Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tea Time with Pure Leaf's Tea Master

By: Alison Silveira
Entertaining during the summer makes me think fondly of barbeques by the poolside and decadent garden tea parties. A staple in summer entertaining, iced tea is a classic drink that can be enjoyed by all ages as a respite from the scorching heat and humidity of the summer. 
I was invited to the Canadian launch of Pure Leaf Iced Tea, where I joined Lipton tea master, John Cheetham for guided tea tastings. During a scrumptious luncheon in a beautiful setting, Cheetham explained how tea leaves are picked at their peak and are hand-selected for their smooth and robust flavours. With his expert knowledge and his extensive experience of having tasted up to 500 cups of tea per day in Sri Lanka, Cheetham is one of the very few tea masters skilled in the art of blending and tasting. His travels have taken him to tea estates in Kenya and Argentina, where he has seen firsthand how tea is cultivated. Cheetham is focused on creating iced teas with the perfect balance of aroma, body, and flavour. 
As I entered the Malaparte Terrace, I was offered an apĂ©ritif of woody bourbon and lemon iced tea garnished with a mint sprig. Pure Leaf's line of teas include unsweetened, lemon, and raspberry flavours. My favourite of the 3 was the lemon, which had coppery notes and was perfectly paired with the pan-seared chicken piccata. The citrus iced tea enhanced the flavour of the chicken that was accompanied with lemon caper sauce. 
What makes Pure Leaf distinctive is that no high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or artificial flavours are added to the iced teas. To quench my thirst during the hot and humid days of summer, I will certainly be enjoying a tall glass of refreshing Pure Leaf iced tea. 
Photos courtesy of Vito Amati.

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