Tea Time in Cayman, a local company that provides premium loose leaf tea, teaware and tea-themed gift baskets, held the first in a series of tea parties at Grand Pavilion recently.
The Tea Cupping and Tasting featured a selection of loose leaf teas, paired with gourmet treats from Bay Market.
Teas tasted included Silver Needle, Spice it Up Cayman, Genmaicha “Popcorn” Tea, Cayman Thanksgiving and “One 345” Taste of Swanky.
Time for tea
Tea Time in Cayman was launched last year by tea aficionados Kadi Merren and Kelli Dawson. Both grew up drinking tea as a family tradition, but found Cayman’s limited selection frustrating, often having to import their own teas from the US and Canada.
“Each day, friends around the office would come around to check out our drawers full of teas and asked if they could sample some, so we decided to turn a hobby into a business recognising that Cayman was in need of a better selection of premium loose leaf teas,” Kadi said.
Tea Time in Cayman stocks 31 black, green, oolong, white, herbal, rooibos and yerba mate loose leaf teas, with more blends planned.
“High quality loose leaf teas, such as ours, are made from whole tea leaves, large pieces of leaves or a combination of both. In contrast, the tea found in tea bags usually consists of smaller pieces of tea “dust” which may give a quicker brew, but lacks the subtlety and full flavour of the larger loose leaf teas and can release more tannins giving a harsher flavour to the tea,” Kadi explained.
“We taste each and every one of our teas before bringing them in and are continually trying new teas to ensure that we have the best types available on island.”
She adds: “From the beginning, we wanted to host tea parties but we weren’t really sure where to start. I attended the World Tea Expo in June this year and the ideas started flowing! We wanted to do so many different types of tastings and educate our customers, so that’s why we decided to do a series of four tea parties, so that by the end if guests attended all four they would have sampled all 31 of our loose leaf teas.”
The tasting menu
First on the tasting menu was Hibiscus Vanilla Delight, served cold and paired with a turkey cranberry salad tea sandwich. A mellow and fruity tea, Hibiscus Vanilla Delight features a comforting blend of hibiscus, rooibos, sweet vanilla and a touch of chocolate. Originating from South Africa and China, it is said to help reduce blood pressure and restore energy levels.
Next was Silver Needle, a white tea from China, which was served hot and paired with caramelised onion lamb wonton. Gathered only for a few days in early spring, this tea is among the most revered of Chinese teas. Silver Needle has a subtly sweet, honey-like taste and is antioxidant rich. Indeed, the buds are carefully harvested by hand, thereby preserving its high antioxidant content. Among its many benefits, Silver Needle tea is known to support healthy skin and aid the digestive process.
Two oolong teas followed – Jade Oolong and Easy Like Sunday Morning. Both teas originate from Taiwan and are well known for their anti-aging properties and slimming effects. Served hot, both teas are light and refreshing.
Spice It Up Cayman, an aromatic blend of yerba mate, cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass, cardamom and clove, followed. Said to assist with weight management, boost energy levels and enhance mental clarity, the tea was paired with a refreshing palate cleanser of cucumber and lime juice.
Cayman Thanksgiving – a spiced chai black tea mixed with exotic cardamom and clove – followed. This delicious tea celebrates the flavours of autumn, with bursts of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and Clementine orange. The tea was paired with a miniature pumpkin pie.
Next was an all-round favourite, Genmaicha “Popcorn” tea, served with a mixed nuts popcorn ball. A mix of green tea and toasted brown rice from Japan, Genmaicha “Popcorn” tea offers a unique, toasty flavour and aroma. Genmaicha has been widely recognised by drinkers globally for making them feel healthier and happier. This tea is also a popular diet aid, increasing metabolism and energy, and even fighting the aging process.
Refreshingly delicious Oh Natural – Peppermint tea followed. Made from 100 per cent peppermint, this tea was served cold and paired with a yoghurt pretzel and peppermint tea chocolate bark. Said to relax the muscles, ease nausea, help with digestion, clear allergies, control mild asthma and even alleviate bad breath, peppermint is a naturally occurring fusion of spearmint and water mint.
Unlike other mints, peppermint contains in its healing volatile oil the powerful therapeutic ingredients menthone, menthyl acetate and some 40 other compounds.
The final tea on the tasting menu was “One 345” Taste of Swanky – a blend of antioxidant rich green tea, lemon and herbs designed to cleanse the body and relieve stress. Just like Cayman Swanky, this tea is great served with a pinch or two of brown sugar.
The next tea party will be held on Saturday, 8 December, and will feature a selection of premium loose leaf teas and chocolate pairings from Cocoa Couture. On Saturday, 12 January, a tea and wine pairing, with wines from Premier Wines & Spirits, will be held.
The final in the tea tasting series will be held on Saturday, 9 February, with nibbles from Bay Market and makeover demonstrations by skincare company Island Naturals. All tea parties, priced at $30, are held at the Grand Pavilion courtyard, 3pm to 5pm.