WHAT'S IN YOUR TEA?
BEYOND THE FLAVORS, PEOPLE ARE TAKING INTEREST IN THE WHO, WHERE, AND WHYS OF TEA, AND THEIR FINDINGS ARE SURPRISINGLY JUST AS FLAVORFUL AS THEIR DRINKS
The da.u.de tsaa product line is a collection of premium and handcrafted teas inspired by Filipino heritage. One of the highlights this year was a partnership with MaArte to customize three tea blends for MaArTEA, The Peninsula Manila’s special August afternoon tea service. The white peony papaya, sampaguita pearl, and mango tea blends are all derived from da.u.de’s original product line.
2. Tsaa Laya
Tsaa Laya—a social enterprise that manufactures teas using plants and herbs farmed by local communities—has been planning to release new blends this year, and it was perfect timing for founder Jamir Ocampo when the Museum Foundation of the Philippines approached him to create custom blends for MaArte at The Pen and MaArTEA. New variants include Sagada Tips made from mountain herbs sourced in the Cordilleras, Coco Mélange made from coconut and pandan, and Tropical Summer made from lemongrass and ginger.
DowntoEarth has stocked tea leaves and tea tonics made from a combination of edible flowers and herbs, but this is the first time that the farm is trying out a variety of local herbs discovered growing wild in the foothills of Dahilayan in Cagayan de Oro and Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon. The farm developed an immune booster tea blend made of wild hibiscus, blue ternate, key lime, spilanthes, and amaranth; a soothing blend made of purple corn, karagum, and hierba buena; and a calming tea blend made of blue ternate, muti, and kalabo oregano.
4. Cerana Farms
Rosella is an indigenous vegetable from Botolan, Zambales known for its red flowers. It is widely available in the area, and most households have a rosella backyard for their own harvest. However, the Mactal Family’s Cerana Farms were the first to make tea out of it. Founder Ric Mactal, who is an engineer by profession, started farming in 2004, and his family has been looking for ways to introduce rosella tea and other indigenous products to the international market since then.
5. Cacao Culture Farms
Kenneth and Shiela Reyes-Lao’s cacao products have become a hit among locals, but their cacao tea has left a stronger impression. Made from fermented and dried cacao beans, which are then roasted and winnowed at the cacao farm, it’s sold in loose-leaf form for now, but the Reyes-Laos are looking to produce a tea bag version along with other cacao tea blends that will be available in the market soon.