Penelope Walsh learns how to mix tea-infused mocktails at Camellia’s Tea House ahead of its masterclass event.
The Park Hyatt Masters of Food events are a series of bi-annual workshops and masterclasses aimed at showcasing the produce and expertise of local companies and artisans from around the world producing fine food and beverages. Past events have included a spotlight on Dubai’s camel milk industry with Al Nassma and visits from a Lebanese grape maker. This week, on Saturday September 21, Traiteur will host the next Masters of Food event. It will involve a mixology masterclass, making drinks infused with tea, hosted by Park Hyatt Dubai’s mixologist and the Dubai-based team behind Camellia’s Tea House.
First launched in London’s Carnaby Street, the company was set up by brother and sister team Ajit and Lubna Madan. While Ajit originates from a banking background, his sister Lubna studied homeopathy, and her interest in natural remedies and wellbeing has become the primary concept driving the brand. The company started out focussing on herbal infusions, and it was only later as the business developed that tea itself (green, black, white leaves etc) began to be introduced into the blends. ‘Herbal infusions don’t actually contain any teas themselves, just herbs and flowers and very healthy ingredients’ explains Janette Gladstone-Watts, Managing Director and co-founder of the Product House, which operates Camellia’s Tea House in Dubai.
‘If you think of drinking a glass of water, herbal infusions have all the benefits of water, with none of the downsides of tea such as caffeine, but all the benefits of the herbal infusion as well.’
‘So Ajit and Lubna came up with teas that are good for your body based on health and wellness concepts, designed to make your body feel and also look better,’ Janette says. Among the health-focussed infusions in the range, you’ll find ‘aching muscle tea’ made with chamomile and lemongrass, ‘happy tummy tea’ with star anise and mint and ‘beautiful skin tea’ with elderflower and marigold. ‘It’s just like aromatherapy oils,’ Janette informs us, when asked how these key ingredients work. ‘For example, anything citrusy tends to detox, help with water retention, and is very up-lighting, while also being awakening and stimulating. So you wouldn’t have your citrusy teas at night, for example. Anything that’s soothing, calming and warming, like lavender and chamomile, are the teas you’d have at night, so it works much in the same way as aromatherapy.’
Going deeper, she tells us, the elderflower and marigold contained in the beautiful skin tea, for example, have anti-inflammatory properties, adding that a Facebook follower with eczema has recently claimed that the tea has actually helped to clear up his condition.
The wellbeing-focused tea company provides stocks to several of Dubai’s spas, including Amara at the Park Hyatt, Talise Ottoman at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and the upcoming spa at the new Conrad Hotel. The brand is also due to be stocked at Tom and Surge, a new concept coming from the owners behind Jones the Grocer.
At the Park Hyatt Masters of Food event, Camellia’s Tea House will be using its infusions and tea blends to show guests how to make mixed drinks with these ingredients. According to brand executive Meara Dougherty, who will be hosting the class, the best way of doing this is by brewing (effectively) a cup of tea and allowing it to cool, rather than infusing tea leaves in a beverage, as they will continue to steep until they take on a bitter taste.
At the event, Camellia’s Tea House will be making a mixed drink with puerrh tea, and Meara explains the smoky flavour of this tea is a good fit for the oak-type flavour of American rye beverages. Equally, the spice blend used to create Earl Grey tea makes it a popular choice for juniper beverages, which are made with an equally complex and oriental range of botanicals. Since tea infusions are equally as fitting sampled in a variety of refreshing juices, iced teas and mocktails, here and exclusively for Time Out, Camellia’s Tea House has adapted its recipes, with three tea-infused mocktails for you to try out at home. Happy mixing!
Park Hyatt Dubai’s next Masters of Food event takes place on Saturday September 21, featuring a tea mixology masterclass with Camellia’s Tea House, followed by a barbecue at Traiteur. Dhs450 per person. Advanced booking required. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).
Click here to view Three mocktail recipes to try