Tea time with Victor Koh

‘Time is about infusion’

Claude Bernard celebrates the craft of tea making with ETTE TEA founder, Victor Koh

We meet the food lover with a penchant for travelling who ended up telling his Singapore story in tea.

Profession:

First generation tea maker and founder of ETTE TEA

Before ETTE TEA:

My first foray into the world of food and beverage was when I joined Singapore airlines in 2006. Travelling, meeting people and eating all kinds of food fuelled my interest & helped shaped what I wanted to do. It gave me the opportunity to attended culinary courses and wine programmes which refined my palette. I left the airline in 2009 and I shuttled between, France, Switzerland & Singapore for the next 2 years while completing my hospitality degree. In 2012, I joined the tea industry

The leap of faith:

I remembered very clearly sharing the idea of making a kaya tea but was scoffed at as kaya was not “atas” enough and did not aligned with the brand image of the tea companies that I worked for. It was at that point that I thought if I wanted to do my tea flavours, I would have to strike it out on my own. ETTE TEA has since launched Seri Kaya tea in March, in with collaboration with renowned Singapore illustrator MessyMsxi during Singapore Design Week with Singaplural 2017.

My inspiration:

Food, people and culture. My tea blends are a representative of who I am as an individual. It is my own personal Singapore story.

Tea blending philosophy:

Objectives. Balance. Emotions.

Objectives - What and why are we making the tea blend? Would we want to create a wellness cocktail for the health benefits of the additives we use or simply for the gourmet & artisanal factor of creating an exquisitely crafted tea blend that brews well in a cup?

Balance.

1. Aesthetically beautiful dried leaves

2. Rounded & balance bouquet or aroma

3. Taste & structure of the mouth-feel

4. Finish

Emotions - Tea blending can be an exercise of empathy where tea leaves & herbs are put together to invoke a feeling or to tell a story of the tea maker.

Dare to be different:

Making local flavoured tea

#goals:

We want to stay true to our brand identity of boutique craftsmanship.

ETTE TEA is also expanding to overseas market.

Last but not least, BAK KWA TEA. Akan datang.

Time to a tea maker:

Tea infusion is about timing. Time is about infusion. A good brew is about grasping the right infusion time for a particular tea. It should be just right, not too long or too short.

Time to Victor Koh:

Time is opportunity

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