Friday, October 14, 2005

The Tea Wars-English Tea vs Malaysian Tea...

Hmm...tea...what is there to blog about tea? The significance of the tea-drinking ceremony in weddings I have attended recently made me think what is so special about this leaf. Read all about the fascinating facts about tea here.

In Malaysia, we are proud to have our space-mission worthy teh tarik or pulled tea. It is enjoyed by Malaysians of all walk of life, even more by government officers...if you know what I mean. Even Ayah Pin is a fan of tea, with his giant teapot structure (it has been demolished since the clampdown...)

The Brits themselves enjoy tea very much, especially a colleague of mine. Here's what the wikipedia has to say on the British tea-drinking culture:
The British are amongst the largest per capita tea consumers in the world - each person consuming on average 2.5 kg per year. The popularity of tea dates back to the 19th Century when India was part of the British Empire, and British interests controlled tea production in the subcontinent. Tea initially was such a luxury that the teapot, a dedicated piece of furniture, was developed for storing it. For most people in Britain tea drinking is not the delicate, refined cultural expression that much of the world imagines - a cup (or more often a mug) of tea is something drunk several times a day quite unceremoniously. "Tea" is not only the name of the beverage, but of a late afternoon light meal, irrespective of beverage drunk. Frequently (outside the UK) this is referred to as "high tea", however in the UK high tea is an evening meal. The term evidently comes from the meal being eaten at the "high" (main) table, rather than the smaller table common in living rooms. Tea is usually served with milk (not cream) and sugar, although taking sugar is increasingly less common. There is a tradition of tea rooms in the UK which usually provide the traditional fare of cream and jam on scones, but these have declined in popularity since World War II. In Devon and Cornwall particularly, cream teas are a speciality. Lyons Corner Houses were a successful chain of such establishments.

The last time I was back and went back to the UK again, I brought along some very Malaysian snacks (yes-that includes the dodol durian!YUM!) and also mooncakes for my colleagues to try out! But being very unadventurous and unfazed with food thousand miles away, they didn't seem to enjoy them that much. So, this time I have learnt my lesson (not so if you read on further), I still brought along some food, but rather 'neutral' and 'universal food' for example...yes...TEA! Our very own Malaysian Cameronian and Bornean Sabah Tea-by Boh and CTea respectively.

Why CTea? Why not? It is fully owned and marketed by the No.1 celebrity in Malaysia, Siti Nurhaliza. She even worked so hard to go on tour just to promote her have to give some support a bit lar...
The CTea Tour at One Utama when I was in KL. Nope, I didn't buy the tea at this tour. Costs RM 7 there but only RM 5.90 at Econsave (They really know how to Bandingkan Harga Kami or Compare Our Prices!)

So brought them over thousand miles away to the UK for them to try. Here we have the most famous tea in Britain-PG Tips, Boh Tea regular tea bags, Boh Tea Songket-Lychee and Rose-flavoured tea and also two flavours of CTea-Geranium and Pandan.

Teabags of the tea packages. Clockwise: CTea, Boh regular, PG-tips (patented pyramid- shaped) and Boh Songket.

The review? Generally, the fragant tea was not so fragrant so much so a colleague of mine tasted it and said it was like 'garden water' for the CTea geranium. The Lychee and Rose Songket one was quite ok though. Nobody tried the Pandan one as they were not familiar of the 'what-the-hell-leaf-is-that'.

Here's an experiment for you to try out. Immerse the respective tea bags into cups of boiling water and leave it for 2-3 minutes. And this is what you get:
Guess which one is the PG-Tip and the Boh-Regular? Is tea 'the darker the better'? Voice out your comments in the comments section below...

1 comment:

ylfriends said...

Those people who refused to try the food you brought in UK are boring! Though I must admit, I wouldn't try durian one either LOL (I tried it in Thailand once and I had enough durian to last me through my life time). This is probably just a myth, but I do think the darker one maybe better in quality? Because I feel like more "stuff" have been brewed out from the tea leaves to make it darker. However, different processing that the leaves go through change the color of the leaves, and considering green tea or white tea contain more anti oxidant than black tea maybe that is not true. I do feel like the darker one has more flavor but you probably asked the question because it's something that's not easy to predict? so I'll go with the lighter one being higher quality and from Malaysia. PG Tips is a mass market product and in UK they don't grow tea natively like they do in Malaysia. I would like to think Malaysian product is higher in quality, because I think (and I possibly heard it from somewhere) that UK mass market teas are mixture of leaves from different parts of the world, where as in Malaysia I'm guessing they would use local crop from specific plantation that are more fresh.