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United Kingdom

Is Lukewarm Tea The New Wine?

April 2017Words by Mr Alfred Tong

Left: Mr Raphaël Rodriguez. Right: the Fera dining room. Photographs courtesy of Claridge’s

Despite being UK’s most popular hot beverage, when it comes to pairing tea with food we rarely think beyond a mug of PG Tips with maybe a nice bit of shortbread (which isn’t height challenged bread, but actually, a lovely biscuit).  And apart from high tea in a grand hotel, we certainly don’t think of it much in a fine-dining context.

Enter Mr Raphaël Rodriguez, restaurant director of Fera at Claridge’s, who in partnership with, Mr Tim D’Offay of Postcard Teas, have set out to, “Westernise the Eastern tradition of tea” – by blending the millennia-old tea traditions of the Far East with modern European fine dining. The result is Fera’s patented ambient brew teas, which are served at room temperature, in wine glasses.

The Far East, and in particular, China and Japan, is where tea is cultivated and enjoyed in its most rarefied and refined context: “There are lots of parallels between the wine world and the tea world,” says Mr Rodriguez. “They’re both agricultural products where you have this sense of location. You get different flavour expressions depending on country, altitude, and soil, even the age of the individual tree. These are complex, amazing, terroir-driven products which come out of centuries of the finest Asian culture.” (Something to think about when enjoying a glass of £18 Hijiri Black Sun.)