Taking time out and having afternoon tea with family and/or friends is a British tradition.
The British love to meet up with family or friends in the afternoon and sit down together to enjoy leisurely sips of lovely tea with bites of scones, pastries and mini sandwiches. It is a social ritual that traces its roots back to the early 1800s, a time when people had dinner late in the evening and therefore got hungry before it was dinnertime. The seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell, got fed up with such hunger pains between meals that she decided to schedule time to take tea and have a snack in the afternoon so she would not have to go hungry anymore. Originally a private ceremony, she soon had friends and acquaintances joining her. The practice spread throughout England and, before long, it became a favorite pastime in Europe, as well as in Asia.
To celebrate life and the luxurious socio-cultural ritual that has made an impact the world over and continues to be a practice in modern times, English Tea Shop, which is the favorite organic tea brand in the United Kingdom, brings its line of exquisite teas to the Philippines. The launch, which took place at the Owner’s Lounge of Raffles Hotel in Makati, came in the form of an Afternoon Tea, with its exclusive Philippine distributor Clever Cats International Company and exclusive retail outlet Robinsons Supermarket leading the way in raising tea cups to the lips and taking leisurely sips.
English Tea Shop, which promises to redefine the Filipino’s standards for teas, is unique from most tea brands in the sense that it does not simply buy its tea from middlemen and then repack the product as its own. Instead, it works directly with some 2,000 farmers who personally grow and nurture the plants from which English Tea Shop sources its organic teas. “The love, care, change ethos of the company is a testament to the fact that sustainability and growth do mix. Not only do we focus on providing our farmers with tools, education and financial assistance; our fair-trade price culture ensures that they are able to take home a pay beyond what’s expected, with long-term and stable contracts to begin with. In return, consumers are assured of products that are marked by their hallmark quality, innovativeness and passion that’s unlike any other,” says English Tea Shop founder and CEO Suranga Herath.
Incidentally, Herath personally graced the Philippine launch of English Tea Shop, which won the prestigious Business Award for Sustainability given by the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards in November 2017. The award is like the Oscars of great British business because it recognizes and rewards excellence across all sectors in the UK.
To ensure consumers that English Tea Shop’s teas are truly organically grown, the company has set measures in place. For one, it has teams regularly visiting the farms and conducting ocular inspections and audits. These teams check that organic and conventional farmlands are safely separated by 10 to 20 meters so that there is no danger that the organic farmland will be contaminated in any way. The audit teams also compute for the expected output of the organic land area and check the actual harvest afterwards. If the actual harvest exceeds what the organic farmland can produce, then the organic nature of the entire harvest turn out to be highly questionable. Also to ensure the quality of any tea before being processed, it is first sent to a laboratory in Germany for testing.
English Tea Shop is thus proudly 100% organic, as certified by Control Union Inspection, which is an independent Dutch company and is allowed by the United States Department of Agriculture to stamp “USDA organic” on its packaging. It is non-GMO, as verified by FoodChain ID Inc., and is approved as Kosher by the Union Orthodox Jewish Congregation of America.
With its entry into the Philippine market, English Tea Shop brings to 55 the total number of countries that now enjoy its exquisite organic teas. The brand actually offers more than 130 tea variants, including interesting combinations such as Super Berries (hibiscus, strawberry, blueberries and raspberries); Green Tea Pomegranate; and Lemongrass, Ginger and Citrus. The choice of what tea to drink should not be based just on one’s flavor preferences but also on what time of the day one is to drink it. There are morning teas, such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast, that are meant to perk up the senses. There are those that are best enjoyed at noontime, including Peppermint and Lemongrass Ginger, because they effectively aid in digestion. For afternoon tea, the most ideal are those that curb cravings, like Super Berries and Green Tea Pomegranate. In the evening, only light tea flavors, such as Chamomile and Ginger Honey, should be taken because they promote relaxation and sleep.
English Tea Shop also carries herbal infusions and fruit infusions.
With the entry of a premium-quality tea brand and all the exciting tea variants that it offers, Afternoon Tea in the Philippines will never be the same again. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be relaxing and rejuvenating tea time, too!