Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Tea Master, David De Candia, visited Manila just recently for A Day with the Tea Master, an event where tea lovers and enthusiasts get to meet and learn from De Candia himself everything that they need to know about tea and blending them for the perfect flavor.
De Candia has been in the industry for more than 15 years now, and he has been the mind behind most – if not all – of our favorite tea drinks from CBTL. He even traveled from one country to another, to find the best kinds of tea out there.
We had the opportunity to attend the workshop and sit down with the Tea Master himself! Here are 5 things we learned about tea from him:
1. CBTL sources their tea leaf from the local growers themselves.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has different kinds of teas available – from green tea to black tea to herbal infusions. And to make sure that tea drinkers enjoy what they're getting, CBTL chooses to search for the place which produces the best kinds of tea and directly sources the ingredients from the local growers. "I believe that you have quality and traceability that way. You know where they're coming from," De Candia explained.
CBTL sources their tea from different places. Their green teas are from different parts of Japan and China, while their black teas are sourced from Sri Lanka, Darjeeling, and Thailand.
2. The steeping time differs from every kind of tea.
For the best flavors of tea to come out, it's important that you know which kind of tea you'll be using and how long you should be steeping it. Green teas are steeped for 3 minutes, Black and Oolong Teas are steeped for 5 minutes, and Herbal and fruit infusions are steeped longer, for 7 minutes.
If you're the kind who wants your tea stronger, CBTL recommends for you to add more leaves, instead of letting the tea bag steep longer which can result to a more bitter drink.
3. The water used in steeping matters.
Just as how it's important for tea to be steeped correctly, the kind of water used in steeping is also important. According to De Candia, always remember to "use good water, good quality tea. Never microwave your water." It's also best to use bottled or filtered water and to make sure that the water is boiled to the right temperature, for the best flavors of the tea to come out.
4. Pastries should complement the flavors of the tea they're paired with.
A good cup of tea is also best enjoyed with a pastry that complements it well. For the event, we were served a banana muffin to go with their English Breakfast Tea, a dark chocolate mousse cake which is paired with their Moroccan Mint Tea, and a slice of blueberry cheesecake whose fruitiness goes with the sweet and fruity flavor of the Paradise Blend.
As for the tea masters tea and pastry preference? "I like black tea with chocolate because there are elements of black tea that sink in well with chocolate. A good dark chocolate with English Breakfast [tea] is really nice."
5. CBTL's newest tea blend is infused with local flavors.
At the event, they also introduced their newest, Paradise Blend. It's a blend De Candia specifically made for CBTL Philippines, and it's made with local ingredients like mango, orange, carrots, and Rooibos tea, which results into a delectable and fruity drink. It's also decaffeinated and is available iced, making it a perfect refreshment for when it's just too hot outside.