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Category / Tea

On the 15th of December, I was invited to a tea appreciation day hosted by Dilmah Tea at Sheraton PJ, and little did I know that the date coincide with International Tea Day, a day that has been celebrated since 2005 in tea producing countries.

Dilmah Tea Appreciation at Sheraton PJ
Dilmah Tea Appreciation at Sheraton PJ

For the Tea Appreciation session, Dilmah brought in Sensory Evaluation consultant and Oenologist Edwin Soon to share with us the origin of tea and the science of flavors behind it.

Oenologist Edwin Soon explaining the history of tea
Oenologist Edwin Soon explaining the history of tea

To be perfectly honest, I did not know that the different types of tea – Black, Green, Oolong, and White tea were all made from the same Camellia sinensis plant. The difference is in how the tea leaves are cured.

Basically they are as follow:

  • White: wilted and unoxidized;
  • Green: unwilted and unoxidized;
  • Oolong: wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized;
  • Black: wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized

Dilmah Tea and food pairing
Dilmah Tea and food pairing

Well, there are indeed other plants that we make tea from, but those will be in the category of herbal tea or flower tea, proper tea all from the same species of plant.

Additionally, tea plants at different elevation and climate will also produce leave that different flavors, with many high quality tea plants being cultivated up to 1,500 m above sea level.

who doesn't love a proper Hi Tea?
who doesn’t love a proper Hi Tea?

For the afternoon tea pairing session, we started off with lamb curry puffs paired with Dilmah The Original Earl Grey, most quintessential British tea in contrast to the local, slightly spicy flavor.

Then it was salmon maki roll with Green Tea Jasmine Flower, a fitting companion many of us are familiar with. We then also had a Hi-tea set with Ratatouille turnovers, spinach and cheese quiche, and smoked salmon canapes.

Miss World Malaysia Thanuja Ananthan was sharing the same table
Miss World Malaysia Thanuja Ananthan was sharing the same table

For sweets, we had pandan sweet pancakes with corn custard, together with Pure Chamomile Flowers, a tea that does not have any caffeine and perfect for late night. We then finished off with chocolate brownie paired with Moroccan Mint Green Tea.

Overall, it was a lovely afternoon well spent, and we (with Sharon & Wilson) got to share the same table as former Miss World Malaysia Thanuja Ananthan (did not find out who she was until more than half way through), lovely person with energetic personality!

This was also the second time I attended a Dilmah event, first being way back in 2013!

A couple weekends ago after I got back from my weekly mountain biking exercise, Haze proclaimed that we should go to Janda Baik. Off the 2 wheeler with meat powerplant, and on with the Aprilia that consumes prehistoric dead animals as fuel.

sometimes a short half a day retreat works wonder
sometimes a short half a day retreat works wonder

From KL to Tanahrima in Janda Baik is only some 30+ kilometers, but it may as well be a different country. Fresh air, tall pine trees, and those chirping insects make for an awesome relaxing environment. Wouldn’t it be great to have my mountain bike there…

4 season dessert and sweet potato fries
4 season dessert and sweet potato fries

Tanarimah is a place that’s perfect for events such as wedding and team building activities. Additionally, there’s also a Purple Cane restaurant (yes, the same Purple Cane chain you can find in KL) attached there, a place perfect for a little afternoon tea.

The restaurant advocates healthy eating and has a menu full of pretty interesting dishes that are usually light on oil, sugar, or other spices that aren’t very good for you.

We had the “Spring” and “Autume” desserts, a sort of cross between jelly and kwai leng gou that carries a hint of the aroma from the seasons they represent, not overly sweet either, we really liked it.

Tanarimah at Janda Baik, love the tranquillity by the lake
Tanarimah at Janda Baik, love the tranquillity by the lake

The sweet potato fries was the titbit we ordered to cushion the stomach between lunch and dinner, and like other dishes here, it is light on salt and fried with a supposedly healthier selection of vegetable oil. It was a bit more like wedges than fries, but we liked its natural sweetness and the contrasting texture on the light batter.

Oh, and then there’s of course tea. Purple Cane is famous for their selection of Chinese tea and you can find them here as well.

If you’re up for a short excursion but want to avoid the crowd at Genting or Bukit Tinggi, this is a place to check out.

 

map to Tanarimah

Address:
Purple Cane
C1, Jalan Tanarimba Pine,
Tanarimba Janda Baik, Bukit Tinggi,
28750 Bentong, Pahang
GPS: 3.337791, 101.824897
Tel09-233 0349

 

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
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
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
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
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
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).

Address:
Le Meridien KL
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470

GPS: 3.135631, 101.686476
Tel: 03-2263 7753