TILY Tea: Combining Traditional Chinese Medicine With The Art Of Drinking Tea

When I think of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it often conjures up memories of my grandmother endlessly simmering some nefarious dark bitter liquid and force-feeding it to me later.

This then leads to a lot of back and forth, sometimes with bribery (usually with candy). And more often than not, ending with me in defeat and huffily swallowing the concoction.

Not to mention, the TCM hall is this mysterious yet fascinating repository that’s stocked wall-to-ceiling with roots and herbs of every size and shape. It’s understood by a shorthand that only your grandmother and the genial uncle behind the counter seem to share.

Needless to say, I don’t have the best impression of TCM despite its long-proven history and a laundry list of benefits.

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Enter TILY Tea, a brand that aims to illuminate the wonderfully enigmatic world of TCM through the art of drinking tea. By using those same TCM ingredients with the addition of delicious florals, TILY Tea brings you an array of tea tonics that not only make for a good cuppa but also comes with a myriad of health benefits.

With a dainty, clean and feminine design, you wouldn’t have guessed that these teabags contain the likes of AstragalusCodonopsis and ginseng.

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Credit – TILY Tea (Geraldine, left; Michelle, right)

TILY Tea is helmed by cousins Geraldine and Michelle, but the tea on TILY Tea really begins with Geraldine. Geraldine and her family found themselves playing a very terrible game of musical chairs, each one taking turns falling sick. Not a fun game at all, if you ask me.

In her quest to strengthen her family’s immunity without the use of Western supplements, Geraldine turned to TCM. First, she used Chinese root herbs that were familiar to her like Codonopsis which already appeared regularly on her dining table in soups.

If you had a grandmother like mine, you’ll know that boiling and preparing these Chinese tonics takes up a substantial amount of time. A laborious and tedious process, boiling huge pots of tonics wasn’t working for Geraldine either.

With a little research, Geraldine discovered an easier way to consume these Chinese herbs and it was to steep them, just like a tea.

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By steeping these roots, Geraldine found that it resulted in a much lighter and more palatable taste profile. One, that even her young daughter requested a second serving of. Emboldened and encouraged by the positive response, Geraldine let her cousin, Michelle try her new brew.

The moment Michelle tried it, she was hooked and wanted to share this with the world.

To further enhance the tonic, Michelle and Geraldine use different flowers such as rose and osmanthus as well. These flowers not only add a lovely fragrance to the tea but have inherent benefits as well—but more on that later.

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Michelle had been spending her time between Melbourne and Singapore, managing her retail business over in Melbourne and coming back to Singapore to be with her family.

With Geraldine’s flair for creating different blends and Michelle’s understanding of customer psychology, TILY Tea was born. Of course, getting TILY Tea up and running was no easy feat. With almost no experience in the F&B industry, Michelle tells me it was quite a daunting task for both of them.

“There’s never a straight road to this,” laughs Michelle. As challenging as it was, all these new details eventually started to come together.

Now, you’ll spot TILY Tea in TANGS Orchard and at fairs where either Michelle or Geraldine will explain to you the many benefits of their tea. Having spoken so extensively to Michelle about the conception of TILY Tea, I knew I had to try these unique brews as soon as I can.

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I began with Morning Shine (S$16.90), one of the brews that TILY Tea recommends you take in the morning. In a sunny yellow packaging, this mix comes with Ginseng, Ginger, Red Dates, Osmanthus, and a sprinkling of indigo Forget-Me-Not flowers.

Think of this as your morning cup of coffee, but even better. Ginseng is known as one of the kings of cognitive stimulants, so expect a definite zing of energy that helps you remain focused sans the jitteriness and anxiety.

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From the moment I steeped the tea in hot water, those pungent notes from the ginger were already tickling my nose. For TILY Tea, the longer you steep their tea the more intense and potent the ingredients are. So, it’s really up to you to decide how much of a pick-me-up you need.

On the first sip, you’ll detect those spicy gingery notes that linger on your tongue. Accompanied by the earthiness and slight bitterness of those prized gnarled ginseng roots, followed by the sweetness of those red dates. You’ll be surprised by the subtle almost chocolatey quality from the red dates.

While Morning Shine is not as strong as coffee, I appreciated how the ingredients were more revitalising and gradually energises you than pummel you with caffeine.

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A tea that is great for anyone who doesn’t want to dissolve in a bundle of nerves during the caffeine high. Not to mention, ingredients like osmanthus are full of antioxidants, so you’ll be glowing and full of vitality—what’s not to love?

Now, this is not to alienate all our coffee drinkers out there but if there is an option to cut down caffeine, I don’t see why not.

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Perfect Pairing (S$16.90) had to be one of my favourite tea of the bunch, just like its name suggests this mulberry tea is a good companion to have during meals. Chock-full of Mulberry Leaves, Mulberries, Bergamot Peel, Jasmine Blossoms, this one was fragrant to boot.

The enticing and almost heady scent of Jasmine Blossoms was what drew me in at first, and the plum-coloured tea was one of the prettiest so far.

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It’s no secret that Singapore is a foodie paradise, but all that goodness does come at a price. The perfect pairing, with its mulberry fruit and leaves, this will help to regulate blood sugar levels and cholesterol if you scarf down a few too many youtiao sticks.

Not only that, the mulberries have this almost savoury quality to them. Not tart like raspberries or sugary like strawberries, my take is that they are somewhere in the middle. You’ll relish every drop like I did.

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If the afternoon slump gets you a little down, Through The Day (S$16.90) is the one you’ll gravitate towards. The most herbal of the bunch, Through The Day tasted the most traditional from the pack. With Codonopsis and Astragalus as the stars of the show, it’s no wonder.

Astragalus and Codonopsis are your veterans of the TCM realm so you know you’re in good hands. Known for their anti-inflammatory properties, these two powerhouses will keep you in the pink of health.

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With a deep-ochre hue from the Marigolds and honey caramel quality of Snow Chrysanthemum, this cup was akin to a warm, comforting hug. While Through The Day had the most ‘medicinal’ quality, the florals helped to temper and balance the tea.

I liked this more than I thought I would. Coupled with the natural digestive aid qualities of this blend, Through The Day will help if you overindulged during lunch.

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Given the hectic nature of our lives, winding down is more important than ever. That’s why Evening Calm (S$16.90) is truly a salve for our busy and stressful lives. With ingredients like Longan, Goji Berries, Red Dates, Lavender, and Chamomile, it’s sure to melt the pressure away and envelope you in a hug.

A little sweet from the Logan and Goji Berries, while the soporific Lavender and Chamomile calmed me down to get ready for bed. Of course, Michelle tells me that this tea is not only suited for bedtime. Anytime you feel a little anxious, take a breathe and prepare a cuppa.

Like all of TILY Tea’s teas, these are all caffeine-free. So, you won’t be lying awake unable to get that much-needed shut-eye.

As an avid tea drinker, I’m glad to add TILY Tea to my repertoire. While the fetching pink packaging was one that caught my eye, I was more won over by what Michelle and Geraldine are striving towards with their use of TCM ingredients.

With their modern packaging and accessible teas, they are lifting the veil over the previously unfathomable world of TCM.

It’s a gap that TILY Tea aims to bridge and you won’t see me pinching my nose and turning away when drinking these teas. An excellent and gentle introduction to TCM, TILY Tea will leave you feeling invigorated and curious about TCM.

Expected Damage: S$16.90 for a box of 10 herbal tea bags 

Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5


611A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269713

Our Rating 5/5


611A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269713