How did your passion for tea begin?
'I have always enjoyed a cup of tea, but when I moved to London I realised I knew nothing about it. Working at The Rosebery has introduced me to the tea world by serving very knowledgeable tea guests and seeing how passionate people are when they taste unique tea blends.'
Tell us a little about your role at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
'I am very passionate about artisan tea making. My main role is to make sure we serve our guests the best quality tea and continuously spread the word about all the different tea flavours as well as the beauty that is found in pure tea.'
What is unique about The Rosebery tea offering?
'The whole process is unique and exciting. All the teas served at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London are brewed in the traditional eastern way. It is very important to respect the amount of leaves added to the water quantity the temperature, and most importantly the brewing time. We brew most of our tea back of house so that we know every cup is perfect and our guests are always getting a consistent product. All of our staff are highly trained in brewing and we have organisational systems in place to ensure we can easily manage during busy periods. Our most exceptional teas are brewed in a Gong Fu Cha style for our guests at their table, which allows them to experience the art of tea making in the traditional Chinese style- something that most people will not have seen before. Additionally, all staff members in The Rosebery are familiar with the tea selection we serve so that they are able to give paring advice with our afternoon tea delights and our all-day dinning menu.'
What do you think is the key to the perfect tea service?
'The key to the best tea service is a smile! You can only smile when you are confident about the tea you are serving, you understand the product and the procedure involved in brewing the tea leaves.'
What do you look for in a tea supplier?
'In hospitality we are all about engagement. From the beginning of service we do our best for our guests so they can trust that the job we do is genuine and always the best value for them! The most important part of working with a supplier is to have a trusting, respectful relationship and the dialogue between us has the same level of passion and enthusiasm. I certainly get that with Canton. I also believe it is essential for the tea leaves to be ethically sourced and have clear provenance stories so the tea-makers, tea masters and gurus elevate the tea-making process to an art form and are famous for their craft.'
Who is the coolest person you have ever served tea to at The Rosebery?
'Anyone who asks questions about tea is super cool to me. It shows that what I am doing makes sense and I take pride in sharing my knowledge with others. Then there is the ultimate and coolest individual who goes even further and tries our Gong Fu brewed Rare & Limited teas.'
Canton is stranding you on a desert island with matches, a cast iron kettle, a tea set and one tea, which tea would you take?
'First thing that comes to mind is Obubu Shaded Sencha. The sweetness and umami notes of this tea gives and extraordinary grassy taste which could be accompanied with some tropical leaves.'
What is your ultimate tea and food pairing?
'I am currently working on this as part of my studies and it is amazing to see how tea can boost a flavour in the food it is paired with. Some time ago, I was given some aged cheddar cheese to be dipped in matcha honey by my close friend and amazing tea expert Chiara …it was absolute heaven.'
What do you think is the future of tea?
'The future for tea is very bright. We've seen a surge of interest in the more unusual, exclusive, small batch teas and this can only be good for traditional tea farmers who can focus on producing pure, high quality leaves, so full of flavour and aroma. '