The All Blacks Sevens are accustomed to plying their trade on the rugby pitch.
But for three of the All Blacks Sevens – Trael Joass, Sione Molia and Iopu Iopu-Aso, they took a break from their rugby training for an afternoon… to learn the art behind the perfect cup of teh tarik.
As Singaporeans and Malaysians know, teh tarik, which literally translates into English as “pulled tea”, is a hot milk beverage that is made by cooling hot tea through the process of pouring and pulling it between two cups of mugs to create a rich, frothy drink.
Participating in a cultural exchange event
Together with a handful of players from the Singapore National Rugby Team, the three players had been participating in a cultural exchange, where the local players also learnt more about the science behind the perfect New Zealand coffee.
The Singaporeans taking part had been captain Marah Ishraf, Nicholas Yau and Nashrul Hadi bin Hanafi.
Held at Baker & Cook, Bugis Junction and organised by Air New Zealand
The event was held at Baker & Cook cafe in Bugis Junction, and was organised by Air New Zealand, the official airline of the All Blacks Sevens. The All Blacks Sevens are in town for the Singapore leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series this weekend.
When I first got to Baker & Cook, I had been immediately greeted by throngs of people; including media and members of the public.
Testing out Air New Zealand’s innovative new coffee ordering application
People were apparently being given the opportunity to test out Air New Zealand’s innovative coffee ordering application which is available at selected Air New Zealand lounges and Air New Zealand Koru clubs. Coffee can be easily customised according to individual preferences, for example, if you want your coffee stronger or else if you want trim milk instead of whole milk.
Media were also invited to try the application; it was very easy to use, and all we needed to do was to press a few simple buttons in order to customise and send in our order. As I prefer to limit my caffeine intake, I ordered a hot chocolate with trim milk, and this order came out perfectly.
Those ordering the coffee also got the chance to line up outside the restaurant and were served by the three All Blacks Sevens stars. Many of the fans had seemed overwhelmed to come face to face with their idols, and they let their colours show, by wearing All Blacks jerseys or else bringing memorabilia such as rugby balls and scarves for the players to autograph. The players were also quite obliging, agreeing to every autograph and selfie request.
Local players learnt more about New Zealand coffee
When there had been no more queue waiting outside, we then moved on to the second part of the schedule, which had been for the local players to try making Kiwi coffee. Each of the three were tasked with a different type of coffee – cappuccino, flat white and latte.
And in the end the flat white had won – according to the Baker & Cook staff who had judged the competition, it was because the amount of froth was the best, and the heart shape art was also more pronounced compared to the other two coffees.
All Blacks Sevens making teh tarik
Then was the fun part: The All Blacks Sevens learning how to make teh tarik. They all crowded around their instructor and listened carefully and attentively, as he showed them what to do.
The main consensus, however, was that upon tasting the local beverage, all of the three All Blacks Sevens players had felt that the teh tarik was sweet compared to anything that they are used to back home.
But they gamely tried their hands at making the drink; honestly I thought that all of them were pretty natural with the pulling of the tea, deftly and expertly doing so without really spilling much of it on the floor. Their efforts were greeted by thunderous applause from the media present and I even heard one member of the media jokingly remark that they had found a new job after retirement!
And regarding the taste of the three portions of teh tarik, the local coffee master tried all three versions and he remarked that they all tasted the same. I am not sure whether he was simply trying to be polite, or if it was because the three cups had been prepared with exactly the same recipe!
Photo and autograph requests to end the session
The event then ended, unsurprisingly, with the players obliging to photo and autograph requests from Baker & Cook staff, as well as from the members of the media who were present at the event.
All in all, I think that it had been a rather interesting experience for the All Blacks Sevens players – and one that they probably would not forget in a while.