We love to experiment at East Forged HQ and often collaborate with people on fun tea projects.
We joined forces with Cheryl Teo from Flag & Spear to combine Jun Xian (a milk oolong tea from Taiwan) with Starward whisky once… a certified Tea Sommelier, winner of the 2017 Tea Masters Cup (AU & NZ) in Tea Preparation and always on the look-out for new and different tea; we chat with Cheryl in this month’s blog!
Thanks for being part of our shake, pssssch, POUR movement and community!
1. It could be said that you were Australia’s first intentional tea and food host running an impressive line up of events with Flag & Spear. What was your motivation in creating these types of tea and food experiences?
The tea and food experiences actually came about when I had to write an afternoon tea menu as part my tea sommelier certification. I cheekily invited a chef friend over to taste some teas and “talk about food”. (Read: do my homework for me). By the end of the session, we had written an eight-course tea-paired menu. My friend loved the idea of tea and food pairing, and was interested in cooking the menu if I could find a venue and sell enough tickets to cover our costs. I, on the other hand, was extremely interested in eating our menu, so I went and found a venue and sold some tickets.
We had so much fun in the process that we subsequently put on a series of tea and food paired events. In short, my motivation for creating these events was wanting someone to do my homework, followed by wanting to eat some really good food. After that, it became more about tea education and using the events as a platform to champion pure leaf artisan teas.
2. If you were to design a tea & food experience for your best tea friends what would be the hero course?
With my tea besties, I would share my personal favourite tea & food combo - Ochazuke! There's something so comforting and cosy about hot tea over rice.
3. When not being Ms TEA(O)🤣 you are an engineer by day. There is a bit of a rumour that engineers (broadly) bring a pretty solid tea game. Fact or myth? [To let you in on an inside joke I (Kym) once sent tea to Cheryl’s offices addressed to Ms TEA!]
I was away from the office that week, and there was much speculation amongst my colleagues over the package addressed to Ms. Tea that still made it to my desk.🤣
I think that being an engineer doesn't predispose one to love tea, but the engineers who do love tea tend to run full pelt into tea nerd territory. When competing at the Tea Masters Cup International in 2018, roughly a third of the judges and participants had an engineering background! My theory is that tea combines a scientific/technical element along with a creative element, which appeals to an engineer's sensibilities... definitely to this engineer's anyway. 🙋🏻♀️
4. You're invited to a party, you can only take one of the East Forged crew with you (Mico🐵 Stay Wondrous | Notsu🐷 Live Connected | Saka😼 Forge an independent life) with you. Who would you take and why?
I'm glad that you clarified Mico, Notsu or Saka. I thought for a minute that you were asking me to choose between you (Kym) and Tania. Naturally, I'd wrangle another invitation and bring you both. As for the East Forged crew, I would bring Notsu. As a fellow piggy according to the Chinese Zodiac, I fully resonate with someone who would stop to have a snack and a nap in the middle of a race. (Look up Chinese Zodiac mythology if interested in the story.)
5. How would you describe our East Forged brews? Who do you think they would appeal and when would you crack one open?
There are two key aspects of tea that captivate me - connectedness, and flavour.
Connectedness: I often describe tea as the great social lubricant, without the intoxication. Just think back to the secrets you've shared over a cup of tea, or the times you've put on the kettle to prepare yourself for an awkward conversation with your mum.
Flavour: Few beverages exist that match tea in terms of complexity and range flavour, that don't also contain sugar or alcohol.
East Forged just nails the brief in both aspects. Bursting with flavour and with a beautiful texture reminiscent of a craft beer, it's the perfect non-alcoholic non-sugary non-boring substitute in social situations where one is the designated driver.
I myself am partial to a beer after work in the summer, but when East Forged is in my fridge, I definitely reach for that instead!