Launched in 2006, Gryphon Tea Company traces its history to Lim Lam Thye Pte Ltd, a family-owned tea importer established over 100 years ago in Singapore. This week, we speak to the brains behind the brand – Lim Tian Wee, a fourth generation member of the family, to learn more about what motivates and inspires him to continuously reinvent himself and the brand, so as to remain at the forefront of the tea industry in Singapore.
With such a rich history in the tea industry, how do you feel the industry has evolved over the years?
Tian Wee: Brands are now more in tuned with gourmet trends, thus new ideas quickly become old. The development of technology has also been a game changer for tea companies. Technology has allowed for companies to have more accurate statistics for ever-changing consumer behaviours, and for new ways of developing tea and tea products. The shift to more ready-to-drink beverages has also transformed the way consumers appreciate tea and tea beverages, and is the way the industry is heading towards in the future.
We completely agree! It’s been 12 years since Gryphon first launched. What is it about tea that has kept you passionate about the business all these years?
It will definitely be seeing our tea blends being enjoyed by our customers, and hearing all the positive feedback! This positive reinforcement and engagement with our customers is what keeps me motivated in creating more exciting blends and ideas.
Gryphon has clinched many awards over the years, including the Great Taste Awards and The Monde Selection. Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how is your tea blending process like?
My inspirations come from associating teas with memories and daily experiences. My travels also inspire me greatly. When I was in Florence a couple of years ago, the hotel that I was staying in had a lot of Bergamot (orange flowers) which we don’t get in Singapore. Every day when I was there, I was trying my hardest to register the scent of these flowers in my memory, as I wanted to inject the flavor and note into our Earl Grey tea. Eventually, this ended up being our Earl Grey Neroli Tea.
What surprises you most about people’s tea choices?
Actually their choices do not surprise me at all. I respect their choices of tea, and I think this is really subject to individual preferences. There is no right nor wrong in tea. My own preferences for tea has transformed through the years, from when I was a young boy, compared to now!
Why did Gryphon transition into creating cold brewed teas?
We wanted to offer a quality product that would excite the palette. Our Botanically Cold Brewed Sparkling Teas are cold brewed for 12 hours using Gryphon’s artisanal teas, with fruit juices and fizz – perfect for sunny Singapore.
How did you come up with the flavour pairings for the cold brews?
It’s really hard to put into words! I would call it intuition.
What do you feel is the best way to enjoy Gryphon’s cold brews?
Amongst loved ones, and definitely chilled or iced.
We dig Gryphon’s cold brewed sparkling Osmanthus Sencha with Passionfruit ($6 per bottle) – made with tea leaves from their Osmanthus Sencha ($20.33 for 20 silken sachets), which won 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards 2012. Their cold brewed sparkling teas are also made from all natural ingredients, sans artificial sweeteners; colouring or flavouring! Double win! These are available for pick-up at NomadX (Level 3, Plaza Singapura).
As part of this brand spotlight, purchase any 2 bottles of Gryphon’s cold brewed sparkling tea from teapasar’s store at NomadX, and receive 10% off your other in-store purchases*!
*Discount valid until 22:00, 11th November 2018 only. Valid for full-priced items available and purchased at NomadX only.