Finally, I got the chance to chillax at the local franchise of the world-renowned luxury tea establishment, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique :)
Since the invasion of the Singapore-based brand two months ago, I’ve been longing for a bite from their wealth of tea-infused palates. I was thinking warm, rooibos-steeped crustaceans, jasmine-soaked fishes, sencha-based paellas, or the like, and the creative energy in my me just couldn’t stop wondering how these trendsetting tea gastronomers would incorporate aromatic teas into foodstuffs.
For me, there is no day I go by without tea, and those who personally know me would nod along. I’m like those crazy people who can’t live a day without coffee, just that it’s tea.
Until I’ve heard the existence of such a company that’s solely committed to tea culture, or otherwise known as The Wellness Group, the thought of a contemporary and scalable tea business, and its potential to nurture souls from cup to cup, have never crossed my mind. I just never thought that people can truly enjoy blissful cups of the mélanges the way I do in this day and age, when our daily lives are only getting more fast-paced.
“Talking about the raw products to a level where people would walk into the shop and be inspired by it – that’s what I love,” told TWG Tea co-founder and communications director Maranda Barnes to HighEnd, who switched her vocation early in life from the perfume industry to tea. Together with TWG Tea president, co-founder, and husband Taha Bouqdib, blending fragrant products into exclusive concoctions has certainly evolved into a lifelong passion, “and I believe that the best teas deserve to have better notes.”
With restaurants all over Jakarta offering long lists of fast-breaking dishes throughout Ramadan this month, TWG Tea came up its own to a bare minimum, just to keep the patrons up with the endless choices (some 1,000 different tea varieties!) on its tea menu.
Promptly after the waiter walked away with our orders, we’ve got another one walking to our table serving this delightful starter: A Matcha macaron and a Medjooli date.
This is actually the first time I enjoy macarons. Usually, contemporary confectioners really miss the extra attention when flavoring the ganaches, and the bulky meringues normally just taste like a big, schmaltzy snowball of pure sugar. I guess for this one, it’s softer than the usual crustier fare I’ve tasted elsewhere, and the mild bitterness of Matcha powder really balances out all that dry, saccharine taste.
As for the main course, 10 opted for one from the special Ramadan list: a warm bowl Lemon Bush Tea-infused oxtail soup over jasmine rice and melinjo crackers.
The Indonesian classic tasted much milder than the brinier ones I’ve always had, and there’s a sort of herby quality to the soup that I like. 10 matched the simple traditional dish with a popular choice of green tea in the house, the Sakura! Sakura Tea. I could smell fresh notes of cherry blossoms rising up to my nose as I guzzles on the freshness. It was an elegant cup indeed, a sweet feature on my plate of little jellies.
The Foie Gras Terrine, surrounded by beautiful radish cuts and Sakura! Sakura! Tea-infused jellies, is one of the signature dishes on the main menu. Served with freshly toasted brioche on the side, the bitter, buttery duck foie gras went perfectly with my sheer blend of white tea, the Longevity Tea. I love how everything on my dish, from the vinegary garden salad to the umami liver, tasted delicate yet giving off piquant subtleties to the tongue in squashy consistencies. The only thing I’d like is a smoother texture to the foie gras itself, as it was quite firm to cut and spread on the toast.
After filling our bellies with these heartwarming dishes, we browsed shelves upon shelves of vthe ibrant canisters on display. Partitioned with a middle row of packaged loose-leaf teas, half of the entire 147-sq meter boutique, which boasts the impressive rotating tea wall, piles tins, cups, and other accessories to stock for your at-home sessions of nirvana, whereas the other half occupies the cozy restaurant-slash-cafe. Large, numbered yellow tins, each containing real tea leaves you can grab per 50g by the way, surround its perimeters on rows of wooden ledges that bring interiors of an old-fashioned Chinese tea shop to mind.
“Most people think all these tins are empty, but every one of them are fully stocked,” said store manager Yann le Touche during my visit, and have kindly taken a comprehensive tour of their artisan white tea blends to tend my evenings. Apparently, white teas are great for night owls like myself, thanks for its ample antioxidants, its soothing effects, and its milder caffeine content. Because white teas are the only unfermented and the least oxidized variant of the tea plant camellia sinensis, they have been clinically shown to contain the most potent anticancer properties while boosting the immune system, not to mention that it’s gentler in taste than green teas, black teas, and other kinds of tea that ensures a good night’s sleep.
To that, I got myself my favorite fragrance of their numerous blends of white tea, which were all freshly collected and preserved from the platantions at Yin Zhen, as well as another 50g sachet of jasmine leaves that smells like crisp autumn in China.
A Chinese proverb once said: “Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.”
As an everyday tea guzzler myself, I look forward to trying out every blend (yes, every. single. one.) in the boatload of TWG’s tea menu. N6172 White Happy Tea? Check. N4003 Jasmine Pearls Tea? Check. I brought home the full list so that I can easily check off the ones I’ve tried.
Why am I crazy? Because a cup can bring medication and meditation at once. A cup calms the troubled minds.
So go on. Help yourself with a cup of tea.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8
Level 1 Unit 109A
Jakarta Selatan 10270
(021) 572 5276
M-S 10:00am – 10:00pm