Interview with Award-Winning Tea Designer, Bernadine Tay

I've always been a huge fan of teatime, but I never really knew much about tea. What's the difference in blends? How do you pick the best one to go with your snack? How long are you supposed to brew tea? Should you really add milk and sugar? Where does it come from? How is it cultivated? What determines quality?

As you can see, I had a ton of questions on my mind and was looking for answers!

I'm so excited to share with you this interview with award-winning tea designer, Bernadine Tay. Bernadine has been passionate about tea her entire life and now runs her company Quinteassential where she creates blends not only for customers, but also for collaborations with luxury companies for quality experiences. 

Bernadine Tay

Usually when I do interviews, I already know quite a bit on the topic and can guide the expert into conversations I know you'll find juicy. But this time was a total learning experience for me, and I learned way more about tea than I imagined, so much so to the point where I know I'll cherish each cup of tea I have moving forwards. 

In this interview, here's what you'll learn:

  • Black tea, green tea, white tea, herbal tea, floral tea...what's really "tea", and what's not!
  • How to identify the quality of tea (it's not what you think!)
  • Truth behind using sugar and milk
  • What temperature to use and how long to brew your tea
  • What time of day is best for each kind of tea
  • more!

Go ahead and listen to the podcast below!


Helpful Timestamps

[0:00] Introduction and a day in the life of Bernadine

[8:02] What interested you in teas?

[11:38] What "teas" are really "tea", and which are not

[14:23] What is different about the processing that makes the tea white, green, oolong, or black?

[17:49] The epiphany I had on processing where everything finally made sense on colors

[19:08] How long to brew tea, and at what temperature

[21:00] How to develop sensitivity to different flavors of tea

[21:45] Why do so many teas taste different despite only being 4 different types?

[26:15] How you can appreciate and enjoy tea more

[27:30] What are your thoughts on adding milk and sugar?

[31:40] Different flushes and timing of picking teas

[33:15] Difference between quality of tea vs grocery store tea (it's not what you think!)

[34:50] Question from listener: What are your thoughts on adding rose?

[36:30] Where do teas originate from?

[39:50] Which tea experience do you like more, Western style or Eastern style?

[42:12] What are you looking for when you're judging tea?

[44:15] Tell us more about the work you're doing with Wedgwood

[47:02] Is there any misconceptions or mistakes you see people make with their tea?

[49:25] How to make ice tea

[50:34] What time should we have different kinds of teas? (from morning to night)

[52:43] How do you recommend listeners make the most of their tea experience?

[57:10] How can people learn more about you? (Links are also at the bottom of this page)


Awesome Tea Facts

90% of what we taste actually comes from what we smell
— Bernadine Tay

Did you know that herbal and floral teas, aren't really "teas"? 

In the tea world, only white, green, oolong, and black teas are considered "tea". And, all 4 of these teas come from the same plant! The difference between these 4 teas is the level of processing. Mind. Blown.

Tea quality can be determined by when it's picked during harvest - not just the processing. For example, Darjeeling picked in Spring is going to be of higher quality than when it's picked in Summer (most store-bought teas are late harvest).

Useful links on Tea and Bernadine

Quinteassential Homepage
Follow Bernadine on Twitter
Follow Bernadine on Instagram

Try Bernadine's Unique Blends:
Signature Tea (Black Tea)
Imperial Early Grey (Oolong Tea)
Green Flamingo (Green Tea)
White Elixir (White Tea)