At each class there are six different teas to try ranging in colour, appearance, flavour and the growing and harvesting processes. My favourite was a tea called “Darjeeling Castleton Moonlight Oolong” whose tips are picked under the light of the moon, on the Castleton estate in the Darjeeling province of Northern India… so romantic. You begin with white tea and follow the spectrum along to yellow, green, oolong, black and aged vintage tea.
It was fascinating to hear about the epic journey of tea, from plantation to cup; as well as the different tea growing regions around the globe – China, Kenya, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. There was a screen of moving photos behind Marta, which she’d regularly point to, and filled me with a longing to go and see these amazing foreign lands for myself. I discovered a huge amount about Twinings Source With Care programme and investment in local communities to ensure that workers’ conditions are not only fair wages, but they have clean water and access to education too. Before sourcing their tea, Twinings will often work with the community for a few years to ensure their standards are met, before picking the tea, which really impressed me.
I loved hearing about the Twinings master tasters and blenders and discovering just how much time and effort goes into creating each cup of tea. The tasters make many sacrifices for their craft. They eat a bland diet, don’t drink or smoke in order to keep their taste buds at top performance levels, and taste countless cups per week.