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Tea 101: The Perfect Teapot Infusion

18 June 2018

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What makes a great infusion? Well everyone has there own personal preferences, so it is important to judge your own infusion with the confidence that ‘you know how you like it’. Here is a very simple guide to help you move towards brewing your perfect teapot infusion every time. Don’t forget that though teapots are the most common and practical tools for brewing tea, experimenting with a Gaiwan, Gong Fu Cha or Senchado can often enhance your tasting experience even more.

White tea

  • Dosage: 3g/250ml (2 tsp)
  • Duration: 5 to 7 minutes
  • Temperature: between 65 and 90 degrees Celsius. A lower temperature is recommended for teas with unmolded buds (Bai Hao Yin Zhen), and a higher temperature for buds with silver to black buds. (ex: Darjeeling Avongrove)
  • Tips: try drinking white teas in a small volume of water, in a Gaiwan for example, to appreciate all the subtleties.

Yellow teas

  • Dosage: 3g/250ml (1.5 tsp)
  • Duration: 4 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 75 and 85 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: Prepared in a Gaiwan, yellow tea will have the strength of a green tea, and in teapot, it will rather have the sweetness of a white tea.

Chinese green teas

  • Dosage: 2.5-3g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 75 and 85 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: Try Chinese green teas in a Gaiwan!

Japanese green teas

  • Dosage: 2.5g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 60 and 85 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: The senchado technique is recommended for the highest grades.

Wulong

  • Dosage: 3g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 4 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: 95 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: It is suggested to rinse the leaves so they unfold more easily, and to use a brewer large enough for the same reason.

Black teas

  • Dosage: 2.5g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 85 and 95 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: The more the leaves are broken or crushed, the lower the brewing time should be.

Pu Er

  • Dosage: 2.5g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 6 minutes
  • Temperature: between 90 and 95 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: It is suggested to rinse the leaves for at least 5 seconds.

Enjoy!

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China: Francois brings back an exceptional tea!

11 June 2018

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Every spring, François Marchand scours various tea producing regions of China in search of ultimate quality leaf. This also gives him the opportunity to meet producers, who are his longterm friends, visit their gardens and discover some new teas.

Being a tea taster sometimes means spending entire days tasting hundreds of teas to find THE perfect one for our catalogue. As part of his research, François frequently uses “comparative tasting”, where he sequentially tastes several grades of the same tea, infused with the same parameters. He first examines the dry leaves, then the infused leaves, and then finally tastes the liquor. It’s a lengthy process that often involves several infusions in order to to note a degree of persistence.

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Last April, during a comparative tasting of Wei Shan Mao Jian (one of our most beloved teas over the last 7 years), François was struck by their grade 1, a small batch of very prestigious tea. When he tasted this year’s batch he simply couldn’t resist bringing it home for us to taste it.

This sublime green tea comes from Mr. Wang’s certified organic garden where his son, a graduate of the Tea University, recently took over the garden. A complete, harmonious tea to enjoy through many infusions. We recommend using a gaiwan or a beaker to discover all its nuances.

Note: this tea is offered online and only in very limited quantities (500g in total were produced). Do not miss out on tasting such an exceptional tea! It is also a perfect opportunity to compare it to our regular grade Wei Shan Mao Jian, more frank, but just as delicious.

Enjoy!

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Tasting Notes: 2018 Wei Shan Mao Jian

10 June 2018

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Alexis, tea consultant at our Quebec boutique, recently shared with us his tasting notes for the 2018 Wei Shan Mao Jian, a Chinese green tea from Hunan.

Specs: Gaiwan infusion, 5g., 80 °C

First and foremost, beautifully twisted, dark green leaves and plenty of buds. A subtle hint of hay, wild flowers and pollen.

First infusion (40 seconds)

The infused leaves transform from dark to pale, with uniformity. Powerful notes of toasted-buttered, hazelnut, snow peas and vegetable sugar begin to release. Bright and slightly hazy, the liquor is of a lovely pale emerald colour. On the palate, its silky texture offers a vegetal scent, slightly tannic with sweet persistence.

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Second infusion (1 minute)

The second infusion offers more floral and zesty notes with a slightly toasted edge. On the palate the liquor is more rounded like a floral style Japanese sencha.

Enjoy.

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The Quest for Fresh Leaf

6 June 2018

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Since 1998, our team of four tasters scour various producing countries every Spring in search of the ultimate quality leaf. This tradition makes it the most exciting time of the year for our both our loyal clientele and, of course, the entire Camellia team. The return of Francois, Jasmin, Hugo and Kevin is always an exciting time.

Exceptional Quality

When it comes to selecting teas, we chose to do it first hand: directly on location, each and every year. It is this unusual approach that allows us to vouch for the quality of all our products. It is paramount in our approach to see the gardens, get a feel for the teas and how they’re produced. Furthermore, each of our four expert tasters have explored their specific region for many years building relationships with the suppliers, and accumulating expertise as buyers. The result is a unique knowledge of key tea growing regions bringing you World class teas.

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Fresh Arrivals

There’s nothing like tasting tea fresh from the harvest. It’s a unique treat for your tastebuds. At this time the aromas and flavours are at their most explosive. While the quality of a well preserved tea is always great, it’s never quite the same as those first few weeks. Thus the yearly excitement that our whole team enjoys, tasting these fresh new arrivals. As for some of the Grand Crus….magic moments.

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New Discoveries

Tasting a newly discovered tea can be so exciting but the same can be said about rediscovering the new harvest of an existing tea, the natural similarities and differences that vary year after year.

Experience the unique freshness of springtime arrivals: pass by one of our stores to chat with our team and taste our new selections. Enjoy the bonus of a few great travel anecdotes.

Enjoy!

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Tasting: sparkling teas

2 June 2018

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Sometimes, our team likes to think that they’re scientists and try to test test certain mixes while at the office. While times they can be successful, other times…. a little less;)

Jean-François and François-Napoléon, manager and assistant manager of our Émery store, were curious about creating sparkling teas. They chose to infuse tea in Eska sparkling water, at room temperature, for an hour with a dosage of one teaspoon per cup of 250ml. A spectacular tasting experience for thrill seekers, as mineral water enhances the flavours by adding a salty side!

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Here are the sparkling teas they created, and their thoughts:

  • Feng Huang Hong Cha: with its dominant woody and strong fruity and exotic accents, it was a real revelation!
  • Organic Bai Hao Jingmai: Surprising, with its hint of clove – worthy of a chai.
  • Gyokuro Okabe: amplified by minerals, it evokes the saline and vegetal power of algae and oysters!

Do you dare to try?

Enjoy!

Sencha: 3 Distinct Styles

14 April 2018

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Steam and fire (for roasting) are two essential elements of the transformation of Sencha. These two processes are largely responsible for the tea’s flavour and aromatics.

In Japan, steaming is used by almost all producers but they don’t all approach it in the same way. By exposing the leaves to different levels of steaming, they are able to create three distinct styles of sencha, each with specific nuances.

Asamushi Style

Obtained by a short steaming (20 to 40 seconds), asamushi style Sencha can often be identified simply by the leaves remaining whole. Light and slightly tannic, their ample taste is reminiscent of green vegetables and fresh grass.

Fukamushi Style

With a longer steaming (80 to 200 seconds), we get a Fukamushi style. The leaves become softer and easily breakable, due to the longer steam time. The result: an intense taste and a lively, darker infusion.

Chumushi Style

The Chumushi style is a mid ground of the two previous styles of sencha, the leaves that are steamed for 40 to 80 seconds. These teas have a more classic Sencha taste are big in the Japanese market.

Tasting: First Flush and words

23 March 2018

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As a tea enthusiast, I like to know our products in depth.

Our Darjeeling First Flush promotion gives me the perfect reason to organize a comparative tasting to learn about their nuances and appreciate their evolution over time.

For this tasting, I used 2.5g and infused them 3 minutes at 95 ° C.

First, you should compare their visual and aromatic differences.

Tasting the liquors allows you to judge the textures, strengths, balance between the flavors and perfumes.

I like to play a game with my colleagues, where I ask them to associate a word with each tea. This allows us to memorize which is the most soft or floral… We can push the exercise further with 2-3 words or more according to what inspires us and what stories the teas tell us.

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For example, for the 7 Darjeeling First Flush we have on the table, here’s what we got:

1 – Thurbo DJ-16: Soft, lavender, peach, light, sweet.

2 – Muscatel DJ-1: Muscat, biting, limestone, zesty.

3 – Singell DJ-19: White flower, fresh grass (parsley, basil), bright, well structured.

4 – Oaks DJ-2: Classic, woody, sweet, amber, saponin.

5 – Sungma DJ-8: Malty, nuts, young Pu Er Sheng.

6 – Castleton DJ-1: Full-bodied, latex, citrus, firewood.

7 – Jungpana DJ-3: Balanced, spicy, salty, cherry, bark.

We can also use images, memories, shapes or colours to describe our impressions. Those that appear to us first are often very relevealing. I try to avoid censoring myself as much as possible. The important thing is to keep a living memory of our perceptions. The Sungma really makes me think of a young Pu Er Sheng!

Have a great spring… and enjoy our First Flush, while we await for the 2018 arrivals.

2018 Tea Industry trends

22 March 2018

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Here are few trends to watch in the coming year.

Matcha

 

Increasingly popular over the last few years, Matcha will undoubtedly continue to be popular for a while longer! It can be enjoyed in its traditional form, as a latte drink (hot or iced) or easily incorporated into pastries and other recipes. It is the best way to get a lot of tea’s powers in one dose.

Tisanes

More and more people are looking for both caffeine-free and local products: tisanes make a delicious choice. Unlike our tea selection, our herbal producers are all Canadian growers and herbalists, mostly from our own beautiful province. The ingredients for the blends are harvested by hand and dried using traditional methods that preserve their aromatic oils and benefits. A great way to relax and buy local!

Kombucha

If you haven’t heard the word “kombucha” in the past year, you must have been in a remote corner of the planet!

Originally from Asia, Kombucha is more than 2000 years old, but its large-scale popularity in the West is recent. This beverage of infused tea fermented with a specific mushroom culture in and is an excellent alternative to alcoholic beverages. In our stores on Émery St. and in Quebec City we offer several flavours of Lao Kombucha all made with our teas, either in bottles or on draught.

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Food pairings & cocktails

 

Tea alone is a simple and pure delight and often compared it to wine for their many parallels. In addition to teas classic pairings of chocolate, biscuits or desserts why not try a more innovative pairing with scotch, cheese or oysters. In recent years tea is increasingly a favourite ingredient for lovers of cocktail mixology.

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Lexicon of Tea Tasting

5 December 2017

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A sharp tea, a biting liquor, an opulent scent … Demystify the imaginary language of tea using our lexicon of tasting. An excellent way to enrich your vocabulary and put the right words to describe your favourite teas.

AMPLE: Round texture, generous liquid, quite long in the mouth. (Gaba Cha)
AROMATIC: Rich in aroma, very fragrant. (Dong Ding Mr Chang)
ASTRINGENT: Pungent, hard or full-bodied character, creates a drying feeling in the mouth.
BITING: Describes a feeling of astringency that is acidic and strong. (Pu Er 2016 Yiwu Sheng Tai)
BODY: Describes a texture that has presence and coats the mouth.
BOLD: Possessing a well-defined, instantly discernible character.
BRISK: Possessing great liveliness with a touch of acidity.
COMPLEX: Very rich in aromas with many subtle qualities. (Rou Gui Da Wang)
DELICATE: Light, refined.
FRESH: A liquid that gives a feeling of freshness, sometimes a little acidic. (Anji Bai Cha)
FULL: Quality of a liquid that fills the mouth and has persistence. (Népal Jun Chiyabari automnal)
FULLBODIED: Possessing body.
GENEROUS: Supported by a rich, aromatic intensity.
HEADY: Rich and complex.
HEAVY: Fragrance that is felt in the back of the mouth, dense.
INTENSE: Strong, powerful presence.
LIGHT: Supple and without body.
LONG: With a long finish; the quality of a wellstructured liquid.
MILD: Silky, supple, velvety, not astringent, sometimes associated with sweet. (Du Yun Hong Cha)
OPULENT: Rich, round, heady fragrance. (Mei Zhan Zhen)
PERSISTENCE: Describes an aroma that is long in the mouth (aftertaste).
POWERFUL: With a lot of strength, fullbodied.
PUNGENT: Creating a feeling of astringency that is harsh and coarse.
RAW: A slightly acidic liquid.
REFINED: Possessing delicacy and subtlety.
ROBUST: A strong constitution with a lot of body, powerful.
ROUGH: A liquid that is too astringent and is unpleasant.
ROUND: Describes a supple, silky, slightly tannic liquid that fills the mouth. (Sun Moon Lake T-18)
RUNNY: A supple, smooth liquid with little body. (Tai Ping Hou Kui)
SHARP: Brisk, slightly acidic character, narrow and incisive; may be delicate or robust.
SHORT: Possessing aromas or savors that quickly fade.
SILKY: Describes a liquid with a supple texture.
SMOOTH: Light texture without roughness.
STRUCTURED: Well-structured tannic liquid, full and strong, fullbodied but not coarse.
SUBTLE: Refined and complex.
SUSTAINED: An aroma with a persistent presence.
TANNIC: Describes a well-structured liquid that creates a pleasant feeling of astringency.
UNCTUOUS: Thick, mellow, very round texture. (Ali Shan)
VELVETY: With a thickness reminiscent of velvet. (Kabusecha Tamakado)
VIGOROUS: Slightly acidic character without softness.
WARM: Round, comforting liquid with no acidity. (Bai Hao)
WATERY: With a texture like water.
YOUNG: Describes a rather green character, immature, sometimes a little acidic.

Tasting Notes with Andrei Ivanov

29 November 2017

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In late October this year Andrei Ivanov, of Riga in Latvia, was a competitor in the Tea Masters Cup held this year in Enshi, Hubei, China. He was awarded First Prize in 3 of the 5 events.

Andrei has been drinking a few of our teas and recently sent the tasting notes below:

First of all a big thank you to the Camellia team for doing such a great job and giving people an opportunity to drink such high quality tea! For me as a ‘Tea Master’ and big tea lover, it is always a special moment drinking teas like these.

The Competition Dong Ding is amazing and probably the best I’ve ever tried! Such fragrant and sweet aromas of dry leaves made me fall silent, this tender texture of perfectly roasted tea makes you want this tea more and more. Fascinating notes of fried sunflower seeds and flowers are very deep. The sweetest aroma in the empty cup of candy-floss and honey. This generous tea gives many infusions, so a perfect choice for those who prefer to spend time with quality leaves and in a good state.

Few words about Bai Hao 2008 – This is a masterpiece! Once again proving that Taiwan is full of treasures and this is one of them! Every time I drink aged teas of this style I fall in love with them, but this one really got took my heart. So floral and sweet, words cannot explain. So honey, so caramel, so deep with an endless taste and aftertaste. Once again hard to put into words, more of an emotional state of mind.

About the Pu er 1998 Menghai 7542. It’s great choice for those who love aged Sheng. I got big pleasure to taste it and it put me into a great state. Enjoyable melody and game of flavors as a result humid environment of Taiwan.

Thank you again Camellia Sinensis! Forgive me for my English, hope everything is clear.
Andrei.

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