When it comes to tea, there is no “right way” for the man in Dubai or the woman in Tokyo each have a preference, mostly influenced by their culture which is then the inspiration for TWG Tea. While the proposition of being a global luxury tea brand is consistent throughout the world, Taha Bouqdib, President CEO Co-Founder says that each location exudes its own style and ambiance where some even expressing a preference for a specific TWG Tea location. It is also crucial to take the local market’s likes into consideration and that is why you will see a soft-shell crab Pad Thai in Thailand, braised lamb shank in spices served with fragrant rice in Indonesia, to a delectable oven-roasted pork belly with braised sauerkraut in China. The kitchen setup and menu for each location is first conceived by COO Rith Aum- Stievenard and Executive Patisserie Chef Philippe Langlois after making observations to the eating culture of the area. TWG Tea has central kitchens, patisseries, ice-cream and chocolate laboratories are set up around the world to deliver the consistent experience to its customers.
There has never been any rush to expand the TWG Tea brand since its first Tea Salon & Boutique in August 2008 at Republic Plaza in Singapore. Instead, Bouqdib, together with Maranda Barnes and Rith Aum-Stievenard took time to craft each space, down to selecting materials and creating unique products. For example, Bouqdib introduced his first creation, the Silver Moon Tea as an accompaniment to the rich mooncakes consumed during the mid-autumn festival, which led to more signature tea blends. With a desire to purvey tea drinking as a lifestyle, TWG Tea is designed to appeal across the board of tea drinkers with different interests and purchasing power. It believes that everyone should be able to enjoy a cup of quality tea – from a RM 21 per pot Singapore Breakfast Tea to a RM 423.50 per pot Yellow Gold Tea Buds.
The collection is constantly updated as Bouqdib is tireless in sourcing and innovating teas by observing the evolution in customers’ preferences and he has recently noticed a growing request for fine harvest teas, sourced from exotic locations such as Argentina, New Zealand, Hawaii or Malawi. TWG Tea makes no restrictions on the time of High Tea as it believes that the beverage is for all times. Hence, a menu of breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are available with tea woven into every aspect of the meal. Tea pairing is both art and science and the gastronomy team is trained to respect the delicacy of tea and aim to conceptualise cuisines that accentuates the subtle flavours of each tea. Continuous research in the TWG Tea lab has put forth a myriad of techniques to incorporate tea into food such as blending, infusing, powdering, smoking, marinating, blanching, seasoning or even pickling our ingredients with tea. Bouqdib illustrates that smoky tea (Imperial Lapsang Souchong) works extremely well with savoury dishes and meat while Earl Grey variants are perfect accomopaniments to chocolate pastries. “It boils down to finding that perfect harmony between the sweet, savoury, smoky, spicy and umami notes in tea as in our cuisines,” he said.