November 12, 2009 / 7:13 AM / 8 years ago

Couture comes to the tea cup through luxury blends

3 Min Read

<p>A tea garden labourer plucks tea leaves at the organic tea garden of Temi Tea Estate in India's Himalayan state of Sikkim October 10, 2009.Tim Chong</p>

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Haute couture has come to the tea cup, with a luxury tea retailer launching collections to complement the colors, scents, trends and tastes of each season.

Singapore-based TWG Tea, set up last year with the aim of infusing the ubiquitous drink with new levels of luxury, is offering patrons a combination of new and existing blends in the collections that echo the trends on global runways.

"We want to bring couture into tea," TWG Tea Chairman Manoj Murjani told Reuters.

"Our inspiration will be nature, the seasons, what's happening in the fashion industry and what we see in our travels. We aim to blend that into our products."

Fashion is something Murjani knows well -- he was the former brand-building executive who helped shape U.S. designer label Tommy Hilfiger among others.

And like designer labels, TWG Tea is already working on its autumn/winter 2010 collection. The spring collection, which debuts next year, will feature cherry blossom infused tea, in keeping with the blooming of the flower in Japan.

Taha Bouqdib, the firm's president, said the collections are also a way to bring "affordable luxury" into people's lives, especially amid the global belt-tightening that has stemmed from the financial crisis.

"We feel the world needs some more color, some more luxury, because it's been a hard year for everybody," he said. "With our attention to detail, and the quality of our product, everyone can feel special, at an affordable price."

Each tea in the collection is also chosen for the story it tells, with TWG's debut offering of six blends of green and black teas inspired by the Indian and Moroccan heritage of Murjani and Bouqdib, and their partnership.

Like perfume, one of the teas is scented with musk while another blend, the "Maharajah Darjeeling," taps into the popularity of Indian and Eastern inspired fashions.

The first collection will also feature prominently at London's luxury retailer Harrods and at outlets of food retailers Dean and Deluca in the United States.

Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Jeremy Laurence

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