Thursday, October 1, 2020

For the Passion of Tea

Anfal Fekri, the first Master Tea Sommelier in the Middle East and the founder of Silver Tea Leaf Consultancy is a strong believer in giving back to the society and is constantly working on social causes to make the world a better place. Read on to find out more about her aspirations, passion and how she got involved in starting her tea company.

Tell us briefly about yourself?

My name is Anfal Fekri, I am the first Master Tea Sommelier in the Middle East from the International Tea Education Institute and the founder of Silver Tea Leaf Consultancy that has been established in 2014. I have established this firm aiming to introduce a Speciality Tea Concept in the Middle East by providing consultation and training services to the hospitality sector as well as to the tea enthusiasts in the region.

What has been your inspiration?

Inspiration is a major word; I would say what inspired me is the history of tea and how the history of tea contributed to shaping the world today. We see today that Japanese green tea tastes differently than the Chinese green tea and that was due to how the monks brought tea plants to Japan however what makes them taste differently is when Japan (Kyoto) decided to isolate itself from the whole world and by they continued using the same techniques (steaming) in manufacturing tea unlike China. Also how the opium war happened between China and Great Britain just for the Britain to get tea from China that motivated the British to plant tea in India and Sri Lanka after a disease affected the Sri Lankan coffee crops and finally the Boston Harbor tea party that was one of the main factors to earn the United States independence in the 18th century.

You see how major events happened in the past that either shaped the history because of tea or the other way around. In the past tea was only consumed by the royalty and diplomat that the working class couldn’t afford it at all, but today tea is available to everyone and everywhere, which we should be thankful for.

What have been the major challenges of your life so far?

The major challenge that I have faced so far in Silver Tea Leaf is introducing new ideas and concepts to the hospitality industry as well as to the consumer’s experience, which is slowing everything else in the business. The concept of Tea Speciality still seems new to people who would hear about it, while with coffee, people are demanding coffee from different origins and that is prepared using different techniques. Despite that, I see the great potential that this field would grow.

What are the other fields that you are into or interests you?

I am a strong believer in tackling issues and causes like, Climate Change, Animal welfare, Children and Woman rights. Through the new tea product that I have just launched, I want to showcase the importance of these causes to people in this region to inspire them and motivate them to take serious actions towards these matters.

How can someone get in touch with you?

Call us on +973 77191777
Email us: info@silvertealeaf.com
Visit our office in CH9 in Amwaj Lagoon.
You can follow us on Instagram on @silvertealeaf.

Have you participated/held exhibitions in Bahrain or in any other place? Give us a list of the last few.
We have been involved with several Exhibitions and have been conducting workshops since 2014. We have provided our services to Ritz Carlton in Bahrain and some of BMMI restaurants as well as we had conducted the chocolate and tea pairing show in the Chocolate & Coffee exhibition last December 2016. We have collaborated with Bare Chocolate (a Bahraini chocolate brand) to conduct the pairing and the results have been great. We have also conducted the Bare & Tea workshop last March where many food bloggers joined the workshop and Last but not least, we have also conducted the Art of Tasting Tea workshop.
What is your message to the aspiring entrepreneurs of Bahrain?
I would tell them to have the confidence to and have the will to be in the field of entrepreneurship. It is never an easy journey, but knowing that you have worked hard and given in your maximum efforts to make your business succeed, is the most rewarding aspect of the business. We all know what is our true calling or what we need to do in life, all that you need to do is to listen to that voice and do it!
Any interesting project/business ideas you are coming up with in the near future?
I am happy to announce that I have recently launched a special tea collection to support the young and start-up farms in India by showcasing and selling their organic teas. I truly believe in sustainable and ethical practices when it comes to tea and I want to educate people on the importance of supporting the young farmer and to assure the continuity of tea in the world.
Our teas are sourced from different states in India, where every kind of tea taste uniquely different than the other one, many of the tea provided are rare and not found anywhere else in the region. Furthermore, 10% of our profits shall be donated to the farmers to purchase tea planting machinery and help the farmer’s children’s education!
You can follow us on Instagram on @silvertealeaf to get more details on how and where to get these speciality teas from.

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