Our Tea Blog | Camellia Sinensis

Blog

Green teas: What Makes a Chinese Tea Different from a Japanese Tea?

8 April 2018

at 22:37 by Social

Jun Shan Yin Zhen

Green teas… they are as many types as they are nuances. Some, almost transparent, evoke flowers; others taste like seaweed, fresh herbs or green vegetables.

There are more than 1,500 types of green teas, 80% of which come from China while others mostly originate from Japan. So what are the major differences between Chinese  and Japanese green teas?

China

In China, the most prized harvest usually takes place in March, before the Qing Ming festival (“Day of the Dead”) celebrated around April 5th. This traditional Chinese production requires a pan that is heated either over a wood fire or electrically. The leaves are then stirred constantly, by hand for about twenty minutes.

 

This dry heat, characteristic of the Chinese panning methods, liberates the aromatics, gives the tea a vegetal character, along with floral, grassy and/or grilled nut notes.

thés verts chine 3

Japan

In Japan, the first tea harvest of the year is called shincha, (“new tea”), takes place at the end of April, depending on the weather. By steaming the leaves to for seconds, the Japanese production method creates a very different green tea from the Chinese version.

 

In addition to preserving the freshly cut grass and vegetal aspect, the steaming process gives green vegetables aromas, iodine and marine notes, typical to the Japanese terroir.

8264460486_c47eb3db93_o

Resolutions 2017: an invitation to explore

30 January 2017

at 7:40 by Social

feuilles-main

The beginning of a new year makes for an ideal opportunity to live new experiences and broaden your horizons. Why not take a moment to taste new teas or try a different infusion method? Whether you are a connoisseur or a new tea enthusiast, there is always something unknown to try.

1. Diversify your infusion methods

Do you usually prepare your favourite infusion in a teapot? Take a look at our videos to learn more about each of the various ways to prepare tea.

Gaiwan

The Gaiwan is a Chinese technique that is perfectly suited for the tasting of delicate teas such as the white, Chinese greens or wulong teas. A simple and affordable tool, it enables the exploration of the wide spectrum of flavors of a tea.

Discover our Gaiwans and watch the infusion method.

Gong Fu Cha

“The time of tea” is one of the interpretations of Gong Fu Cha. It refers to the time needed and the focus that must be invested in order to master this art. This technique, ideal for the preparation of wulong and Pu Er, allows multiple infusions of the same leaves and each time exposes their distinctive character. We suggest the use of an aroma cup and taste cup to enhance your experience.

Discover our Gong Fu Cha and watch the infusion method.

Senchado

The senchado technique is used for the great Japanese teas which are infused in a small capacity kyusu teapot. Comfortable to handle, it carefully filters small leaf Japanese teas.

Discover our Senchado and watch the infusion method.

2. Try new teas

  • Green tea enthusiast? Try matcha, a very fine green tea powder that promises an exquisite tasting experience. Invigorating and versatile, matcha is also useful in the kitchen. Watch our video to learn more about its traditional preparation.
  • Looking for a delicate and fragrant herbal tea? La Rose Pourpre is a mixture of raspberry, purple basil and wild rose buds. Deep purple, this herbal tea offers support to both the digestive and nervous systems. Additionally, this mixture supports the female reproductive system and can help to regulate the hormonal cycle.

30830671666_565ef66b94_b

3. Fine-tune your knowledge

Whether to learn about a tea family or a producing region, or to be surprised by unusual pairings, Camellia Sinensis offers dozens of workshops (only in French).

Check out our Summer School Program of courses given in English!

MDCSTHE_100616-008

The Tea Master and the Samurai – Part Two

9 March 2012

at 16:36 by Manuel Legault-Roy

growth
(Continued …)
The swordsman admitted to his guest that he was also a great admirer of the tea ceremony and that he would like to see his talent in action, assuring him, that afterwards, he would be better able to advise on swordsmanship. Very happy to be able to practice his art one last time, the tea master accepted the proposal. During this ceremony, as always, the man entered a flawless state of concentration, forgetting all the worries of outside life, as well as the imminent danger hanging over his existence. His movements were fluid, dance-like, and dazzled his host with their harmony. Satisfied, the weapons master invited him into his training room to offer his advice.

He explained that in a duel, he had to greet his opponent with great respect, the way he greeted his guests in a ceremony. Consequently, it was thus important to find the same state of serenity and concentration as in the practice of his art. He could then draw his sword and place it high above his head with eyes half closed. The cry of his adversary signalled the attack, he had to lower his weapon as fast as possible and try to wound his opponent, while the latter delivered the fatal blow …..

Armed with determination and the advice of the weapons master, the man of tea went to his deadly meeting. Seeing his adversary advance, he bowed deeply and meditated. He half closed his eyes and unsheathed his weapon as the master had shown him and then waited, impassively, for the shout of his adversary that indicated the moment to lower his blade and die with dignity. The wait was long, too long. The weight of the weapon was beginning to make his arms shake when he opened his eyes.
He was so surprised to see the ronin leaving, ridiculed by the crowd –  the swordsman had realized that his opponent was tougher than he had initially thought. None of his feints or attempts to intimidate had disrupted the concentration of the man of tea, indicating a mastery of the sword greatly exceeding his own. Defeated, he could only save his life, leaving his honour behind.

The Tea Master and the Samurai – Part One

1 March 2012

at 15:12 by Manuel Legault-Roy

winner

The history of tea in Japan is greatly indebted to the many tea masters who established various rules and principles of the art of tea which make the ceremony we know today as Cha no yu. These highly colourful characters, noblemen and commoners, are figures in many fables and stories of the Japanese imagination. These representations of the four principles governing the tea ceremony (respect, harmony, purity and serenity), bring forward the deeply human side of Cha no yu. Without further ado, here is an example:

The Tea Master and the Samurai

During a trip to Edo to accompany his lord to visit the Shogun, a tea master asked for a half day off to visit this beautiful city whose wonders he had never previously explored. Unfortunately, finding no samurai guard of his daimyo to accompany him, the streets of the city being known to be of somewhat ill repute, the man of tea was greatly embarrassed. It should be noted that at that time, if a samurai felt offended in any way whatsoever by a man of a lower class than his, the warrior had power of life and death over him. The impasse was resolved by an odd idea from one of the advisers of the Lord: why not disguise the man of tea as a samurai?

Dressed in the armour of the Daimyo Tosa, no one would think to pick a quarrel with a man representing so powerful a clan. The idea was adopted, and the frail man was decked out with the armour and weapons of his Lord.

Strolling through the city, the man of tea was enjoying the fear in the eyes of commoners and the respect in those of the warriors, never before having had such regard. Yet, of course, the danger was not far away. For some time now, a ronin, a masterless samurai, was watching this strange warrior who seemed to be floating in his armour The treacherous warrior therefore decided to try his luck, telling himself that if he challenged this samurai, who did not seem to be real, and dishonoured this frail warrior, he could get hired in his place or receive a handsome sum for keeping quiet about the matter. Taking advantage of the inattentiveness of the man of tea, whose eyes were lost in the displays of the stalls, the ronin crossed his path, causing the tea master to collide with him. The masterless warrior took offence at the bold manner in which the disguised man of tea had jostled him and demanded to settle the dispute by blood and sword.

Devastated at the thought of having to unsheathe a sword that he could in no way handle, but aware that he could not shirk the challenge without bringing disgrace to his lord, the man of tea asked his opponent for a postponement, claiming that he was on a mission for his master and that dying without completing his duty would be too great a dishonour to suffer. This delay permitted, the man of tea rushed into the nearest sword school and explained his situation to the master of arms. To the dismay of the man of tea, the latter laughed and told him that he had the mentality that was missing in all his disciples who were taking lessons in the hope of acquiring more power, while that he had the determination to die with honour. The tea master’s long years of practice of Cha no yu had imprinted a deep serenity in him that left him humble even in the face of his approaching end.

To be continued ……

The importance of state of mind when tasting tea

7 February 2012

at 20:08 by john

Tea moment ...Goomtee, Darjeeling
Is there a better way to brew this or that tea ? Yes, definitely. But beyond the techniques and brewing methods, the attitude of the taster, the spirit in which we approach the tea that we chose has a role in the simple act of tasting.

Something of this can be seen when considering the difference between “everyday tea’” and “tea for special occasions”. Certain high quality teas are often more likely approached with this “attentive” attitude, their richness and subtleties additionally justifying this extra attention. Even so, any tea can be savoured everyday, rather than simply quaffed!

The various rituals practised around the world by drinkers of tea illustrate this focus on the act of drinking tea. The “Tea Time” of the British, the gathering of Tuaregs around the fire in the preparation of mint tea in the desert, the Japanese and Korean tea ceremonies imbued with the spirit of Zen meditation, or the gong fu cha of Taiwan and parts of China – fast but accurate and giving full attention to the simple activity of making tea at its best. These rituals, far from being outdated pretences from different cultures, reflect the “special attention” that can be brought to tea, affecting, at least, the spirit of the brewing. In finer detail, every leaf can be worthy of attention.

It is possible to do something like this on daily basis, to “take a tea break”, to sit for a few minutes, breathe, and enjoy tea. The atmosphere will certainly play an important role: certain environments work better than others to bring calmness and receptivity. Open mindedness is essential in a tasting. Believing the taste to be already known could result in missing how it actually tastes! Drinking tea can be a good time to cease to anticipate – to “switch off”. Anyone who has infused the same tea repeatedly knows that it does not always show the same aspects, some stronger or softer notes, found one day, might not necessarily emerge again, meanwhile some other flavors, previously unknown can present new surprises ….. So, by paying attention to the tea in front of us, we are also paying attention to ourselves and our senses, and much more likely to identify our tasting impressions.

One marvellous thing about tea is its close relation to the concept of “the present moment”, unique in the sense that there is no tradition of a “Way of Scotch Whisky” or a “Way of Cheese,” but there is a “Way of Tea” in virtually all the different Asian traditions … Maybe there is something about the “je ne sais quoi” of this widely cherished elixir!

 
 

special collection

Welcome to the Special Collection
Here you will both find Teaware and Teas created by some of Asia’s most talented craftsmen.

Visit