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TWG Tea Salon: Taking over Singapore one cup at a time
A stylish businessman explains why Singapore -- which grows no tea of its own -- is the perfect place to headquarter his luxury tea empire
Taha Bouqdib loves tea. And luxury. So much that in 2008 he co-founded TWG Tea, Singapore’s first and only upscale tea salon at Republic Plaza in Raffles Place, followed by another new, even bigger outlet at the swanky ION Orchard mall.
People forget that back in the days of the clipper ships and the spice routes, most of the world’s tea cargos came through Singapore.— TWG Tea co-founder Taha Bouqdib
With hardwood floors, shelves lined with large hand-painted tea caddies, rattan chairs, Louis XIV accents and some 200 blends from every tea-producing country on the planet, TWG Tea has won the devotion of tai-tais and other free-spending tea drinkers in Singapore. It's not all tea cozies and saucers. Executive pastry chef Phillipe Langlois -- a celebrity pastry chef with a rabid following in his native France -- has added a range of savory dishes, desserts and pastries to the TGW Tea menu.
With his Singapore base of operations now firmly established, Bouqdib is bent on world domination. TWG Tea blends are already being marketed in the United States through renowned foodie retailer Dean & Deluca and a flagship salon is slated to open in the massive Dubai Mall in 2010, the first in a global chain planned for the USA, Europe and Middle East.
So, with such grand ambitions in larger markets, why did the dapper Moroccan decide to establish his luxury tea company in Singapore?
"People forget that back in the days of the clipper ships and the spice routes, most of the world’s tea cargos came through this amazing port," explains Bouqdib. "By choosing to establish TWG Tea here, we are re-affirming Singapore’s pivotal role in the tea trade.
"Singapore has many advantages. First, it is not a tea-producing country, which makes it a perfect neutral base from which to do business with multiple plantations across Asia. Second, as an Asian base, we are close to our sources. We can get our teas here and processed faster and better than any European or American tea house. This means our teas are fresher and more flavorful."
And, for the moment at least, quite a bit more fashionable.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
9 Raffles Place, #01-22, Singapore
tel +65 6538 1837
Monday - Friday, 8am to 8pm
ION Shopping Mall
2 Orchard Turn, #02-21, Singapore
tel +65 6735 1837
Monday - Sunday, 10am to 10pm