Friday, August 10, 2018


It was a lovely afternoon of  steep, scent and sip  at  Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in  Burgos Circle as we spent the day with the  Tea Master himself , David de Candia

21 years with CBTL

Fascinating to learn a lot about tea from the Tea Master  himself David de Candia.  David has been with The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for 21 years now.  The affable David  buys then crafts all CTBL blends .

To date, CBTL  has 1300 stores in 30 countries.   David goes to  these countries to promote tea and to cascade everything about tea.

He has been to Sri Lanka no less than 40 times. So it was pretty inevitable that he will be   appointed Ambassador of Ceylon Tea for North America and Canada by the prime minister of Sri Lanka

20 YEARS AGO   his first trip  for CBTL was at DArjeeling India. It was a  36 hour trip from LA to Mumbai, Mumbai to Calcutta, Calcutta to Darjeeling and finally a 10 hour jeep drive to get to tea garden which was at the base of the Himalayas.

After that first experience with travel to his first tea origin, he knew he was destined  for a life-long love affair with this amazing beverage


From David we learned that CBTL source its tea from 10 different countries.They buy only from small growers or family owned farms though. Tea grows in 30 countries now around the world.

Here's the thing. They buy directly from the growers  eliminating middlemen ie  the auction traders, wholesalers, importers , exporters and finally the retailers .   A life-long relationship with growers is thus achieved.

The  oldest tea estate David  buys from , has been in the business since 1869.

The elimination of middle men  also helps with quality freshness according to David. It takes 6 weeks from the time they pick up the tea to the time it reaches their California factory via the ocean. David prepares the blend, package it in California  then to stores all over the world.


Machine versus hand-picked ?

Per the video we watched, we learned that one  needs to be really good at picking tea. There is a stick  that  helps one gauge which leaves are ready for picking.

Per David, tea can grow anywhere from sea level to  a high of   6500 feet elevation.

Those high grown, taste more floral and fruity while the low grown tea have full body flavor.

Did you know that all tea pluckers are female all around the world? That 's because  picking leaves is a delicate operation and women are known to  handle the leaves delicately and check that they only pick two leaves and a bud.

Ever wondered what is in your tea bag?

There are four types of  tea a) white  b) black  c) oolong and d) green tea. To give us an idea what a teabag normally contains, we were shown 3 espresso saucers  of tea as follows:

Has 7 ingredients including popped rice 
brown rice roasted, green tea 

14 ingredients which included cardamom, pieces of cloves, 
cinnamon from Indonesia,
orange peel, lemon peel, black pepper, pink peppercorn, 
black tea from Srilanka that are all hand selected in the chai blend. 
It took David 6-8 months to perfect this blend


David took to tasting our local food to serve as inspiration in crafting  a tea blend that is uniquely Pinoy.  He tasted dried fruits, cookies,  laid them out and tasted all and record then match it up.  The Paradise or Philippine blend is made up of  tropical fruits like Mango and  rooibos - a  herbal from South Africa 


Paradise Blend with White Chocolate Berry Cheesecake
A limited edition of Philippine Tropical Fruits and Rooibois Tea paired with white chocolate cheesecake with blueberry filling and swirls of raspberry syrup on crushed oreo crust

Moroccan Mint with Chocolate Mousse
An invigorating green mint tea paired with a light mousse o f sugar-free dark chocolate on an oreo cookie crust. Guiltless chocolate cake and signature aromatic mint tea

English Breakfast Tea  and Banana Chocolate Muffin
Crisp , smooth and medium bodied blend.  A tribute to England's tradition of tea drinking

Make your own Tea Blend Contest

We made our own tea from the ingredients given and we were chosen "the group with the best tea blend' by David himself out of more than 6 entries. Yay!  

We called our winning blend  "TEAFUNNY"  pronounced like Tiffany. Its a blend  consisting of  black tea, hibiscus, rose petals and  orange peel crafted by @boyeatworld and named by @foodiesantiph


It was  a delightful afternoon of immersion in everything tea.   The best part was experiencing how to be Tea Masters ourselves even for a few minutes.

David's talk about the fascinating world of  tea was quite an eye opener.  CBTL's ethos ...1.never compromise on quality and 2. One can never separate the human factor from a cup of tea, made me appreciate CBTL and its role in the world of tea , globally.

Seed to Cup - Two Leaves and A Bud - Hand picked & No Middleman were three concepts I took away from the few hours I sat and listened to the Tea Master David. I went home more appreciative of  CBTL. It was indeed a well-spent afternoon teeming  with new learnings from CBTL and its Tea Master

Thank you CBTL for having us and @johnbunag @teamkaladkarin for the invite.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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