When self-proclaimed tea fanatic and yoga teacher Iona Carter travelled to Kanazawa, Japan last year, something about their brews seemed extra cool. A local specialty, the process of cold brewing tea inspired Carter to launch her own London-based company, TWIG Teas.
Steeping tea leaves over a long period of time in cold water serves several benefits, from producing fewer bitter catechins than hot brewing tea does to its sweet taste and smooth texture. The cold water draws out different flavours from the leaf and by extracting less caffeine, the tea is also more naturally healthy.
Self-proclaimed ‘tea purists’, the TWIG team hopes to give real tea the ‘chance to sing for itself’. Skipping on herbal and fruit infusions, teabags and sugar means TWIG tea thrives on simple, natural goodness.
The collection includes four different teas. Bōcha is a Japanese roasted green tea made from the twigs and stalks of the Camellia sinensis. Darjeeling – the 'champion of teas' – originates from India and is grown on the ethical, organic Arya estate, established by 18th century Buddhist monks. From China comes keemun tea, commonly known as 'king of black teas’; TWIG’s Mao Feng keemun is grown exclusively in Qimen, Anhui province, situated between the Yellow Mountains and the Yangtze River. Finally, oolong is a partially oxidised tea, balanced between the black and green varieties. TWIG uses Formosa oolong, from the Northern Hsinchu area of Taiwan, which grows at an altitude of 800m.
London’s Studio Thomas designed the tea’s packaging, creating a visual identity as pure as the product. It’s vertical orientation and simplistic label is a nod to the tea’s Japanese beginnings. Ten per cent of TWIG profits also go to charity.