Many decades ago, for a school assignment, I undertook the task of seeing how far back I could trace my ancestry. Given my limited resources, I was only able to go back a few generations but it was an interesting project nonetheless.
In this particular respect I find it a little hard to relate to someone like Stephen Twining, who can trace his ancestry back at least ten generations. Which is only since they got into the family business of tea selling. Of course, Twining is only one of the latest branches of the Twinings family tree. It’s a family who have been doing their thing for hundreds of years now and have made quite a respectable name for themselves.
For more background on the founding fathers of the Twinings dynasty check out our previous articles on Thomas Twining, who got the operation rolling all the way back in 1706, and third-generation Twinings guy Richard Twining, who steered the company through some interesting times for the British tea industry in the late eighteenth century.
Stephen Twining has served as a sort of goodwill ambassador for Twinings since around the turn of the century. He embarked on a “global tea journey” in 2005 to commemorate the company’s move into their fourth century. The tour kicked off in December in Singapore and Thailand, with Twining hitting many points around the globe after that to spread the good word about tea.
It’s a journey that continues – presumably in a more relaxed fashion – to this day. If you keep tabs on tea news you’ll see that Twining has held forth in several interviews with Asian papers this summer. One of those interviews, with China Daily, was conducted when he was in Shanghai to give a presentation.
Twining revealed that while he does also drink wine his years in the tea business has not dampened his enthusiasm for the fruits of the leaf. He claims to drink up to 15 cups daily and says “anything less than 9 is a completely unsatisfactory tea-drinking day.” A tea drinker after my own heart, Twining claims to love Assam tea – a black tea from India – best and cautions against the “uncouth” practice of ruining tea by adding sugar to it.
Much of the rest of this particular interview, not surprisingly, dealt with questions of tea drinking, culture and production in China, a nation that pretty much had a lock on the business when Thomas Twining kicked things off three-plus centuries ago.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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