Twin­ing drops in for a cuppa

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By SUE FEA

‘Tea any­one?’ took on a whole new mean­ing for guests at a Queen­stown ho­tel when a 10th gen­er­a­tion Bri­tish Twin­ing turned up, teapot in hand, ready to serve. Stephen Twin­ing, di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate re­la­tions for Twin­ings Tea in Lon­don, en­joyed a true English ‘High Tea’ at Dis­tinc­tion Queen­stown Nugget Point Ho­tel with staff and clients of Twin­ings New Zealand. His visit fol­lows another by the son of Dilmah founder Mer­ill J Re­nando, Dil­han Fer­nando. He at­tended a celebration mark­ing 25 years of the brand in New Zealand at Mill­brook in July. Mr Twin­ing trav­els the world pro­mot­ing the fam­ily’s hottest new teas and he’s well qual­i­fied . . . nat­u­rally, the man grew up around tea. ‘‘I didn’t be­come a reg­u­lar, se­ri­ous tea drinker un­til I was about 14 or 15. None of us had to join the com­pany if we didn’t want to. It was im­por­tant to have a pas­sion for tea, which I have.’’ He drinks be­tween 10 and 15 cups of tea a day typ­i­cally start­ing with an English Break­fast, or now the new­ly­launched As­sam Bold. A Darjeeling may suf­fice mid-morn­ing, fol­lowed by an Earl Grey or Lady Grey cuppa af­ter lunch. Herbal in­fu­sions were his af­ter-din­ner pref­er­ence. ‘‘It de­pends on the weather re­ally,’’ Mr Twin­ing said. Tea and the very Bri­tish ‘High Tea’ are mak­ing a come­back glob­ally, as tea, renowned for its an­tiox­i­dant health ben­e­fits, now com­petes with cof­fee on the world stage. ‘‘Cer­tainly in some coun­tries we are see­ing a re­vival, some­thing of a re­nais­sance of the High Tea and New Zealand is on that list.’’ The tra­di­tional High Tea turned on by Dis­tinc­tion Group ex­ec­u­tive chef Ken O’Con­nell two weeks ago, where Twin­ing was guest of hon­our, fea­tured scones, jam and cream, cup­cakes, pe­can slice and, of course, cu­cum­ber sand­wiches. ‘‘More peo­ple are start­ing to ex­plore the world of tea and cel­e­brate its dif­fer­ences.’’ Just like a good wine served in the right glass, tea has a ‘nose’, which is very im­por­tant to its flavour.

Photo: SUP­PLIED.

Taste for it: Stephen Twin­ing, of Twin­ings Tea in Lon­don, en­joys a good Kiwi cuppa.

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