TWG Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

70

It is a good tea with mint but it isn’t a standout. It reminds me of Moroccan mint blends that include peppermint in them, like the one that Dilmah has. I can taste the stronger flavors of the black tea but mostly as an aftertaste. If you’re looking for a little higher caffeine level on a tea blended with mint, this is probably your brew.

Flavors: Astringent, Mint

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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85

I’m used to Earl Grey Teas having a black tea base but I’ve tried an Earl Grey green tea before but I did not like it very much. The bergamot scent was too strong and overpowering. The Earl Grey Buddha is light and refreshing though. It is grassier in flavor and a lighter alternative to the usual Earl Grey. I’m more of a green and white tea drinker now and it’s a delight to know there’s a Earl Grey green tea blend that’s not too overpowering. You can enjoy the lightness of green tea and the scent of bergamot at the same time.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 27 OZ / 800 ML

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83

I’m not a fan of mixing tea and chocolate but this blend does it well. It’s a great pick-me-up in the morning and the chocolate does not overpower the black tea. I enjoy the flavor of the mix of the malt and the chocolate flavors.

Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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60
drank Tea Party by TWG Tea Company
36 tasting notes

Highly drinkable vanilla-flavored black tea. I like the yellow flower petals floating around in it, though I’m not sure what flavor they impart. It smells and tastes great!

Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Vanilla

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81
drank Milk Oolong by TWG Tea Company
20 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Oud Night by TWG Tea Company
411 tasting notes

I got this one as a sample. I didn’t think they’d give out expensive tea samples! I just mentioned that it’d interested me for a while but was WAY out of my price range. It’s a ridiculously generous sample to.

It smells like a sort of thick woodsy amber—amber like the perfume scent amber—almost bordering on babypowder, I guess? Very perfumy. I looked into it, and oud is a type of heartwood that they let get attacked by a fungus, producing a strongly scented resin. This is a mixture of that (I think), cedar and tea flowers. Can only see the dried resin bits, though. Weirdly, no where on the wiki page does it say oud/agarwood/calambac is used in foods.

It’s surprisingly smooth tasting, with the oud/calambac sitting in the back of your throat after each sip. It does kind of overpower the taste of tea. It’s hard to describe, because it feels very one-note since I have no experience with… uh. ‘Oud’. There’s the slightest astringency on the back of the tongue, and something like cedar on the forefront.

I do like it, actually. But I’m not about to dump the money to get a few ounces. I drank it at five minutes earlier in the week (didn’t log), but four minutes smooths it out much more. Maybe I’ll try five minutes again next time to try and get a better idea of the profile.

Flavors: Cedar, Resin

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Xxxxx

I have to wonder if the company used real oud in the blend. First, it’s endangered and second it’s extremely expensive and as you said, not something generally used in food. The scent of oud differs greatly, depending on age and other factors, but it is never amber-y. It can smell like petrol or smoke, but there is nothing sweet about it, even the cheaper grades. Nevertheless, this was an interesting and thought provoking review that makes me want to try the tea myself!

AJ

I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. Their sites rarely list proper ingredients.

No smoke, but I could describe it as petrol; definitely not sweet. Amber might not be the right word, because I haven’t smelt enough of it.

Sorta like pine and cedar sap, though.

Xxxxx

Pardon me while I scent nerd out…
I collect vintage perfume and am a certified aromatherapist. Oud (aka oudh) has gotten ‘trendy’ in perfumery over the past several years and nearly every house has something with oud in it. Undoubtedly 99.9% of it is from the laboratory, not the heart of a tree. Why someone would claim to put it in tea (or put something oud-like in tea for that matter) puzzles me. Of course, perhaps the promise of ingesting such an exotic ingredient has market appeal.

Amber (in perfumery) has a soft, powdery, vanilla-ish scent. It is created using combinations of labdanum, benzoin resin, copal (itself a type of tree resin used in incense manufacture), vanilla, Dammara resin and/or synthetic materials. It is not the stuff that prehistoric insects get trapped in, nor is is whale vomit-ambergris.

AJ

DELETEless than a minute ago
That definitely fits the bill for TWG. They have teas with gold dust or flakes for no other reason than so it can cost $30/oz.

No actual wood chips present in this one, though:

https://media.steepster.com/api/file/nFBNEmmATYGvRr39eSZ2/convert?fit=max&h=480&w=940

It’s got a sort of powderyness to babypowder that makes me think of amber without the full on vanilla.

Xxxxx

I’m shaking my head. The picture is lovely. If nothing else, I loved your description and this also gave me a chance to enjoy a lot more of your past reviews.

AJ

Thank you.

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68

This is one of many samples I originally received from OMGsrsly and the generous MissB. It lived in neglected district of my tea cabinet for quite a while, but since I’m going to Singapore in a few weeks I thought it was high time to pull it out.

This is definitely one of those teas that doesn’t deliver when steeped up but smells amazing. Think floral cherries and candied red fruits.

Sweet and slightly bitter, the flavour goes into the dry, grassy side of the vegetal spectrum, and the cherry hazards into artificial (cough drops, candy, McDonald’s cherry sundae). Still, the tea makes me happy and nostalgic; along with genmaicha, my first looseleaf was a cherry green that tasted like this one. It reminds me of my first year in Victoria. I can’t help but like that a little.

Flavors: Candy, Cherry, Grass

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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77
drank Follow Me Tea by TWG Tea Company
2067 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #14
I wasn’t expecting much from this, since it’s in a thin baggie, but it’s actually quite good. Sencha, pineapple and ginseng. A big piece of ginseng went in the infuser and plenty of pineapple flavor came out. I love a pineapple tea. Both steeps were nice, fruity, refreshing. Hopefully someone else enjoys the last serving…

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95

I finally cold brewed this one the other day because I was in need of a refreshing treat, and it was amazing!! I stuck two tea sachets in a 13-oz tumbler filled with refrigerator-cold water, added some sugar, and took it with me to class. After steeping for about 20 minutes, it was perfect….light, fruity, and sweet without being too sweet. This is my new favorite tea to drink iced!!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 13 OZ / 384 ML

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95

Drinking this tea right now, post-lunch. For the first time, I didn’t add any sweetener to it to see how that would alter the flavor. It actually tastes just as great without sweetener! I’m getting a stronger green tea taste and a stronger fruity taste, but no vanilla at all. When I add sweetener, I can pick up some vanilla flavor but the green tea and fruit flavors are a little weaker, so there are pros to both. Since I’m trying to cut down on the sugar I add to my teas, though, I’ll likely be leaving the sweetener out of this one from now on.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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95

One of my dear friends just brought a box of these back for me from her trip to the Philippines! I’ve been wanting to try TWG for a while, so I’m quite happy.

This is a satisfying tea, mild on the green tea flavor with a light touch of both fruit and vanilla. Usually with light green teas that include vanilla, the latter is hard for me to taste (especially if I steep for two minutes or less to prevent the green tea from getting bitter). I’m glad to say that this one is an exception. I may try to steep an extra 30 seconds next time, to get an even stronger flavor.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90
drank Pai Mu Tan by TWG Tea Company
9 tasting notes

I thought long and hard for two months before getting this tea. Finally got it last Christmas at $10.58 for 50 grams. Dialing back from Darjeeling Tea Boutique’s strong summer and autumn flush offerings, this cup was very subtle. At 4 minutes (the company recommends 7), there’s just a slight puckering of the tongue and no astringency (in the sense of bitterness). The colour in my cup kind of matches “jonquil” (I googled it just to check).

Very subtle. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t been practising my tea tasting recently. Shame on me! It’s got a… I’m not quite sure if it’s a vanilla-ish taste, or… if it’s a “tea” taste, if that makes any sense. I mean I’ve tasted that taste before, I’m not quite sure when. But it’s this underlying flavour I tend to pick up from TWG’s teas underneath their various blend flavourings.

So I guess it’s the purest “tea” taste.

That’s all I seem to be getting from this. And yet, that seems to be all I want. Maybe it’s a placebo effect of it being “white tea” or something, haha. I’ll be saving up for their Yin Zhen next time. It’s almost 60 bucks for 50 grams. But I really could tell the difference, looking into those two canisters.

The latter was nothing but beautiful white buds. Can’t wait to try it out.

But as for this one, definitely worth it. I’ll have to come back to it in the future, see what tastes I can get out of it. Once again, it reminds me how much I still have to learn about tea tasting.

Flavors: Tea, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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84
drank Alexandria by TWG Tea Company
16 tasting notes

There’s quality in this tea no doubt which justifies the premium price I paid. When I first drank it, I thought the mint was strong to my taste (I’m not a “mint” person and) leaving strong minty after -taste. But a after a few sips, I got used to it and eventually liked it. Very rich in flavour, not watery and that’s one of the reasons I like it – premium quality.

Flavors: Mint, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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75

Still a good Early Grey, but the addition of plant tips make this tea too sweet for my taste. I prefer the regular TWG Earl Grey.

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90

Probably the best Earl Grey I have tasted. Getting the balance right between adding not too much Bergamot to overwhelm the underling black tea briskness and not too many tea leaf tips to make it too sugary is difficult. This TWG tea gets it right.

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85
drank 1837 Black by TWG Tea Company
4 tasting notes

Not everyone’s taste, but I like the combination of brisk black tea with a scent of caramel to give it more body and a light fruity after taste

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68
drank Follow Me Tea by TWG Tea Company
1482 tasting notes

Thanks for passing some of this down, MissB!

I went into this completely blind. Didn’t bother reading up on what’s in here but could smell something vaguely sweet. I was anticipating something fruity based on the dried fruit chunks but I didn’t know what exactly.

Unfortunately, once steeped, it’s just a green tea, although I detect something herbal in the background. There’s a bitterness but it could be from the base or this herbal note too.

Sure enough, now that I logged onto Steepster and checked out the ingredients in this one, it’s pineapple that’s in here, but completely unnoticeable in flavour, plus ginseng. Ohhhh, ginseng! I would have never have guessed that. It’s been so long since having it that I didn’t even think of it.

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83

Pulled this one out of the GCTTB 4. The smell made me super curious.

This bag in the TTB was labelled as The Urban Tea Merchant but any time I google that it brings me back to TWG so I hope this is the right place.

The tea smells like vanilla and smokey spice.

The brewed tea is quite creamy. Is is a great blend of green and black teas. I find sometimes that works great and sometimes it goes really bad. There is flavours of vanilla, orange rind, and some other spices I can’t quite place. It very much reminds me of a Christmas blend but not so Christmassy. Sometimes I think cinnamon, then no, and sometimes I think tamarind, then no. It’s weird , but delicious at the same time.

Quite like this one. Not sure if I would call it a breakfast blend. To me is more of an afternoon tea but I guess that is debatable.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Jillian

Urban Tea Merchant is the name of a fancy teahouse in Vancouver and TWG is the brand they currently stock and serve (they’ve changed suppliers from time to time – a few years ago their tea was from The O Dor).

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60

Skip this first part if you just want to read about the tea:

I first smelled this tea in Harrod’s, finding a small, quiet island in the TWG section of the tea department. No small feat, considering it was right before Christmas last year. I sniffed my way through a number of tins and got stuck on the so-called ‘weekend teas’. I snapped a few pictures of the tins and meant to read up on it when I came home, but forgot all about it.

A month later I was in Singapore (I’m sorry for sounding like a demented tea socialite, bear with me), and imagine my surprise when the TWG logo showed up again… and again, and again. I knew nothing about the brand; I’d just assumed it was a trendier spin-off of Twinings, or something.

A quick search yielded the following: TWG is a Singaporean company, carefully branded to be Singapore’s “first and only upscale tea salon”. This was definitely a niche in the Singaporean brandscape that needed filling; tea culture is somewhat lacking, with either imported Japanese concepts where everything is beyond kawaii, or madly overpriced hotel-style afternoon teas.

So far so good, but there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the brand. For instance: the TWG is generally accompanied by the year 1837 on signs and logos, but the brand was founded no earlier than 2008.

This all makes me reluctant, to be honest. Singapore is so entirely about money, all the time; everything anyone ever talks about is money and shortcuts to money and how to get more money and money. I find that depressing, and it’s clear TWG is a pitch perfect Singaporean brand in that respect. They colonize the most exclusive locations, style their shops and salons to the very last detail (tarnished brass and dark wood everywhere), hardbrand the products and charge ridiculous sums of money for everything.

I’m the first to admit I love a good branding effort. I do; I sometimes enjoy giving in and just going with it because it’s done so well, but TWG are just too devious about it, and it’s painfully clear the product is just the sideshow. TWG is all brand and I can’t get excited about that.

Actual tea review:

I added the above to be honest about my TWG prejudice. This is the first tea I’ve purchased from the company, but I’ve tried their products at a couple of their salon locations. I’ve also had their tea-infused ice cream, which is very nice, albeit, again, ridiculously overpriced.

This looks beautiful in the bag, long, whole green leaves studded with red petals. After steeping, the petals turn fuchsia and it’s one of the prettiest steeped teas I’ve seen, colour wise. In terms of scent, well, I didn’t go the adventurous route here – this smells like something I’ve had before, most likely one of those German-imported greens they sell in every tea shop in Sweden. It’s vaguely fruity/floral and that’s it. What more do you need? Fruity/floral is where it’s at!

There are no steeping instructions on the bag, and none were given by the staff (again, one of those things that’ll tell you this is more about the experience and the ritual of shopping, than what you actually purchase) so I did a semi-Lupicia, letting this steep for 1.5 minutes, at 90C. No bitterness, but also not very much flavour – I’m going to try a different steeping strategy next time, not least for you temperature purists out there.

So, to summarize: meh. TWG will not (CAN not) be my new boyfriend (even though I would have loved to get a chance to meme ‘Bye Lupicia!’).

Unlike an actual weekend in Shanghai, this tea bores me.

[Picked up at the TWG Tea Salon & Boutique in Raffles Place, Singapore, January 2015.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Marzipan

Great write up! Really interesting.

Christina / BooksandTea

I agree, more talk about branding when it comes to tea!

Anna

Thanks, guys! One of my fave topics, so hugely appreciated feedback.

OMGsrsly

Kinda how I feel about TWG, Anna! We have a store here and it’s very fancy and pretentious and there’s a tea I want but there’s no way I’d spend $40+ for 50g of it. That’s just silly, especially because I feel their base teas aren’t all that fabulous. (I think I’ve had 4 now. :) ) It is a neat experience to go into the store, but whoa.

Dustin

LOL@ demented tea socialite! You did way more research than I on TWG! I took them at face value for being a much older company! I do like some of their teas, but not all of them live up to what I was hoping for. I used to work for a guy who was from Singapore and your description of the attitude towards money make his behavior make a lot more sense.

Marzipan

More interesting stuff from Wikipedia: In 2011, a lawsuit against TWG Tea was filed by tea retailer Tsit Wing International and its parent company Tsit Wing, for incorporating the abbreviation TWG in its name, which was trademarked by Tsit Wing. The latter company, which is based in Hong Kong, was founded in 1932.13

A judge handling the lawsuit noted in July 2013 that the use of the “existence of the date 1837 in TWG Tea’s sign has led people to believe that the company was established at that time”, while in actuality it was founded much later, in 2008. In justification, the firm’s spokespeople claimed that it was instead a tribute to the “year when the Chamber of Commerce was founded in Singapore”.13 The case was ruled in Tsit Wing’s favour, with damages payable yet to be decided. Shortly after the ruling, TWG Tea filed for appeal.14

On 3 December 2014, TWG Tea lost a court appeal and as a result it may have to change its name in Hong Kong. TWG Tea has room to pursue its final appeal. According to the company’s lawyer, in case the company loses the appeal again, it may use another registered logo containing the acronym “TW” instead of the currently used “TWG”, to which Tsit Wing had no objection.15

mrmopar

Welcome back!

Fjellrev

Hej hej! Nice to see you around. It still blows my mind how you’re able to travel so much!

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drank Tea Party by TWG Tea Company
759 tasting notes

This is another share from the mysterious silver/clear package with the purple writing. And another hit. Sweet and party flavored for sure. Another I can see would be good for … a tea party. So aptly named. :) And pretty with the flowers without needing to add sprinkles or other junk to muck up the water. A decent dessert tea. The tin looks pretty in the picture, too.

Dustin

The tins do look really pretty. I was disappointed to find out the label is just a loosely attached printed plastic sheet, like those glossy plastic receipts some places have. :( Oh well. Keeps me from wanting to collect them all.

Nicole

That is a good thing to know. Keeps my desire to accumulate clutter down as well. :)

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60

TWG Bourbon Vanilla is caffeine-free rooibos tea from with quite perfumy and lasting vanilla flavors. Since teas made from real vanilla beans are rare, I’ve been curious to know the full ingredients of this tea, but so far it’s not available. “TWG vanilla” on the brand’s website doesn’t mean much. I am particularly interested in finding out the ingredients in pricey TWG teas because the brand is designed to attract luxury-brand junkies who often overlook the true content of the product. Despite it’s “old” image and branding, TWG is a very young brand since 2008 out of Singapore, specifically targeting the well-heeled in Asia. So far customers are enamored by the expensive-looking concept and fancy tearooms, and no one bothers to examine the tea itself.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 30 sec

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73
drank Follow Me Tea by TWG Tea Company
2183 tasting notes

I got some of this tea from MissB and was a little hesitant based on the reviews, but I did see that it might be best cold brewed (my plan with it anyway, since it is a green). I also took a couple big hunks of ginseng root out of the infuser, since I’m not huge on ginseng.

This was definitely really pinappley. Unfortunately, it was kind of fakey and candy-like, and not in a good way. It was drinkable, but not my fave. Glad I cold-steeped it though, it seems like the best method.

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70
drank Paris-Singapore by TWG Tea Company
1482 tasting notes

Thank you for this sample, MissB! Your mentioning of Victoria, BC now has me reminiscing of spring there too, now. How I’d kill for a walk down Beach Drive right now!

I couldn’t tell what this was supposed to be in the bag, other than a green tea, of course. I couldn’t smell the cherry, and initially steeped, I just got dry green notes. The first couple sips were a little on the dry side, but as this begins to cool, I’m slowly starting to taste the cherry. It’s a little on the cough syrupy side, though. A specific kind of gum or candy also used to taste like it, but can’t figure it out. Cherry seems to be a difficult flavour profile to tackle in regards to tea.

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35

Well, Firstly, lets start off with the type, the quantity, the location its made from, and so on. I would rate it a 5/10.

Flavors: Absinthe, Vanilla, Whiskey

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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