Splenda Chai Trail, Chennai

100_4406Chennai, October 29, 2013: Splenda, the no-calorie sweetener from the house of Johnson & Johnson, organised a tea-tasting session at the Hyatt Regency, Chennai. The session was anchored by eminent Tea Sommelier Mr. Sriram N, for a select audience of journalists and food-bloggers.

We were first treated visually with a corner of the room neatly displaying some of the most exotic varieties of tea, packaged luxuriously in packets, boxes and attractive tins. 100_4405Then commenced the tasting journey, with Mr. Sriram brewing rare and semi-rare teas like the ‘two leaves and a bud White’, the ‘bud White’, the ‘green’ and the ‘orthodox broken’ and the audience was asked to smell and feel the leaves before going through their subtle, yet distinct flavours.  Each tea-tasting was done first without any sweetener and then with the addition of Splenda artificial sweetener, so that we notice the fact that the sweetener is a good no-calorie alternate to sugar, while leaving no bitter after-taste. We were also enlightened with tips on the perfect method of infusion, which I’m sure will change the way the average tea drinker perceives it.

100_4393Our tea-master was also kind enough to educate us about the complete process of tea-manufacturing, which surprisingly kept everyone attentive and the whole session interactive. Another highlight of the session was the host explaining us the medicinal benefits of the infused tea, out of which, my personal favourite was that it can be rubbed on pet-dogs to remove ticks.

Also present at the event was renowned nutritionist Dr. Varsha, who responded to critical questions related to using artificial sweeteners as an alternate to sugar.

The session was wrapped-up with a decent selection of snacks at high-tea, while my brain couldn’t register any taste of the snacks since perhaps I was still under the spell of the lingering aroma and the after-taste of the teas.

–          Aamir Rahman

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