behind teh, the development of the teas, and the design of the tea machine,
stands Belgian entrepreneur and tea enthusiast, Luc Van Belleghem.
that I think tea is
an incredible drink :
“ Tea stimulates multiple senses such as sight, smell and taste, which are directly linked to emotion, pleasure and well-being. So the smells and tastes of the infinite variety of tea can sometimes bring back even the most distant memories... “jam bubbling on the stove in your grandmother’s kitchen, or a cup of milk and honey sipped by the fireside…”. So many memories hidden away in one of the many drawers of our immense emotional memory, revived by a cup of tea.
Tea also comes in an infinite variety of flavours and a whole lifetime wouldn't be enough to try them all, you really can try a different tea every day of your life. It encourages curiosity and the joy of discovery.
Tea is excellent for your health, it provides tea drinkers with thousands of mental and physical benefits. No other drink has as many benefits. Its health benefits include its high level of natural antioxydants
Tea should inspire “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. »
How do you become a tea expert ?
“First of all,
you have to be driven by passion,
But the other thing I love about tea is that you don't have to be an expert to love it, anyone can enjoy it and take advantage of its benefits.
Of course, to really excel in the world of tea, you need a lot of curiosity and to perfect your knowledge through many years of tasting.
The infinite diversity of tea is there to be discovered, tamed, and above all respected. It will only give its best if we accept its requirements, from harvesting through preservation to preparation.
Tea is also about humility, you’re never a complete expert in this vast field, we have to choose, to specialise based on our preferences, or sometimes chance discoveries.
I've been drinking quality tea for as long as I can remember. It was part of the family ritual that started each new day and was carried through into the cosy lounge and deep armchairs of the afternoon.
Secondly you need luck, the luck of having a good nose, a good palate, something that’s absolutely essential in creating new flavours. Bear in mind that smell and taste are so closely linked that they are sometimes confused. Remember holding your nose when you were little so you couldn’t taste certain foods.
The third advantage is the constant desire to learn.
I’m learning all the time, with each cup of tea, even when I’m drinking it absent mindedly. I learn through travel, through meeting people, driven by never-ending curiosity. The pleasure of tea, in our fast-paced world, is also about being able to navigate around this world endlessly and without limits, it's about being able to vary tastes, perfumes, sensations, emotions, experiences and always learning without ever getting bored.
But tea is also about sharing - a cup, a teapot, an experience. Talk about tea and you’ll find everyone has something to say, a memory, a fact, a tip to pass on, good or bad, funny, interesting or not, but always something.
teh was born from the realization that
quality is not available to everyone…
“ Tea is the second most popular
drink in the world, after water.
There are over 10,000 different varieties. But drinking tea that has been carefully harvested and properly prepared is a complicated matter. From all the equipment (scales, kettle, teapot, thermometer, timer), to the bewildering choice of flavours, to knowing how to prepare your chosen tea, it's not a simple drink to make. The best teas are very sought-after and if you want to drink them you have to be prepared to learn and invest a lot of time.
what is a high quality tea ?
“A high quality tea needs high quality leaves first of all: the best leaves are picked from the first three crowns and the bud of the shrub. All the aromatic qualities and health benefits of tea (antioxidants, vitamins, fluorine, etc.) are found in the sap, which allows the tree to grow. When harvested, 98% of the sap is in the first three crowns and the bud.
Conversely, poor quality tea is harvested by machines that cut as much wood as leaves from the plant (often after the first crowns have already been picked and sold). This is then all “powdered”. This tea is enhanced with various aromas to add flavour and only has limited health benefits (2 to 5%). You would need to drink 20 cups of poor quality tea to get the same health benefits as drinking one cup of quality tea.
“But quality tea is also and above all a perfectly balanced tea, made according to a very strict principle of preparation by infusion, always with a precise ratio of water to dry ingredients and with absolute respect of the time/temperature equation. A weakly brewed tea, that is not hot enough, will be bland. Tea that has been over-infused, at too high a temperature, will be bitter. Perfectly brewed tea needs nothing added to it.” Poorly brewed tea also loses many of its health benefits.
what was the spark that pushed you
to develop the teh tea machine ?
"I was at a marketing fair 13 years ago. There was a Nespresso stand in front of me, and someone selling tea next to it. That was when I had the idea of individual portions of tea in a capsule. I had three projects in mind at the time. I went home and rang ten people I trusted, they all said it was a great idea, so I went for it.
”I spent a lot of time testing all the products related to tea: plastic sieves, paper filters, cotton filters, stainless steel ball strainers... Very few of them respect the delicacy and fragility of the taste of tea. Something else needed to be invented. The other thing that definitely convinced me to embark on this venture was the complexity and precision of the preparation that tea needs to bring out its benefits and the wonderful balance of its aromatic notes. So, access to the pleasure of tea is a complicated path that few people really know about. Many tea lovers told me how frustrating it was to mess up their tea so often or to have to drink poor quality tea bags every day because it was quicker and more convenient. Its complex preparation makes it inaccessible to a lot of people. Plus tea is the beverage with the widest variety of flavours and the most benefits for humans.
That’s why TEH was a no-brainer for me really “The intelligent tea machine” and its clever capsules would finally get rid of all these obstacles and make “quality tea” available to everyone. That’s how the dream became reality. TEH has kicked off the tea revolution, just like the coffee revolution twenty-five years ago.
Do you sometimes create recipes
without tasting the products ?
“It’s a question of practice. I can taste a spice, a fruit from a particular place, a tea from a certain garden, and I store all that information away in my memory. Then I mentally combine the flavours using this information. It's like mental arithmetic, you know the numbers, you work within certain principles and then you memorize the results through practice.
“I test teas every day and take a very analytical approach: I try, I taste, I imagine, I combine and I create, but always in tune with the consumer.” When I'm working on a new idea, I try to offer a taste based sensory emotion by stimulating the recollection of memories or by creating a new emotion. But I've always got the tea drinker in mind when creating teas.
does the perfect taste exist ?
“Not really, it’s always very personal. As a Tea Master, my point of view is very different from any other specialist or consumer. My job is to provide the perfect infusion for each tea and to build a range that allows everyone to find something to suit their own desires, tastes and preferences. The last step is then to guide tea lovers towards the right blend, the right choice to suit what they're looking for.
Everyone has their own perfect taste, it's the one you love, your favourite.