If there are two words I associate with the TWG brand, it’s quality and sophistication. They become apparent the moment you step into any of their boutiques. Everything is set up to give a feel of exquisiteness, reiterating the fact that the experience of TWG has to satisfy absolutely all the senses.
Immediately you catch sight of their attention to detail when you see the interior design as it leads to an ambiance perfect for an afternoon of tea, macarons, and long conversations. The way all their teas are arranged so neatly would make any OC person cry with joy.
Oh and don’t get me started on their macarons!
But the crowning glory of TWG has always been their selection of teas. The sheer amount of it makes my head spin. All these yellow tins and bottles lining the wall behind the counters in the boutique are all different kinds of teas that can make real tea lovers react with glee.
But TWG’s quality teas are not just for drinking; they also infuse it into their macarons, ice cream, and now they’ve made some iced tea blends to help us Manila folk survive this massive heat wave.
The afternoon they launched these teas was coincidentally perhaps one of the hottest days of the year. At 41°C, it seemed like even the weather was cooperating to prove to us just how refreshing these new TWG Iced Teas are.
TWG or The Wellbeing Group from Singapore is known for having the largest tea collection in the world. Every time I go to any of their stores, I peruse their collection of blended teas; every can or tin an eye-catching type of packaging with a fun name. I try to appreciate the scent of as many as I can, and honestly it’s quite hard to pick which one to take home.
If you have a good appreciation for beautifully packaged goodies, then this place will be a haven for you, but it MIGHT cause you to spend lots. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Here’s a little something I’m thinking about buying on my next trip. Being a sucker for Earl Grey and chocolate, this feels like I’m staring right into my personal kryptonite. Oh how amazing this must smell! As a person who drinks a cup of tea almost every night, I can definitely imagine this on my bedside during nights that are special. (Aka nights when I’m particularly happy or particularly sad hehe!)
As I was making my way around the boutique looking through every tea blend they had, it suddenly dawned on me that it doesn’t come as a surprise that TWG finally decided to launch an iced tea collection. They not only have the capacity to create blends perfect for that purpose; considering TWG originated from Singapore, which in itself is another perennially hot country, iced tea just fits.
The event proper began with popular TV host Ms. Issa Litton giving us a brief background on this new collection of TWG Iced Teas, followed by a short speech by Mr. Michael Huang of SSI, which is the company that brought TWG to Manila.
Soon enough, the boxed teas were actually paraded in by some models, with the waiters following suit carrying trays of the actual iced tea for us to try.
There are a total of 15 Iced Teas in the collection so far, and you can find them on the TWG site, but let me give you a walk through of all the flavours I spotted on display as well.
Oh, before anything else, I just want to point out that the boxes are really pretty. They are sturdy keepsake boxes styled like drawers with a golden handle and all. Once you’ve used up all 7 bags of tea inside, you can keep the box for other purposes if you please.
So first, we have Tea Party Iced Tea, which is a mix of Black Tea and other sweet blends.
The 1837 Tea is TWG’s signature tea and this is the green tea version. Infused with dried fruits and flowers, this tea boasts a delicious aftertaste of red fruits and caramel. The Iced Tea collection also has the 1837 Black Tea version.
I always found mint flavoured teas to be quite polarizing. Many people refer to it as tasting like toothpaste, but personally I don’t mind mint. I didn’t get a chance to sample this particular Moroccan Mint Tea but apparently it has a “suave and strong Sahara mint” flavour.
Red Chai Tea might be another equally polarizing flavour, but personally I am a fan of chai even though at first I didn’t get it. Since then I’ve used it for desserts. The best thing about this bag of tea is its lovely red colour, a mixture of striking Indian spices that creates a bit of a warm sensation in the mouth. We got to sample this and we liked it a good deal.
The Caravan Tea is probably the one that struck me the least, mostly because it smelled plainly earthy and I guess I react more to fruit scents? It’s described as a China gunpowder green tea mysteriously blended with sweet mints and notes of citrus fruits.
Ah Sweet France Tea, the very aromatic and most flowery-smelling of the bunch. This tea is apparently the taste of France in a cup, combining green tea with exotic flowers and a touch of chamomile.
My favourite tea based on smell (and okay, because it’s Earl Grey too) is this French Earl Grey tea. It’s black tea delicately infused with citrus fruits, and though it’s not too clear in this photo there are bits of dried French blue cornflowers in there. The teas don’t just smell good they look pretty in the bag too. This is the one I took home with my gift bag because I really wanted to try it.
I also quite liked the scent of the Pomme Prestige Tea, for apples mixed with black tea creates quite the mesmerizing fragrance.
Jason took home the Alfonso Tea, which I’m glad he did because it’s in my top three favourite teas from this collection based on scent. And no wonder it smells so amazing; it’s primarily black tea and mango, with a light mix of other fruits and flowers.
The one I found really intriguing based on description is the Cocktail Hour Tea. They didn’t have any open teabags on display so I didn’t get to smell it, but it’s a mix of black and green tea, with notes of sweet sugar cane and rum. That’s quite the colourful mix of flavours. I should buy a box of this next time.
I’m in love with the word Darjeeling, and maybe I’ll be in love with this Iced Tea flavour too if I get a taste of it. Apparently it’s black tea which “sparkles in the mouth”, with notes of green mango and a delicious aroma reminiscent of lily of the valley. Green mango and lily of the valley in a tea!
The other flavours I failed to take photographs of are: Eternal Summer Tea (South Africa red tea embellished with rose blossoms, raw berries, and Tuscan peaches), Grand Jasmine Tea (China green tea and TWG Tea jasmine blossoms), and lastly the Pink Flamingo Tea (green tea with crimson hibiscus blossoms).
Now the thing that struck me the most with these teas is how they are packed. The teas are actually contained in these hand-sewn silk round bags that resemble the sun. There are no staplers or glues anywhere near the packaging, because these things can alter the actual taste of the tea.
And if you take a look into the bag you can see very clearly the quality of the tea leaves and other things mixed into the blend, just like with this bag of Sweet France Tea which is one of the most colourful blends. The new TWG Ice Teabag Collection is available in TWG Tea Boutiques worldwide, and here in Manila it retails at Php 2,595 per box of 7 teabags.
Perhaps by now you’ve noticed how each teabag is bigger than usual, because a bag can actually make a litre of tea. TWG even prepared a special carafe in eight different colours that can be used to get the perfect amount of water for each bag of tea from this collection.
Based on appearance you’d think these carafes are heavy pieces of glassware that is difficult to lift. But this is actually made of Plexiglass and is even lighter than my purse. These carafes retail for Php 6,295.
In the process of exploring this new collection of fine teas, I managed to sample two giant wine glasses of tea and Jason had three. The flavour that struck me most was the Red Chai Tea– aromatic with that distinct spicy flavour.
To keep our tummies happy as we went through the displays of tea in the boutique, the waiters brought out trays of hor d’oeuvres, with signature sandwiches and decorated mini cakes. These are the typical finger food you will find when you come here for an afternoon of high tea and chit chat.
Something else much appreciated during this heatwave are TWG’s tea-infused ice creams. Of course I ate that Earl Grey Fortune Ice Cream, and Jason had the tangy Silver Moon Tea Sorbet. I loved how glorious it smelled. I quite liked both ice creams to be honest, though there were other flavours we didn’t taste.
And did I mention there were trays of macarons too?
In my opinion, no visit to TWG would be complete without their macarons, and TWG was kind enough to have an “open macaron bar” for us for the afternoon. I love TWG macarons for not being too sweet, because they have mastered the art of pairing their tea infused shells with the right tea-infused filling.
Say hi to the macaron addict! My brother Jason, ladies and gentlemen. He ate a lot of macarons. 🙂
I thought I’d do a little round-up of the macarons we (mostly he) ate this afternoon, and which ones are our faves:
Grand Wedding Macarons. The perennial winner thanks to its tart passionfruit filling which just balances out nicely the sweetness of the macaron shells. Highly recommended!
Earl Grey Fortune & Chocolate for all my fellow Earl Grey lovers.
Another of my addictions is matcha, thus I loved these full-on Matcha Macarons. These were just wonderful.
Brothers Club Tea & Salted Caramel Macarons. As a general rule, you can never go wrong with salted caramel! Plus just look at that colour combination. The lighter shell actually has some edible glitter on it!
We took home a box of macarons for obvious reasons. And because the teas we were gifted needed some sweet accompaniment! It’s Php 550 for a box of 12. 🙂
Well I hope all the tea talk up there has gotten you excited to try out these new Iced Teas! Prep yourself with a fan and a cold cup because I get the feeling this summer will be stretching out for a little while.
Before I go, I just want to say a big thanks to TWG and the staff for a wonderful afternoon!
Armed with such luxurious iced tea to stay fresh in this heat, guess we couldn’t help but say ‘Cheers!’