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Bristol Chai launches its crowdfunding campaign!

27 March 2017

at 10:27 by Social

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Bristol Chai: the start of a new adventure!

This spring, Gabriel Svaldi, proud member of the Camellia Sinensis since 2009, will open the first chai bar in Quebec, right in the heart of Montreal (Prince Arthur and Clark). A charming ambiance and setting that combines Montreal’s dynamism and India’s warmth, wrapped with the unique combined scents of spices and homemade pastries.

On March 27th, Bristol Chai will officially launch the Bristol Chai crowdfunding campaign. Join the community and its unique cultural and gastronomical experience!

Watch the video to learn more about the project (in French): 

Bristol Chai, un bar à chai à Montréal

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is an innovative way to launch a company where the “project initiators” offer a reward in exchange for a sum of money meant to finance the launch. This approach helps to develop an involved community around the project as the donors are likely to become future clients which favours the launch process.

Ulule was chosen as the crowdfunding platform, a world class association with a dynamic team, mainly because of their passion of entrepreneurship. Intrigued? Find out more about them right here.

Why is Bristol Chai launching this campaign?

There’s no doubt Bristol Chai has come a long way since they’ve embarked on this great adventure, however, they need additional support from the community for the final steps of this project.

Truth be told, for Bristol Chai it’s much more than a simple fundraising as it will help them open the first chai bar in Quebec. To help them accomplish this, they’ll still need to build our centrepiece: a wooden U-shaped bar as well as improve the kitchen gear and also implement a distribution network.

To know more, follow Bristol Chai on Facebook.

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How to get involved in the project?

A chai bar in Montreal sounds like your cup of tea? Here are a few ways to get involved:

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Our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

28 November 2016

at 10:15 by Social

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The countdown is on – a few short weeks left before wrapping those holidays gifts! To help you save time, we’ve compiled a handy suggestion guide filled with original gift ideas for everyone. Meaning less time running around shopping and more quality time spent with loved ones.

 

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India Nepal 2016

20 April 2016

at 16:37 by Seb

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Arriving in India just a few days later then usual I soon realized that I had cut it pretty tight.  The First Flush had started a week earlier than usual and I had already missed a couple of good teas.  Once the first rains had stimulated the gardens into their spring growth it has gone dry.  This initial dry spell had really boosted the quality of the early teas.

IMG-20160331-WA0021The next big precipitation had all fallen in one valley but had arrived in the form of a vicious hail storm that had caused serious damage to a few Gardens in Darjeeling East (See Garden Map here). The damage was so extensive that Risheehat, Arya, Happy Valley and parts of Orange Valley will be out of action long into the Second Flush.  Though hail is becoming more common at this time of year it was the most serious storms for decades.

I began this year’s Darjeeling tour out east near the Bhutanese border in the gardens of Snowview/Kumai and Samabeong then swiftly moved on to Glenburn and Namring.  All these gardens had been doing extensive planting particularly Namring who had uprooted many hectares of old assamica plants to replace them with popular AV2 clones.   I picked up a delicious tea from Namring from their old classic plants high at the top of the garden.

From there it was on to Thurbo.  Last year we awarded JD Rai the superintendent at Thurbo the Camellia Sinensis Award for Excellence.  He has been making a tea for me for a few years now that has been a consistent highlight of our catalogue.  This year they made 2 exceptional teas for us one a very special small batch.  Once the work was done we settled around the office computer to watch the documentary that La Semiane Verte filmed last year as they all featured in it especially Parminder Singh the manager.

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Kevin

Aged Teas, in the Cellar : Changing with Time

8 February 2016

at 10:00 by Seb

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Since we set up our cellar in 2007 with our early Pu Er teas, I am always fascinated to taste the effect of time on the teas. Some teas in the cellar are available in the catalogue, while others have been removed to allow them a few years to improve.

It’s time to release a few of these teas for you to enjoy. The Xiangming 2006, a purchase made during my first trip to Yiwu, the 2007 Lincang which was our first galette from this prefecture of Yunnan and the Mengsong 2009, among the first cakes pressed ourselves with tea we selected as Maocha in the villages.

There are also some teas that we sold quickly back in 2007. We had put certain quantities on reserve to offer them to be released a few years later…… So longterm clients will be excited to hear that limited quantities of Pu Er 1997-A and Pu Er 1987 Fu Zi Zhuan will be available once again!

DSC_0037It is a pleasure to open cellar door and offer you five teas that have improved with age. Just in time for the Chinese New Year – Year of the Monkey.

Though producers in Yunnan usually sell their entire annual production, the Cantonese merchants will conserve their teas for decades in order to sell them later. As the teas improve with each passing year, prices increase, traditionally the prices change at Chinese New Year.

We also follow this tradition, and while in the Chinese market certain rare teas, and those in demand, sometimes rise by more than 50% in a year, we envision an increase around 15-20%. Clients interested in taking advantage of the 2015 price for your favorite Pu er have a week longer than our Chinese friends.  Camellia Sinensis apply their increased prices on February 15.  So pass by a store or order on the web before the 2016 prices come into force.

Happy Year of the Monkey!

Jasmin

The Role Water Plays

8 January 2016

at 9:11 by Seb

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Tea is a perfect example of the concept of terroir. A tea which is said to be “of a specific terroir” is created and distinguished by the environment in which the plants were grown, the artisanal expertise with which they are transformed, the particular climatic conditions of the vintage, etc.

This notion of regional terroir is also applicable to spring water. Each water is characterized by the geology through which it has filtered, the salts and other mineral traces it has absorbed that are perceptible to the senses. Think of each type of water as a “taste snapshot” of the source from which it flows.

For tastings, a water with low mineral content works well with most teas. Each ones varied mineral composition has a different effect on the release of the tea’s flavour chemistry  making it  interesting to experiment with different “pairings”. A reaction of two chemistries from different terroirs that create a specific synergy and perhaps enhance different facets of a tea that you already know well. Here are three combinations of teas and spring water that I find have noticeably tasty results:

Laos Pu er Phong Sali 2015 with water from Fiji

This artesian well water is striking, marked by a long mineral persistence. Infused in this water, Phong Sali 2015 develops sweet and fruity aspects reminiscent of ripe peach and apricot. Despite its usual imposing tannic structure, the liquor resulting from the infusion in Fiji spring water is particularly ample and smooth. A perfect match for an invigorating tea!

Chi Ye with Acqua Panna water

This basic water, slightly sweet, with a pleasant density brings out the unique character of Chi Ye. The pairing emphasizes its impressive aromatic expression while solidly maintaining the integrity of its light structure. The liquor is bright and lively, slightly oily with a silky texture. A pairing that illustrates the balance between the tactile and aromatic.

Kabusecha Takamado with Evian water

The highly mineralized water of Évian-les-Bains enhances the sweet berry flavors of the Kabusecha emphasizing a subtle minerality. This combination also highlights the smooth texture and a remarkable roundness in the mouth. Even with a prolonged infusion it has only a moderate bitterness with an absence of astringency. Infused in this way Kabusecha Takamado will also appeal to fans of round and delicately sweet green wulong.

The differences another spring water brings are often subtle so there are a few preparation details that impact on this type of tasting. For example, wait until the temperature of the liquor cools permits better perception of its nuances. Also, the use of a neutral vessel such as glazed ceramic is essential for this type of objective tasting.

Why not try one of these pairings at home and share your experience and insights with us.

François Napoléon

A constant search for balance

20 October 2015

at 11:33 by Seb

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Myriam Bouchard has been focused on ceramics for ten years. She was formerly a graphic designer for twenty years, during which time she collected ceramic pieces with passion. She made it her craft by attending many ceramic workshops in France, the United States and Quebec.

Myriam loves the contact with the clay; this medium of infinite possibilities is the one that is closest to her sensibility. Initially focused on ceramics for the table made on the wheel, her work has taken a more sculptural turn for the last five years. She works with different types of firing: wood, gas and electric.

“I like the surprise when I open the kiln, especially when I work with reduction of the oxygen (in  wood and gas kilns), the surfaces become so alive that the outcome cannot be predicted accurately, this is the beauty of this art. ”

Myriam Bouchard-157She is touched by Japanese ceramics, particularly how young Japanese ceramists combine modern design and traditional firing in the anagama kiln.

Myriam loves making tea bowls and it is often with these that the ceramicist develops the glazes she then transposes to her large works. She has as much fun designing a tea bowl as a large work, “I find a meditative side to being in the centre of the workshop, to work a bowl on the wheel with music that transports me. ”

Always very preoccupied with the ergonomics of the bowl, she assesses it and sculpts it at several stages of drying until the weight is balanced and the bowl is comfortable in the hands. She also pays particular attention to the lip, so that the bowl feels good and the tea flows well.

“My pleasure is really to develop my ceramics, to always explore new avenues. I grade each firing and I only put on the market the pieces that meet my criteria. I am not concerned with the quantity, I am happy with a small production rate, it corresponds to a calm rhythm of life that suits me. ”

She won first prize at Carac’Terre and second prize in the competition Terre et Thé 2015, Chawan category, from 1001 pots.

LOCAL POTTERS

Meet the Quebec artisans who are passionate about the objets and art of tea. Every four months, pieces by a different designer will be presented in this unique showcase, giving you the chance to enjoy the great quality and diversity of the work of some of our local potters.

THE ART OF MR. KAMADA

2 September 2015

at 9:27 by Seb

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Here’s a text from our new book ’Green Tea: The Quest for Fresh Leaf and Timeless Craft freshly translated into English and now on sale.

Mr. Kamada has been practicing the art of pottery for over forty years. He has ded- icated the better part of his work to developing a modern and original vision of the Tenmoku style, which goes back to the Chinese Song dynasty [960-1279] and was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks in the eighteenth century.

Mr. Kamada is one of the rare modern Japanese ceramists who have dedicated their life to creating pottery in the Tenmoku style and to researching its history. The fascinating glaze effects and the overall quality of his works have made him one of the most respected potters in Kyoto. His works are exhibited in many of Japan’s most prestigious galleries. Since 2005, his most recent creations have also been part of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Upon meeting Mr. Kamada, we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his work, his methods, and the art of pottery.

M. Kamada et ses oeuvres

AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. KAMADA,
 A POTTER FROM KYOTO

Mr. Kamada, after over forty years of practicing the craft, ou have certainly developed a personal approach to pottery. What do you need to work?

I only need concentration and a suitable workspace.

What influences and motiva es you in your work?

Before, I was inspired and influenced by the great tradition of ancient ceramic arts.
 I studied this subject, but reproducing this type of pottery is no longer a goal for me. Nowadays, I am more inspired by other forms of art or by nature. My main interest is to produce original works in the Tenmoku style. I get excited when a museum or the Japan Crafts Association invites me to exhibit my works. It is very stimulating to have this opportunity to show new works.

What does it take to be a good potter?

In my opinion, to always keep exploring is the best attitude. I learn a lot from my mistakes. For example, no matter how much I try to control the glazing, the effects are always different.

What is your view of the art of pottery in present-day Japan, in com- parison with when you started?


When I began my career, there were many young potters and this art was very much alive. Since then, pottery has become quite diverse. Today, it is increasingly about design. It seems that the original character of a piece of pottery no longer has the same value. Consumers from all over the world can buy pottery without even touching the pieces. In an ideal world, I believe that people should have the opportunity to touch and hold the pieces before buying them. 

Other works by Mr Kamada are available in our stores on Emery Street in Montreal and in Quebec.

Ask our experts to show them to you when you next visit. An unforgettable experience guaranteed!

Three exceptional teas from Kevin 2015

19 August 2015

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With such a diverse collection of excellent teas this year choosing 3 to write about was no easy task for me.  Here are 3 from among my favourites..

Temi 1st Flush Clonal Sikkim SK-4 

At the beginning of the 1990’s, when I started buying teas in the Himalayan region, the favoured young cultivar was the T78 with its rich full-bodied ginger/peach notes.  Around 2005 the planters of Darjeeling realized that the peak flavour period for this plant was very short lived and the T78 fell rapidly from favour.  Most was uprooted to make way for other cultivars and very few gardens now retain quality sections of this delicious leaf.

Temi just over the River Teesta from Darjeeling is one great exception.  This year’s SK 4 is one of the best teas they have produced during recent difficult years and it has a full T78 flavour profile….like a blast from the past.

Darjeeling 1st Flush “Heritage” Classic Singell  DJ-5 Organic Fair Trade 

When the First Flush Darjeelings arrive they are fresh and very ‘green’.  During the first few months we have the opportunity to follow their gradual development and stabilization as they ‘mellow’, this precious period would have been lost in transport in the early days.  Among the earliest plantings in the Darjeeling Region the ‘Heritage’ plants of Singell are some of the finest in the region.  The DJ 5 is made from these plants and was deliberately made a little ‘greener’ than my other Himalayan selections of 2015.  This great example of a Classic Darjeeling is slowly developing to reveal a tea of beautifully sophisticated balance, precision and exceptional definition.

Darjeeling 1st Flush Clonal Badamtam  DJ-17 Organic

Part of being a tea buyer is continually keeping your finger on the pulse of your region of specialization.  A garden that is making great quality now may loose control next year just as a ‘quiet’ garden might suddenly improve as the necessary variables align to make great tea.  Badamtam have been making solid, upper- medium quality teas in recent years but this year they pulled a few really fancy teas out of the hat.  The DJ 13 is a great example of quality clonal cultivation and manufacture.  A light, bright and consistently floral tea at a surprisingly good price.

Just three of a ‘must try’ collection of 2015 Himalayan teas,

Cheers,

Kevin.

AN ENCOUNTER WITH MR. NAKAHARA, A POTTER FROM HAGI

23 July 2015

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Here’s a text from our new book ’Green Tea: The Quest for Fresh Leaf and Timeless Craft freshly translated into English and now on sale.

Mr. Nakahara, how did you become a potter?


In Hagi, pottery is a local industry. Since I grew up in this city, I have always been close to this art. Many artisans lived close to my home. When the time came to choose a career, I naturally thought of becoming a potter.

Some Hagi pieces have a notch on their bottom. Why is that?

There was a period during which people were not authorized to use the same pottery as the emperor. To identify the bowls that were not intended for him, potters inscribed a notch. This tradition is still alive today.

In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good potter?

To begin with, to make good pottery, you must be skillful. You must have agile fingers. I believe that dexterity is a crucial part of pottery technique. You must also know how to use the potter’s wheel. When I work, I think about pleasing my clients, about what format would be most useful for them, and so forth. The elegance and beauty of each piece are things I am very concerned about.

I also believe that one can sense an artist’s humanity through his work. Analyzing a work of art is difficult for amateurs as well as professionals.à 

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Even if they are not experts in pottery, most people feel something mysterious when they see or touch a piece. I believe that they can intuitively feel what kind of a person made the piece. So I think a good potter should have a positive outlook in his everyday life.

People say that the present-day Japanese have neither beliefs nor principles. I don’t agree; I think that we all believe in something. Pottery is the mirror of an artist’s way of life. I don’t think that a buyer chooses my pieces randomly. I believe that you recognize me through my work.

How do you view the art of pottery in contemporary Japan, com- pared with the period when you began?


The pottery industry in Japan is very respectful of tradition. That being said, young potters have more difficulty if they don’t come from a family of artisans who pass the torch from generation to generation. Maybe young artists are not given their fair due. Potters who have been established for a long time are highly respected by people in the industry. Their pottery is very expensive. This is how it was in the past and the situation has not changed.

Three Exceptional Teas from Jasmin 2015

14 July 2015

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Long Jing Bai Ye: being a great fan of the green teas Anji Bai Cha and Long Jing Shi Feng, the combination of the cultivar of the former and the transformation of the latter makes a tea which for me is a perfect balance between herbaceous and roasted fragrances! This unprecedented tea showcases the full expertise of Mr. He in both cultivation and the transformation of tea!

Bai Hao Jingmai Bio: A Chinese Bai Hao !! ?? From a meeting with some Taiwanese in Yunnan and visiting their certified organic plantation, Cing Shin, at 1200m for a magnificent day, totally charming for me with my love of the mix of different cultures. An everyday black wulong with spicy accents that could confuse fans of Taiwanese teas!

Feng Huang Hong cha: a black tea from Guangdong made by the Liao brothers with the wulong tea cultivar Mi Lan Xiang. The tea combines the fruitiness of Dan Cong teas with the cereal nuances of Chinese black teas. Unique and persistent! Perfect with a Speyside scotch!

 
 

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