Four Festive Teas

xmastea

Christmas celebrations really do get hardcore don’t they? As you might know, I’m more or less a Christmas grinch but I tried to minimise aggravation this year by buying Christmas presents a month in advance so I would avoid all the crazy crowds that have me in a tizzy.

Nevertheless, hustle and bustle cannot be avoided and that’s where soothing tea comes in. And even though I hardly ever update this poor little tea blog, I received a bounty of fun festive teas from Tea Traders Company and Lupicia to bring cheer this claustrophobic season. Their sweet generosity even got me to create a Christmas greeting banner on this blog (SO not me), which goes to show how good vibes can neutralise even the grumpiest of people.

Here are my four favourite tea blends this festive season (L-R) which will make lovely gifts and/or post-feast hot beverage:

CAROL (Limited Edition by Lupicia): Black tea with strawberry, vanilla, rose petals and coconut flakes. Recommended to be drunk with milk but I had it “kosong” and was surprised how the coconut flavour gives the tea this lovely creaminess to it. Of course it also smells like something I wish I had as a moisturising cream.

DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT (Art of Tea – a lovely new range of subtly-blended, organic teas that Tea Traders Co has just brought in). I’m generally very wary of chocolate-flavoured teas. It’s kind of like how I think coffee-flavoured teas are pointless. But this pu-erh blend really works, mostly because there’s no fake cloying sweetness. Just hints of cocoa notes that go so well with the earthy tea base and a lovely peppermint tang at the end. Pu-erh puritans – you just might find this a delight.

MANDARIN SILK (Art of Tea): A sure crowd-pleaser to go with Christmas fruit cake. This blend was the winner of the Best Flavoured Oolong at the World Tea Expo, Specialty Tea Institute and Tea Association of America. I like its citrus notes combining with the floral oolong though I did find the vanilla a bit strong. I’m definitely saving some of this for Chinese New Year.

JINGLE BELLS (Lupicia): Enough of the bubbly champagne? This black tea with cranberry makes a lovely, low-sugar substitute. The tea is a light black tea, which brings out the “grapiness” of this blend really well. Lupicia, being a Japanese brand, absolutely nails that grape flavouring and aroma really well without being too cloying or fake and I really could just stick my nose in a cup of Jingle Bells for a really long time. I’m thinking of cold-brewing it and adding some rock sugar syrup and frozen halved grapes for an upcoming gathering. Will tell you how that goes!

The best thing about all these teas? They can be bought online (click on the links) and delivered right to your doorstep.

Jap Tea Brand Lupicia in Singapore

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Image courtesy of Sarafine Concepts Asia

It has been a hard week for all of us here in Singapore with the haze situation. On a personal front, my childhood asthma sneakily returned with the surge of air pollutants, and my baby boy is down with a fever that we’re hoping very hard is not dengue (there’s a dengue epidemic happening concurrently, and at this point, we’re just waiting it out before tests can be done).

However, the one pleasant reprieve I did get this week was checking out the new LUPICIA store in Singapore. I first got to know about this Japanese tea brand when I went for the World O-Cha Festival three years ago, and I remember its pretty booth filled with pretty metal tea canisters.

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Image courtesy of Sarafine Concepts Asia

I later found out that LUPICIA is not just about its charming packaging, but also emphasises on fresh, high-quality teas that are processed and packaged in Japan. It is an immensely successful tea retail brand with over 100 stores in Japan, U.S.A, Taiwan, Australia and now Singapore (its first outlet in Southeast Asia).

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During the media launch, I got an intimate preview of the LUPICIA experience, which is all about the discovering new ways to prepare and enjoy tea. There were different stations with themes such as Japanese, Picnic, English Tea and Chai that presented a wide spectrum of tea types, cultures, preparation methods and pairings. In general, I prefer their unflavoured teas such as Darjeeling The First Flush and the Sencha “Chiran”, but I must say that their fruity teas are quite lovely such as Grapefruit Green and Momo Ooolong Super Grade. They also sell related tea products such as chai spices and tea-flavoured honey.

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But I guess what really got me excited was the affordable teaware that LUPICIA is retailing. I already know what I’ll be shopping for in the future – their adorable tea tasting ceramic cups and matcha accessories! I also really dig their “Original Handy Cooler” (above image, bottom left) – which I used today to cold brew some Sencha “Matsuri” for my husband after reading about how green tea might help alleviate the effects of haze (he finds it “too troublesome” to drink hot tea :P). Disclaimer: Green tea is not a cure-all. But psychologically, I just feel better giving loved ones something green-looking to drink during these smoggy days. Just blame the haze for this hazy rationale.

I’m really glad a tea brand such as LUPICIA has decided to set up a store here in Singapore – it fills in the gap for “mid-range tea drinkers”  (prices start from S$8 for a bag of 50g loose leaf tea or packet of 10 teabags) who might not be willing to part with hundreds of dollars for tea leaves or teaware, but want to take their tea journey to the next level. At the same time, there’s also plenty for the “fun tea drinker” who loves fruity and herbal blends (they even have a barley range that I want to try soon) and exclusive seasonal, single estate offerings for “serious tea drinkers”.

So no matter what kind of tea drinker you are, I reckon you’ll enjoy exploring the LUPICIA store – and there couldn’t be a better time to stock up on tea than now, when we’re all encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

In the meantime, keep healthy and happy fellow peeps in Singapore!

LUPICIA Singapore
#B1-12 Great World City
1 Kim Seng Promenade
Singapore 237994
Tel: 6737 0334

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LUPICIASG

Open daily from 10am- 10pm