Story by Joy Karabaczek
Photo by TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
At the TWG (The Wellbeing Group) Tea Salon and Boutique in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, amiable servers escort guests to white linen-covered tables decked out with crisp napkins and gleaming cutlery. Relax on comfy high-backed rattan chairs to study TWG Tea’s menu in yellow, a hue considered beautiful and prestigious, reminiscent of the emperor’s colour in Imperial China.
Leafing through it, one acknowledges this rising star’s claim to fame: a staggering number of teas that come from a myriad of source gardens and over 800 different single estate harvests. Lush potted palm trees add a touch of green
to this oasis of relaxation. TWG Tea’s boutique is enclosed in curved-linear glass walls to promote an architectural design that is organic. The dark hardwood counters have rounded corners. Filigree gold yellow artisan tea canisters fill the ceiling-high walls. From the shiny Italian marble floors, glinting gold mouldings and glass façades to the modern bright lights, everything is posh and top-of-the-line.
At first glance, the fancy set-up may intimidate casual clients. Look again — the opulent furnishings of a TWG Tea Salon and Boutique truly give an ambiance of elegance and old-world charm, coupled with a splash of modernity and timelessness. Pass through their gilded doors and imbibe the stylish setting which offers the perfect environment for that delicious cup of tea to be enjoyed there.
Children are most welcome and encouraged to develop a taste for this centuries-old aromatic beverage at an early age. For those who adore Japanese green teas, TWG Tea’s Grand Sencha from their Fine Harvest Collection may make an ideal choice. This delectable brew comes in TWG Tea’s signature white porcelain teapot nestled within a gleaming stainless steel warmer with an inner felt lining to keep it warm. Take a second to catch a whiff of the brew’s fine aroma before taking the first sip and savouring its brisk floral sweetness.
Those with a sweet tooth will be tempted to nibble on TWG Tea’s scrumptious macarons. These brightly coloured crispy almond biscuits are infused with TWG Tea’s signature concoctions. For instance, the dainty purple one is filled with a swirl of Grand Wedding Tea, Passion Fruit, and Coconut — crumbly on the outside, but moist and chewy on the inside. Its sweetness would match harmoniously with the elite Gyokuro Samurai tea, a most enticing infusion with a lovely fresh, sweet grassy taste and scent.
Maranda Barnes of TWG Tea is affable, charming, and effusive. She explains that TWG Tea established its roots in Singapore when they opened their first tearoom in 2008. It was a difficult year for setting up a business due to the global financial crisis. Still the avant-garde company blossomed, as they had “the right concept” and the passion to build up their fine teas into a household name, ensuring that clients come back for more of the lavish tea-drinking lifestyle with innovative new blends and flavours. To date, the company has 52 iconic TWG Tea Salons and Boutiques in 15 countries.
One of its founders, Taha Bouqdib (president and CEO) who is married to Maranda, is the mastermind behind the handcrafted tea blends. Taha is also responsible for the design concept of each TWG Tea Salon. “Our first boutique was at Republic Plaza on Raffles Place,” Maranda reminisces. “It has around 30 seats, large bay windows, and an intimate setting for private events.”. TWG Tea Salon at Ion Orchard brought a challenge for Taha to design the interiors, as he had to deal with some architectural restraints… But he succeeded in creating a little jewel.” By restraints Maranda means incorporating existing mall structures (pillars) into their design and resorting to glass walls to not block the surrounding store displays. The pillars complemented the boutique’s layout and the stores were pleased to hear TWG Tea patrons would sit down and admire their storefront.
Complete your swanky TWG Tea experience by sampling their wide gamut of Haute Couture loose tea blends. They come in classy, eye-catching packaging. The tasteful hand-painted designs, colours both scintillating and muted match the superior teas each package contains. Elegant tea accessories such as stoneware, cast iron teapots, specially designed fine bone china teacups, saucers, and other necessities abound. TWG Tea’s array of customised accessories would definitely add an air of distinction to any table.
For the upcoming holiday season, TWG Tea offers gold-embossed gift boxes containing their limitededition Christmas Jewel Tea Macarons, bursting with a spiced mandarin orange and orange marmalade filling.They could be fantastic with their latest Christmas Jewel Tea — a magical blend of “green tea, festive spices, sweet orange and jasmine pearls plated with molten 24carat gold”. Surely these titbits are meant to be shared with friends and family — take care you are not tempted to finish these exquisite TWG Tea treats all by yourself!