Six homegrown tea brands to be proud of. By Deborah Lin
Tea has a host of health benefits. Studies have shown antioxidant-rich tea helps with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other medical conditions. Thing is, tea is usually seen as a choice beverage for fuddy-duddies over its hipster rival, coffee.
These tea companies are set to change that mindset with their creative tea blends. All six are homegrown, made-in-Singapore brands too. So, get a cup of tea and #supportlocalsg while you’re at it. (See more local tea brands for the foodies here.)
Not just for the oldies anymore, these local tea brands are making tea trendy again. (Photo: jill111 / www.pixabay.com)
If you are big on heritage, go for 1872 Clipper Tea Co.
The history of this local company goes way back (its founder BP de Silva offered tea to regulars of his then-jewellery store in 1872, then later acquired tea facilities, invested in plantations and sold tea wholesale), but its teas only started retailing in stores in 2011.
This year, 1872 Clipper Tea Co. has opened its flagship store in Raffles City, and also won accolades at UK’s Great Taste Awards for two of its teas. And would you look at their seasonal blends and limited edition collections? Their recent Romance of Travel collection even includes tea scented candles!
Start with Classics like English Breakfast or Earl Grey. Their Timeless Earl Grey is a twist to the traditional Earl Grey (with cream and cornflower) and is one of the blends that won the Great Taste Awards. Coffee drinkers can check out Eternal Garden Tea (a black tea with rose petals) or Radiant Glow (an organic green tea with pear flavouring).
The line-up of Christmas blends by 1872 Clipper Tea Co. this year: Summer Boy, Sleigh Ride and Twelve Days. (Photo: 1872 Clipper Tea Co.)
If you want a daily dose of motivation, go for Collaboration Tea
Starting just over a year back, Collaboration Tea was established after its founders were inspired by the strong tea culture overseas. The homegrown company hopes that their tea blends, which are catered for the local market, will replace the daily teh that Singaporeans have grown accustomed to. All tea bags come with its own tea tag and a little word of wisdom, like a #QOTD! Special launches are also introduced during festive periods, like this Christmas’s Vanilla Creme.
Start with Bestseller Oolong Blossoms, which is a blend of Oolong tea, and chamomile and forget-me-not flowers. Also, extremely popular with wedding couples: their rose blends like A Hint of Rose (Earl Grey with French rose petals) and Dessert of Roses (Ceylon black tea infused with peach and apricot, with French rose petals).
Perk yourself up with one of these brews – and an uplifting quote too! (Photo: Collaboration Tea)
If you like all things whimsical, go for Ette Tea
Set up in 2014, Ette (like the suffix –ette) is a gourmet producer of tea blends with a personal touch. Founder Victor has worked in other prominent tea companies, and has a long-time fondness for tea leaves and local flavours. Expect creative tea blends such as Nasi Lemak – yes, like the local favourite dish! – and Mango Sticky Rice. There’s also a movie-inspired collection, and limited editions such as this season’s Christmas Fruit Stollen tea and the sold-out Fortune Cookie Chai (which came with its own fortune slip!)
Start with Kris Grey, if you’re a hardcore coffee drinker. Inspired by the male protagonist Christian Grey in 50 Shades of Grey, the tea is a refreshing and full-bodied blend of black tea, javanese vanilla beans, blue corn flower, bluepea flower, bergamot oil and – get this – edible silver dust.
Switch up the Java for the sexy Kris Grey, a black tea blend. (Photo: Ette Tea)
If you are passionate about Asia, go for Gryphon Tea Company
Passionate about tea and food, the fourth-generation owner of a family-owned tea business, Lim Tian Wee, launched Gryphon Tea Company in 2006. The aim? Offer high quality teas to the increasingly cosmopolitan Singaporean consumer. (Its sister brands include Pryce Tea, which specialises in fine oriental teas, and Monogram, which focuses on personalised tea experiences.)
The tea blends at Gryphon have a strong emphasis on Asian ingredients, and have clinched several honours at the prestigious Great Taste Awards. A special blend Singapura Spice was also created in collaboration with Singapore Tourism Board to commemorate the nation’s Golden Jubilee. Gryphon has started offering tea-related products and gifts, and is also looking to expand overseas next.
Start with Check out their newly-launched online Discover Tea tool to find out which tea suits your tastes. Coffee drinkers can go for the robust Imperial Pu’erh or the light, floral Iron Goddess of Mercy.
Gryphon Tea Company was approached by Singapore Tourism Board to create Singapura Spice, a limited edition SG50 tea. (Photo: Gryphon Tea Company)
If you are proud to be Singaporean, go for Pin Tea
Begun by a group of young Singaporean tea lovers who share a love for wanderlust and tea, Pin Tea introduced their debut collection inspired by iconic neighbourhoods in Singapore earlier this year. With their attractive packaging and quirky names, like Ooh La La Orchard (pu-erh tea) and Tekka Minute (silver pearl jasmine tea), these teas make a lovely souvenir for your visitor friends. Plus, their premium full-leaf teas (read: no artificial flavourings or additives) are sourced across a trusted network of organic farmers across Asia. This Christmas, get their seasonal special Merry Mount Snow Chrysanthemum.
Start with Sentosa Sunrise, a Darjeeling breakfast tea with citrusy notes, inspired by Singapore’s sunny shores. Prefer a caffeine-free option? Get the lemongrass ginger tea, Marina Magic.
Gift one of these Singapore teas to your friends from overseas. (Photo: Pin Tea)
If you have a strong desire for wanderlust, go for Tealy
Tealy was founded in 2013, by brothers Kyne and Wayne, when the local tea culture was in its infancy. By bringing together the sensory world of teas, Tealy hopes customers will – like its founders – encounter a unique adventure with each tea’s full flavours. Think: the icy tundra of Russia, temples of China or parks of London. Look also for their selection of healthy teas, which are high in antioxidants, have low- or no-caffeine and contain superfruits or herbal ingredients.
Start with Calm your nerves and stay alert with Eight Secret Tea, a combination of eight different teas with wolfberry, strawberry and lychee. Sounds like the perfect antidote to those mid-week blues!
Eight Secret Tea includes jasmine, Oolong and four types of green tea. (Photo: Tealy)