The Wellbeing Group (TWG) Tea
TWG Tea, the finest luxury tea brand in the world, was established in Singapore, historically a trading post for teas, spices and fine epicurean products. TWG Tea stands for The Wellbeing Group and was founded in 2008 as a luxury concept that incorporates unique and original retail outlets, exquisite tea rooms and an international distribution network to professionals.
TWG Tea tasters travel thousands of miles across the globe every year, sampling hundreds of teas in search of the most desirable harvests direct from source gardens. Offering over 800 single-estate, fine harvest teas and exclusive blends, as well as tea patisseries and other tea-infused delicacies, TWG Tea is internationally recognized as a true innovator with the creation of new varieties of tea every season in collaboration with the world’s most renowned estates.
We caught up with Mr. Taha Bouqdib, President, CEO & Co-Founder of TWG Tea, in his offices in Singapore.
Career & Beginnings
How did you get involved in tea?
During my childhood in Rabat, Morocco, I lived with my family next to the Chinese Embassy and the Embassy would often offer us calendars and Chinese tea during the Chinese holidays. This was my first discovery of tea after Moroccan Mint Tea. Later in Paris, a friend who was already working in the tea industry gave me the opportunity to rediscover those same tea harvests that I had tasted during my youth. From that day on, I realized that I would be indelibly linked to this spiritual beverage.
After working in the luxury tea industry for 20 years in France, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Japan I became very passionate about introducing the world to the finest quality teas and recognized an opportunity to create a new niche luxury following in Singapore, where with my partners, we revolutionized the industry in 2008 when we founded TWG Tea, thereby creating Asia’s first international luxury tea brand offering the largest selection of the most exceptional tea harvests in the world.
What is your vision for TWG Tea?
My vision for TWG Tea is to create a global luxury tea brand in Asia for the world, by introducing the largest collection of teas in the world from every tea-producing country and bringing this tea savoir-faire from East to West.
What is one thing people need to know about tea?
Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, next to water. Incidentally, water is also one of the most important factors to making a good cup of tea!
Can you explain tea blends, please?
As the brand’s tea innovator, I blend tea, fruits, flowers or spices in order to create unique and imaginative blends – just like a perfumer. It is of utmost importance to ensure a balance between the strength and flavor of the tea leaves and the ingredients used to blend the teas so that no one flavor should stand out.
I draw inspiration from the most unexpected places – from the exquisite flavors of a new dish, to the aromas of a Moroccan souk, to the style and fashion trends of a New York fashion show. The realm of haute couture fashion and the world of TWG Tea are so similar – they both are celebrated fields of creativity, relying on an intangible tastemaker – the designer – to define how you will want to dress and what you will want to drink each season.
This is an art, and is based not only on a complete and deep knowledge of the product and customer preferences, but also on my own personal taste, which I want to share with tea connoisseurs and tea lovers around the world.
What timepiece do you wear?
I fell in love with the sophisticated Monsieur BOVET that is presented in a magnificent handmade limited edition green guilloché dial, it is one of my favorite timepieces!
Why do you love timepieces?
I am particularly fond of timepieces due to the intricate details that go into the design and creation of the timepiece. Luxury exists in these minute details which are handcrafted by the finest artisans, which come together to give you a sense of luxury. Luxury in itself doesn’t exist; it is a state of mind and how wearable the timepiece is for the individual.
What do teas and timepieces bring to people’s lives?
Tea has long been used as a means of connection between friends, family and new acquaintances. Tea is all about taking your time, and as time is a luxury, tea has invariably metamorphosed into a luxury of its own accord. Everyone can connect a memory or a feeling to tea and that is what makes it so significant. TWG Tea offers to be that connection into a rich history of traditions for the modern world.
Much like a luxury timepiece, the perfect cup of tea is never created in a single moment. Creating a perfect cup of tea is in the act of creation, met with a moment’s inspiration… Tea is time, time alone, spent reflecting, as well as time with others for a joyous celebration!
What sort of tea blend would you create for BOVET?
I would begin with a black tea, made with the finest plants from Yunnan, China, which pays homage to BOVET’s outstanding legacy in Imperial China. My inspiration for the tea blend would be the fruits and florals which are native to China and Switzerland.