I was never a fan of tea. I started drinking coffee while I was in law school. The habit grew during all those sleepless nights, and study groups. That was the time when coffee culture started gaining headway in Manila. Starbucks introduced us to the idea that it is hip to drink coffee.  Way back then, we spent our student allowances to drink and be seen sipping coffee off those white and green paper cups. Shortly thereafter, other coffee shops following suit. That said, tea did not become a big thing in Manila till late. I did not think I’ll grow fond of it until my last visit to the Manila Peninsula.

See my post here:

Teatime at the Pen

This became a turning point for me, especially with the way I view tea. I had always been partial to Japanese green tea, genmaicha. My favorite is the one with toasted rice. The scent is intoxicating. It is perfect after a big meal. You never feel bloated after. It is like magic. But for breakfast, or afternoon breaks, it had always been coffee for me.

Afternoon Teatime at the Manila Peninsula; Photo by Michelle Africa

I guess the Afternoon Tea Buffet at the Peninsula paved the way for my tea endoctrination. I chose Love Me Tea by TWG to go with these tea delights. It was green tea, with a scent of berries. It was the perfect combination.

I became more curious, so I visited the TWG salon to bring home this tea for me to enjoy. At this point, I was ready to give up drinking coffee.  And in its place, opt for tea as my go-to hot beverage. When I entered the salon, the confusion set in. There was way too many choices. Just like shopping for perfume, I was sniffing samples of the tea I was ready to take home. I told myself, I will bring home the Love Me Tea. But after trying several teas, I was drawn to the 1837 Green Tea variant. Still green tea, but with hints of red fruits and caramel. The TWG website describes it as a fragrant fantasy. And I could not agree more.

My tea came in this gold spherical teapot, which I wish I had on my breakfast table!

My Tea at TWG; Photo by Michelle Africa

I am on a mission to try more teas in the future. But for now, I will enjoy my new fave. I can bring it with me everywhere. Just like this weekend, I sat on the grass. I enjoyed the cool breeze off the ridge of Tagaytay City. Me and my cuppa.

Tea at the Tagaytay Ridge; Photo by Michelle Africa

P.S. This article originally appears in my personal blog, Chowpowwows, where chow is always on the lowdown.