I was invited by W Singapore to experience their refreshed W T Time Set with two exotic Dilmah Seasonal Flush Teas – the Craighead Estate Fine Silver Tips and the Opata Estate Flower Broken Orange Pekoe 1 (FBOP1). I’m already a big fan of W Singapore’s WooBar and Dilmah Teas so the pairing of my two favourite brands was simply divine.
I settled in comfortably at a window seat in with the lovely W Singapore pool and the Sentosa Cove marina in full view. It was a lovely day to relax an enjoy a good cup of gourmet tea.
The Director of Marketing at Dilmah, and son of Dilmah founder, Dilhan C. Fernado, graciously shared the intricacies of tea appreciation with us and went on to explain the process of harvesting and processing of these specialty teas.
For those of you who are not familiar with Dilmah Tea, they are a family-own Sri Lankan tea company which offers teas, grown, handpicked and traditionally made, directly from the origin. The family’s commitment to the traditional artisanal style of tea-making has endeared Dilmah to tea aficionados around the world.
The first tea that was introduced (and also my personal favourite of the two) is the Dilmah Seasonal Flush: Craighead Estate Fine Silver Tips. This tea is only produced globally in a limited quantity of 300 tins and a batch size of only 12Kg.
Nestled in the picturesque Nawalapitiya Region, 3,500 feet above sea level, Craighead Estate produces this rare and exceptional Silver Tips. It embodies springtime with its fragrant citrus, sweet fruit notes and offers tastes of honey, grapes, green apple and olive. Handpicked at 6.30am on 12th March 2014, the tea pickers wear delicate cotton gloves to protect the tea bud when picking. After sun drying and sorted by hand, they are tasted and graded to assess its strength, flavour, aroma and appearance. The whole process is completed on the same day to ensure the highest quality. Like the name suggests, the tea is silvery in appearance and yields a liquor that is magnificent among white teas.
The second tea up for tasting is Dilmah Seasonal Flush: Opata Estate FBOP1 (Flowery Broken Orange PEKOE1) that has a batch size of 50Kg and has a limited quantity of 600 tins for the global market.
This limited issue of FBOP1 Grade of tea is made using only the first dhool from the roller, capturing the enigma of the Peak Wilderness forest that borders the Opata Estate and the fleeting natural elements of the seasonal quality. Also harvested on 12th March 2014, the teapickers handpicked the tender fresh buds at 3.30pm. Handpicking allows Dilmah to ensure that only the two leaves and bud are harvested giving the best taste. By 7pm, the leaves go through a withering process to reduce the moisture content so that it will become pliant and can withstand rolling without breaking into flakes. The next morning, the rolling and fermentation process begins. Fermentation of the leaf allows the conversion of catechins to theaflavins and thearubigins, dimeric and polymeric compounds. These elements are mainly responsible for the taste, character and health benefits of black tea. Drying and Firing stops the fermentation and the teas is ready to be sorted into different grades.
This black tea was a favourite with Raphael and most of the guys there.
Next, we had Matthew Woolford, Director of Culinary, W Singapore and Brand Champion of Starwood Asia Pacific F&B Council to reveal the new tantalising treats that have been specially created for this collaboration with Dilmah Tea.
The new W T Time set is designed to integrate flavours from the limited edition teas into culinary recipes and introduce another whole new world of sensations and flavours to gourmands and tea connoisseurs when they dine at WooBar.
There is a distinct fusion of Asian influences in this tea set that can be seen through interesting combinations such as the Tikka Inspired Salmon on Mint and Spiced Poppadum as well as the Twice Cooked Hen’s Egg Mantou with Chilli Crab sauce. I do love that there were quite a few savoury selections to choose from and that the choices evolved beyond the simple sandwiches and scones of most tea time offerings.
Some of my personal favoured choices from the tea set includes the Torched Double Brie Pickled Cucumber Nigiri and the W Crones with Pastry Cream (Passion Fruit Butter, Marmalade, Strawberry and Black Berry Preserves) . My “To-Die-For” pick goes to the Bombolini Ball with Orange Pekoe Tea Infused Lemon Curd. Simply delicious!
The popular Chocolate Foie Gras Ganache Port Wine and Gold Leaf and nibbles like the Chocolate Crackle and Pop! can still be found in the new selection.
Those with the sweet tooth can look forward to treats such as the Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Cream and Nougat as well as the Almond Whoopie Cookie Sandwich. Don’t miss out on the Fresh Berry Trifle Shots that infuses the Silver Tip White Tea into the Jelly.
It was a gorgeous indulgent tea session at W Singapore and to add the icing on the cake, we were presented with W Singapore’s Pekoe Inspiration.
Instead of using the cold drip for coffee making, they run their specific blend of cocktail through a dripper. The liquid seeps through another layer of fresh herbs and citrus fruits before making its final contact with the fresh 1st flush pekoe leaves.
The final strain of the cold drip produces an infused liquid that is served in a chilled wine glass. The aromas of this infusion is strong yet not overpowering . The cold drip process allows the flavours to be naturally enhanced without altering the freshness of taste. Exquisite!
I had such a great tea session, I can’t wait to go back again with my girlfriends and fellow tea lovers.
The seasonal flush teas will be available at nine W Hotels in Asia Pacific : Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Koh Samui, Maldives, Seoul and Taipei. You may also purchase it on Dilmah’s online tea boutique.
Thanks to W Singapore and Dilmah Tea for the delectable tea gastronomy session and for the two personalised silver tin caddies that are numbered and signed by Dilmah Tea Taster, Gunasiri.
Thanks for reading!