How do you like your tea? With milk and sugar, or without? Black, green, white, or yellow perhaps? Well whichever way you drink it, having a cup of tea is always a great idea. And just recently, my favorite The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) had a special surprise for tea lovers like me. David De Candia, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Senior Director for Tea revealed his latest creation specially crafted exclusively for us Filipinos — The Paradise Blend.
Discover Tea with The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
The internationally renowned tea specialist, David De Candia, arrived in Manila for a series of workshops entitled “Discover Tea.” The first of which was held last August 9 at the Burgos Circle branch of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Philippines. Starting with an insightful discussion on tea, we were treated to different activities meant to help us jumpstart the journey into the exciting world of tea.
The Art of Blending by David De Candia
Throughout his career, De Candia has gained numerous recognitions and awards for his mastery of the craft. In fact, he was appointed by- no less than the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka- as the Ambassador of Ceylon Tea for North America and Canada. But for the 21 years that he’s been with The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, he has created hundreds of signature blends that are now enjoyed worldwide. He is currently the resident Tea Master, Buyer and Blender of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
In his talk, De Candia defined the technicalities of tea. He briefly explained to us how tea is sourced, prepared, and best enjoyed. And if there’s one thing that I applaud The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf most is their commitment to quality.
To ensure CBTL’s tea blends are perfectly crafted from leaf to cup, De Candia only works directly with tea growers. Growers that use only sustainably grown teas that are hand-plucked and hand-processed. These can range from growers De Candia met in his Travels. Down to private, family-owned tea estates in 10 countries all over the world. Like the ones found in Taiwan, China, or even those I saw in Sri Lanka.
“We’ve tried the best that we can to elevate the importance of a direct source relationship at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. When we’re dealing with grower-direct relationships, we can create a product to be exactly what we want. And it’s not just about price, it’s not just about availability. It’s about creating something that nobody else has,” David adds.
Tea Pairing Activity
Love afternoon high teas? Well we had one like that as well! With David De Candia, nonetheless. In between the tea briefing by their friendly baristas, we were all treated to a special Tea Pairing activity.
Well, I’ve always known that tea goes well with cookies, cakes, and whatnot. What I didn’t know was that there’s actually an Art of Tea Pairing. How intriguing, right?
We were each given a tea pairing station by The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that afternoon. The deal? Three specific tea kinds for three specific kinds of pastries. First was the classic English Breakfast paired with the Banana Chocolate Cupcake. Followed by the Moroccan Mint and Guiltless Chocolate Cake. And lastly, the new Paradise Blend paired with White Chocolate Berry Cheesecake.
I actually enjoyed all pairings as they each offered unique flavor combinations. First pair was so classic and straightforward. The second one had a good balance of refreshing taste by the mint, coupled by the bittersweet flavor of the cake. It even occurred to me and Marylove that there’s actually a coconut aftertaste between the tea and cake.
The third pair, however, was the perfect combination I was waiting for. On one hand, the Paradise Blend Tea was fruity, aromatic, and sweet. This went well with the creamy, sweet-sour taste of the cheesecake. Delicious! Will definitely need to visit The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf more often now!
Trivia 1: Did you know different tea kinds call for different steeping times? In this case, the Moroccan Mint Tea only needed 4 minutes to be brewed. While the other two clocked in at 7 each.
Tip 1: The English Breakfast can go well with any pastry because of its strong and full taste.
Create Your Own Tea Blend
To conclude the afternoon, we were also able to experience the actual art of tea blending. Using the #DiscoverTea bar prepared by CBTL, each table was tasked to create our own tea blends. The blend included a black tea base, then a choice of fruit for flavor and flower for color and aroma. All blends were tasted by De Candia himself and were judged according to taste potential. Sadly we did not win but we sure did have fun creating those blends!
Paradise Blend: An Exclusive Blend for the Philippines
A perfectionist of sorts, De Candia is in charge for making sure only the finest teas are served at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. A testament to this is his first blend, the Chai is a mix of 14 different herbs, spices, and ingredients. It’s and one of the bestselling teas of CBTL which took 8 months to develop. In a similar fashion had him craft the Paradise Blend. An herbal tea infusion he specifically created with the Filipino taste in mind.
Trivia 2: Getting that perfect tea blend does not happen in an instant or even overnight. It can take days, weeks, or even months. The Paradise Blend, in fact, even took 6 months in the making to perfect!
The Paradise Blend is a fruity infusion of Philippine tropical fruits, mango, orange, and carrots with Rooibos tea as its base, and notes of apple and citrus. When asked about his inspiration for the tea, De Candia says, “Our Philippine partners from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf sent me different ingredients from their country. From there, I got the inspiration to make this blend.”
Paradise Blend is definitely a refreshing take on tea that can be either enjoyed hot or cold. It’s currently available in all The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores nationwide.
Steeped in Passion
As he continues to pursue his passion for tea, De Candia encourages people to discover more about tea. Yes, even in a country where coffee often trumps as the beverage of choice. Resting his case for choosing this drink, he emphasized that a fresh brew can easily heighten one’s senses and improve overall wellness.
Lastly, the Tea Master took the chance to remind everyone that this is just a beginning. As The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf will carry on their long-held passion for going way deeper than the bottom of the cup to serve the best and the finest teas in the world.
To jumpstart your journey to the world of tea, go to www.coffeebean.com.ph/. Or visit The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Philippines) on Facebook and @cbtlph on Instagram. That’s it, TEA you soon! #DiscoverTea #CBTLph
About the Brand:
Born and brewed in Southern California since 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® has always been passionate about connecting loyal customers with carefully handcrafted products. Now, nearly fifty years later, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® has grown into one of the largest privately-owned, family-run coffee and tea companies in the world.
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