shoots. Apparently, the presence of the tip of the bud is a sign of quality since only the youngest shoots are used for the finest teas, thus determining the quality and the price of the tea. For instance, Yin Zhen (白毫银针, white tea) consists of tea buds thus is expensive ($45 nett per 50gm) while Pai Mu Tan (白牡丹), which contains two leaves and a bud proportion, is a cheaper alternative of Fujian's white tea ($8.25 nett per 50gm).


Of course, I couldn't resist the desserts at TWG and since I can't decide which tart to have, I settled with both the strawberry tart and raspberry tart (each at $8.50++). The raspberry tart, generously topped with whole raspberries look lovely in its presentation. Sitting on the base is a layer of raspberry jam which is a little sharp on the sour side, thereby overshadowing the rose tea infused in this dessert. The overall combination is light on the palate and has definitely impressed my daddy.

Raspberry tart

Strawberry tart, infused with Bourbon vanilla, strike the right chord for me. The pistachio paste has a similar texture to a peanut butter thereby has a rich nutty taste. In addition, the strength of vanilla is just right on the smooth pistachio paste, giving a nod to every bite.

Strawberry tart

Although the tea at TWG may be expensive to most, this might be due to a lack of understanding in which TWG is trying to deliver. In a way, they are not bringing in the most expensive tea but rather good quality tea leaves at an affordable price. Being a non tea-drinker, my satisfaction tipped towards the patisseries offered by the cafe but for a Chinese tea drinker like my dad, the information shared by the tea master and the consistency of the tea leaves prompt him to get a bag of tea leaves.

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
9 Raffles Place, #01 - 22
Republic Plaza
Singapore 048619
Tel: 6538 1837


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