Monday April 10, 2006
New ways of enjoying tea
By SALINA KHALID
MENTION tea to an average Malaysian, he will probably think of mamak teh tarik, loaded with sugar and condensed milk.
The thought may cause tea connoisseurs to frown.
“In fact, sugar and milk will corrupt the fine aromas and natural flavours of tea.
Exclusivitea is the authorised dealer of Ronnefeldt tea for Malaysia and Thailand.
Khor added that lemon and artificial sweeteners adulterate the taste, aroma and bouquet.
For those who prefer to have their cuppa sweet, use brown sugar.
This, however, will change the tea's flavour slightly because it has a caramel-like aroma. It is best added to the strong Assam tea.
“Condensed milk is absolutely taboo for tea connoisseurs,” she said.
She added that those who prefer to have milk in their tea could go for cream or fresh milk and they would go well with Assam tea.
Khor said the type of tea are determined by how the leaves are processed.
“Green tea is the least processed. These are simply steamed quickly before packaging.
“Black and red tea are partially dried, crushed and fermented,” she said.
She added that the fermentation period determines whether the tea will be red or black.
Khor said more people are turning to tea for its health-boosting properties.
“Recent research shows that any tea derived from camellia sinensis has cancer-fighting properties. The leaves of this plant contain chemicals called polyphenols, which give tea its antioxidant properties.”
Ronnefeldt, a German premium tea brand that is commonly associated with first-class hotels in Europe and throughout the world, is now available at Swiss-Garden Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
The tea is the newly-renovated Blue Chip Lounge's latest offering.
“We only use the two leaves and bud which are handpicked.
“The leaves are small and delicate at the first plucking in spring and the amount plucked in a day is small,” she said.
Khor added that on average, only 6,000 to 9,000 “shoots” comprising two leaves and a bud can be harvested in a day, which is just enough to make 1kg of black tea.
The amount could reach 24kg a day during the subsequent harvesting time.
She said the traditional method of tea processing is work intensive, time consuming and naturally more expensive.
The freshly plucked leaves are carefully processed in all phases. This is work-intensive, time-consuming and naturally more expensive.
“But it is the only way that all of the aroma and the typical character of the tea plants can be retained in the finished product,” she said.
The brand offers a wide range of black tea, flavoured black tea, herbal or fruit infusions and green tea.
For the pick-me-up drink, one can opt for the peppermint or camomile tea for those relaxing evening.
For something robust in taste and aroma, choose the Irish Malt, which has the aroma of Irish whiskey with a hint of cocoa blended with the strong taste of Assam tea.
For something different, try the Strawberry Kiwi Royal with a delicate fruit cocktail taste that is best taken chilled.
Patrons of the Blue Chip Lounge can also try new ways of enjoying tea. The hotel's chefs have concocted several dishes using Ronnefeldt tea as ingredients.
The menu includes Sencha Seafood Platter, Swiss Lemongrass Chicken Breast Salsa, Panfried Salmon with Orange Zest Oolong Tea, Rack of Lamb with Garlic Peppermint Rosemary Sauce, and Clear Fish Soup with Red Berries Tea, Fresh Ginger and Chilli.
“These exciting dishes go well with the Blue Chip Lounge sleek, modern and contemporary look,” said Swiss-Garden Hotel general manager Jerina Foong Chin.
She added that different types of materials and lighting are used to the lounge its new look.
“Timber is used to lend warmth and promote an inviting feel to the lobby area which is now more spacious and welcoming to guests,” she said.