When The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® brought in their Master Blender and Global Director for Tea, we found the perfect opportunity to share his knowledge with tea-loving Filipinos.
In a special tea workshop held in BGC, participants had a rare chance to learn from David De Candia’s decades of global tea expertise.
Here are a few interesting things we learned:
1. The Tea Master is not how you picture him in your head
It’s fairly easy to imagine a Tea Master as someone who resembles a monk from a 70’s Kung Fu movie. After all, tea is often associated with bearded Zen gurus who seem to speak only in riddles.
David is far from that typecast, however. Born and raised in the Bronx, he wears hoodies and walks with a certain spring in his step. While his quick wit easily fills any room with laughter, nothing captures his audience quite like his incredible passion for tea. Watching him lead people through the cupping session, it’s easy to see why he’s a sought-after expert in the industry.
2. All teas come from the same plant
While Green, Black, White, and Oolong sound like different plant varieties, all these teas actually come from the same bush—camellia sinensis. The difference lies in the amount of controlled oxidation that they undergo during processing. Black tea is the most oxidized, Oolong teas are semi-oxidized, and Green tea isn't oxidized at all. White teas, on the other hand, are picked before maturity.
3. Hand-plucked teas are better than machine-harvested teas
In the case of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, only the most flavorful parts of the bush are harvested. This means that only the bud and the top two leaves can be plucked from every branch. Harvesting machines cannot distinguish between leaves, so everything must be done by hand if true quality is a priority.
4. …and they are picked early in the morning.
Who knew that the time of harvest affects the taste of tea? According to De Candia, tea leaves start losing moisture when the sun is at its peak, so leaves must be plucked early in the morning.
The taste of the finest quality teas depends on many minute details like this.
5. There exists a Filipino Tea blend
Tea might not exactly be a major crop in the Philippines, but that hasn’t stopped local demand from growing. More Filipinos are drinking tea, in fact, that De Candia himself has decided to collaborate with top Filipino chefs and create a series of tea blends that capture the flavors of the islands.