JING – meaning ‘essence’ in Mandarin, is also the name of the sophisticated British tea company set up by Edward Eisler.
A seriously seasoned fine and rare British tea expert, his mission is to redefine the modern tea ceremony, drawing on Asia’s rich source of ancient and cultural tea rituals.
JING teas can be enjoyed within the world’s most celebrated restaurants and five-star global hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, InterContinental and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Edward himself also is also the tea advisor to Michelin star chefs such as Heston Blumenthal (Fat Duck and Dinner, UK), Thomas Keller (Per Se, New York), Joel Robuchon (Atelier Robuchon) and Pierre Gagnaire (Sketch) to name a few. He offers signature training and consultancy on the art and science of tea service and how to serve the perfect cup of tea every time. Edward also held the UK’s first Tea Sommelier course, attended by leading hotels including The Savoy, Brown’s and The Ritz.
Reena Patel met with Edward over a hot brew at London’s Sketch to find out more.
LM: What inspired you to enter the world of tea?
EE: I firmly believe that tea should be one of the pleasures of everyday life. I was primarily inspired by culture, especially the quality and form of tea cultures in China and Japan, coupled with the rich history and devotion to tea in the UK. China has long been the heart and home of tea and supported the luxury tea sector. In fact, some 10,000 varieties are produced in domestic China, with the highest level of tea connoisseurship ingrained within its very roots. I felt that it was time to elevate British tea culture to embrace such Far Eastern traditions. Teas should embody the essence of its origin within its taste, alongside the living culture that supports it. I love to travel and have extensively [over 100,000 miles in the last three years alone] to source exceptional teas.
LM: Tell us how you try to ensure the perfect cup of tea is served every time?
EE: All of JING’s teas are carefully selected from a range of definitive tea growers across Asia. As well as all the efforts that go into sourcing and producing our teas, for the ultimate experience, we have designed elegant teaware made from the highest quality bone china and glass, known as ‘JING ware’. It is meant to replace old-fashioned teapots, which can commonly ‘stew’ teas rather than steep them well to enjoy them at their best.
LM: What is the most expensive tea you currently offer?
EE: The fashionable and highly sought-after JING Wild Wuyi Gold tea. A favourite amongst Beijing connoisseurs, Wild Wuyi Gold is renowned for its rich, seamless and complete flavour – syrupy with malty and honey-like notes. Handpicked by artisans from ancient 100-year-old trees in the Fujian region of China, it is so exclusive it costs £90 for 10g, which equates to £30 per cup, making it the most expensive black tea available in the UK.
LM: What is your favourite tea from the JING range?
EE: For me, tea is both a way to relax and enjoy life, depending on the mood and occasion, so I have more than one favourite. I like to drink oolong, specifically Traditional Iron Buddha, which is deeply satisfying with its sweet honey character and peachiness. I also enjoy Lishan, named after a highly scenic area in Taiwan. It is a real contrast to the aforementioned oolong, with its fresh, high floral notes and is refreshingly delicious. I also enjoy Puerh teas [only made in the south of Yunnan Province in China]. They are best when aged and can be worth up to £100,000 per kilo. Another is Cassia, a refined, complex tea with ample richness and unexpected citrus aromas.
LM: Where is your ideal luxurious destination?
EE: As well as my deep level of interest in China, I also love Italy for similar reasons: the food, environment, people and the culture.
LM: What is your biggest luxury in life?
EE: Living. Embracing cultures and rituals, which I feel are fast diminishing in society, knowing how to understand what is good produce and equally, how to relate such time-honoured traditions to modern-day life. I also feel a big luxury is to have your own kitchen garden, where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables and then cook, or prepare meals with them. It’s deeply gratifying and a valuable asset that is easily accessible to many.
LM: Who is your favourite luxury designer?
EE: I really appreciate John Smedley for his understated pieces with high grade, quality materials used. The kinds of cotton are superior and crafted well and that for me is hugely important when sourcing great products, no matter what they are.
Jing Tea – Where and how?
JING Wild Wuyi Gold and all other JING teas are available to purchase from www.jingtea.com