Here to launch Twinings’ new Pyramid Infusers collection, was Stephen Twining, 10th generation Twining. I had the pleasure of Stephen’s company over morning tea.
The new range takes the boutique loose leaf tea experience in-home, with Twinings adopting silk-like pyramid infuser tea bags that have been specially designed to allow the leaves freedom to circulate and infuse. The new collection includes five refined blends: Fragrant Green Jasmine, Brisk English Morning, Vintage Earl Grey, Honeycomb Camomile Buds and Cottage Mint Leaves.
I start with the Vintage Earl Grey. What makes it ‘vintage’ is the unique addition of lavender in the bergamot blend; it offers a more rounded and uplifting note. Stephen points out that there’s a growing trend towards vintage, which makes this tea very contemporary. So here I was, sipping a cup of vintage earl grey, wearing my vintage navy dress (which I picked up from Fleur Wood’s studio sale) and my vintage American hand-cut diamond engagement ring (one of the stunning pieces hand-picked by Brisbane jeweller, Lannah Dunn). I’m evidence I assure him – I adore the romance of vintage keepsakes and trinkets, and the timeless glamour of a vintage dress.
While tea is very much a personal choice, there is definitely a right and wrong way of making the perfect cuppa. A common mistake we make, is to eat with our eyes and assume that colour equals to flavour, says Stephen. Smaller tea bags require 2½ – 3 minutes for a proper full flavoured infusion. The tea in these new pyramid infusers aren’t cut up as finely, so they need a little bit longer. Making the perfect cup of tea is serious business and Stephen regularly checks his watch as we wait for the second pot of tea so I could try the new indulgent Brisk English Morning.
I also learn that the British way to serve tea is to first add milk into the cup. Why? This takes us back to history where once upon a time, imitation fine china teacups would crack as soon as hot tea touched its surface. Milk was added first to act as a barrier to moderate the temperature of the tea and to prevent it from staining. Of course manufacturers have improved their standards since, and quality fine china is now much more accessible, making this step less critical, but being the classic British gentleman that Stephen is, he explains it is part habit and part a nod to Twinings’ rich history to add milk first. Although he would only do that if the tea was being served from a teapot, as adding milk-first to a mug brew would otherwise affect the temperature of the water, taming the release of the teabag’s flavour.
But if Twinings has been around for 300 years, why has the loose leaf tea trend only surfaced now? Stephen says hot beverage customers are on a journey of rediscovery. Thanks to the coffee industry, we’re all a lot more educated about the unique properties of single origin beans and the coffee roasting process. If you apply the same knowledge to tea, tea drinks are ready to step up in the tea journey. We want better quality, premium teas.
The bags, despite a luxurious silky feel, are still biodegradable and every new blend seems to have an exciting appeal. I particularly love the effort gone into producing a velvety sweet camomile, where the petals are removed to reduce the bitterness and honeycomb added to complete the soothing touch.
Stephen is truly passionate about living and breathing tea. Not only has he been a brand ambassador for Twinings for 13 years, but he drinks 13 – 15 cups of tea a day! On a weekday, he says a cup of English Breakfast gets him going first thing. However, on the weekend, he switches it for a big pot of English Morning to provide a higher, wider experience. By mid-morning, he moves onto a cup of Ceylon orange pekoe or Darjeeling; after lunch it’s Lady Grey or Earl Grey; depending on his mood, sometimes he’ll then cool down with a green tea or warm up with a Russian Caravan – described by Stephen, as a big arm chair that wraps you. After dinner, it’s a cup of jasmine tea, peppermint or camomile. In fact, he loves tea so much so, that he jokes, “if you take the ‘t’ out of ‘Twining’, it’s true I would be ‘w(h)ining’”!
For a truly exquisite tea experience, Twinings Pyramid Infusers collection is available from Coles, Woolworths and leading retail outlets nationally for RRP $6.39. For more information, visit the official Twinings website.