While coffee culture is slowly gaining grounds in Malaysia, tea seems to be a bit lagging behind. Many of us usually only drink tea (proper tea in which you don’t need to add sugar) while having bak kut teh and dimsum, I’m certainly guilty of this behavior.
A couple weeks ago we were invited to a Dilmah tea event at Le Meridien to learn a little more about the art of tea drinking.
Dilmah tea event at Le Meridien KL
As a tea company, Dilmah is relatively young, the Sri Lakan Ceylon tea company was founded in 1974 and has seen pretty rapid expansion lately to the local market, especially in premium outlets such as high end hotels and restaurants. One of which is Le Meridien KL, our host for the day.
I’d love to have me a fancy tea pot too
The tea experts from Dilmah showed us how to brew a proper cup of tea. Never reboil the water, and only soaking the tea bags 2-3 minutes before tossing it off and start enjoying your tea. The habit of squeezing the tea bag with a spoon is also something you shouldn’t do. This is to ensure there isn’t any unwanted bitter taste to the beverage.
While temperature of 95-98 Celsius is good for most tea, green tea works best with water around 70 Celsius to allow the release of its delicate flavors. Needless to say, adding extra hot water to a tea bag that’s already used once is not something recommended here.
tea mixologist showing us how it’s done
For those who likes to be more funky with tea, the tea mixologist from Dilmah also showed us a few recipes in which tea is mixed with syrups to create stronger tasting (usually) cold beverages with tea flavor. To honest this would not ever be my way of enjoying premium tea, when I want syrup laden peach tea or something, I’ll have me a can of chilled St. Martin’s.
Using premium tea such as Dilmah for this purpose is a bit of a waste, it’s like wearing a tuxedo to fengtau disco outlets. I’m not saying the resulting drinks don’t taste good, I just think it is not appropriate.
tea paring with some sweet desserts, perfect combination
We then moved on to have a few types of Dilmah tea paired with sweet delicious pastries and chocolates from Le Meridien. If you’re looking for a hi-tea session with fantastic cakes, macaroons, and a good cup of tea, this is a perfect place to be.
Different tea goes well with different foods though, the smoky Lapsang Souchong would go well with savory food such as bak kut teh, while lighter tea such as Earl Grey is fantastic with pastries. Just like wine/food pairing, this is an art in itself.
Haze enjoying a cup of premium tea
We tried a few types of tea over the session and I find myself really liking these tea. We have a couple tins of Dilmah tea at home from the event and I think we’d have to get some when they run out (probably in a few weeks time).