If you haven’t been to the Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur recently, then you should. The entire lobby has undergone a fantastic “Transformation Process” and is now branded as the HUB. Read all about the transformation here.
Everything about the HUB is about creativity – every aspect of it … it’s a gathering place for creative minds… a space that promotes dialogue, awakens curiosity and stimulates thinking through physical and personal interactions. The casual chic layout and comfortable yet stylish furniture provide the perfect backdrop for guests to engage in cultural and social discoveries. And that was exactly what a select group of media and friends got to do recently – an indulgent session on The Art of Tea with Dilmah.
As we gathered around the tall uniquely-shaped table next to Latitude 03, Mr Chang Yeow Lim, the Food Services Manager from Dilmah briefed us a bit on The Story Behind Your Cup of Tea, specifically, Dilmah Tea. With 57 years dedicated by the Dilmah owners to tea, their total commitment has brought this family-owned tea company to the forefront of the Sri Lankan tea industry. Their investments in tea lie not only in the tea gardens and plantations; their passion and business encompass tea making facilities, state-of-the-art production and packaging plants and most of all, their unique expertise in tasting and blending teas.
What I found most commendable about Dilmah Tea is its ethical and sustainable business model. As a family business that has flourished from tea farming, there is no role for middlemen – all the earnings remain in Sri Lanka and are shared with their workers, the community and reinvested for sustainability.
From Mr Chang’s briefing, we got to know a bit about the various processes in tea production, from the pruning of the tea shrubs (they can actually grow to 60ft tall trees if not pruned!), to the plucking (2 leaves and the bud please), the withering, rolling, fermentation, firing/drying, grading and finally, packaging. I felt like I’ve almost graduated from a crash course in tea production in those 20 minutes! Well, not really… a tour of Dilmah’s tea plantation and factory would complete the course, I think!
Mr Chang Yeow Lim demonstrating the correct way to steep your tea
Mr Chang then proceeded to brew a few varieties of Dilmah tea for us to try as well as explained what kinds of food would go well with the different types of teas. The first was Dilmah’s Moroccan Mint Green tea which paired very well with some very decadent chocolate delicacies from Art Cacao.
Just look at how indulgent we were… lots and lots of premium chocolatey delights… good stuff!
Ahhh… we so loved these chunks of pure white and milk chocolate, dotted with nuts and dried fruits!
Then more desserts, with vanilla influences were served with Dilmah’s Ceylon Cinnamon Spice Tea. Apparently cinnamon and vanilla pairing is like a match made in heaven.
The prettiest ever Vanilla Fruity Sponge Cake!
While many of us almost went into a sugar coma from all the sinfully addictive chocolates (in all forms, shapes and sizes), vanilla cake and doughnuts, we welcomed the smokey Lapsang Souchang tea which was paired with some savoury pasties. I wished there were some grilled meats served too as that would be excellent with the Lapsang Souchang! Apparently this tea is perfect with Bak Kut Teh, too. I’ve gotta get a tin of this!
A mixologist was also present to shake up some snazzy brews of tea mixed with a variety of syrups and juices. These cold sweet concoctions are good when you are lazing by the pool or beach, I personally feel.
Mixologist at work
For unadulterated enjoyment of teas at its purest form, nothing beats a freshly brewed hot cup of tea. Oh, be mindful that it should not be too hot, though… as we were told that to get the best result, the water temperature should a few degrees below boiling point and be careful how long you steep the tea leaves/bag as under-doing or over-doing just will not do. To take the guesswork out of this predicament, Dilmah actually has this very cool device to time the steeping process. It’s like a mini hourglass (except that it’s not hourglass-shaped) which you overturn and wait for the sands to drop down and once that’s achieved….voila, your cup of tea is ready! That tea timer thing would be quite a conversation piece, I tell you.
See that cool-looking tea timer?
We then took matters into our own hands and brewed some other of our favourite teas that were available – Green Tea with Jasmine, Natural Ceylon Ginger Tea, Earl Grey and their Natural Rosehip with Hibiscus.
We were told that this tea session is merely the introduction to a series of tea appreciations – more of such sessions are in the pipeline at the Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur… so, stay tuned!
The Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur