As mentioned before, I’m a bit of a Christmas Grinch. However, I’m always excited about new tea spaces (even if temporary), so when a long lost friend whom I haven’t spoken to for 15 years contacted me out of the blue to tell me that he was helping Twinings put together a pop-up Christmas store in Singapore, I was more than happy to check it out.
During its launch, a Twinings’ Tea Master from Thailand conducted a cosy tasting session of its classic and specialty Christmas blends. His name is Khun Theerasak Phangmuangdee (or Dew for short). He is gentle, friendly and very professional and I learned quite a bit about tea cupping from him. For example, do you know that when it comes to tasting the tea, you only add 2.5g/cup for consumers but 5g/cup for the suppliers/distributors so they can truly get the flavours of the tea?
Here are the loose teas I sampled:
- Gunpowder Green Tea: I’d say that this is a pretty good tea (sweet and grassy), even for “Chinese Chinatown tea standards”. I’ll keep you posted as to what my tea teacher says about this
- Vintage Darjeeling: Lovely muscat notes and a gorgeous golden colour.
- Prince of Whales: A velvety blend of Chinese black teas including Keemun – for me, I needed the 5g version of the tea to really get its earthy, smoky notes.
- The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Blend: A cross-cultural blend of 2nd flush Assam and Yunnan black tea. I am absolutely in love with its pastel tin packaging.
- Lady Grey: I really love this – it’s a lighter, more citrusy version of Early Grey. What’s really interesting is that the black tea base is from Anhui Province (as opposed to the stronger Assam black tea); making this a perfect drink for afternoon tea.
- Christmas Tea: Malty Assam with cinnamon and clove – spicy punch! I’d think it’d go well with some condensed milk.
This specialty store is the perfect place to pop by after frantic Christmas shopping at Orchard Road. Trained Twinings Tea Ambassadors will be more than happy to let you sample their blends and you could pick up some gifts at the same time. Also, for those of you who have been hunting high and low for quaint tea boxes (I’ve had a few queries on this of late), you’ll find that some of their gift sets come in these gorgeous wooden boxes with a soft velvet inner lining.
Twinings is also organising a Facebook photo contest for visitors to this festive pop-up tea store – just snap some pictures at the House of Twinings and upload your photos here and you stand to win a trip to Bangkok for two and have tea at the new Twinings Tea Boutique there (where apparently, Dew and his other tea master colleague will even be able to make bespoke tea blends for you)!
House of Twinings Tea Parlour
Just in front of Mandarin Gallery (333A Orchard Road)
Opening hours: 12pm – 8pm (till 26 Dec 2012)