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Producer of the Moment: Mrs Chen

17 April 2019

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Each month or so, the Camellia Sinensis team presents one of its favorite producers, shares the story of their first encounter, and the producer’s story. Meet Mrs Chen, who produces the exquisite Bi Luo Chun Du Yun.

The story of our meeting

Jasmin has travelled for many years in China as a taster and buyer. In the spring of 2012, in Guizhou he met with met many producers of different regions. One of them really stood out: in Du Yun, he encountered Mrs Chen who’s tea and humanity really impressed him.

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When did you start in the tea industry?

My husband’s father is from Jinghong in Yunnan. He knew tea very well. Later in his life, he moved to Liupanshui in Guizhou to work in construction. To make more money and offer his family a better living, he opened a tea shop in Liupanshui. When I met my husband, I was working in Guiyang and he at the tobacco factory in Liupanshui. He soon quit his job and moved to Guiyang so we could live together. In Guiyang, he established himself as a tea merchant. The more we traded, the more we developed our interest for Du Yun tea. In 2002, we had the opportunity to rent a tea garden in Dou Peng Shan and we took it. We have been producing tea since then.

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Are you the owner of your garden?

No, the garden belongs to the State. We signed a contract to cultivate it.

What is the total area of your gardens?

Over 1000 mus.

What is your annual tea production?

About 40 tons. Most of it is green tea.

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How many employees do you have?

16

What aspects of your work do you prefer?

Producing tea is the most interesting, of course. But I also like everything related to tea culture.

Who do you sell to? Local or international?

Everything is sold in China. Well, almost everything. Jasmin is our only international customer.

Have you noted any changes in the industry since you started?

Of course we have! Regarding the industry, most important changes come from the government who now give more importance to tea. There is more promotion and production is slowly becoming standardized. Other than that, we notice more young people drinking tea and more people valuing quality teas overall.

What is your favorite tea?

My favorite is high altitude Bi Luo Chun Du Yun, the small lots we transform manually. Otherwise, I also like Du Yun Hong Cha.

Producer of the Month: Mr Gao

6 March 2019

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Each month, the Camellia Sinensis team presents one of its favorite producers, shares the story of their first encounter, and the producer’s story.

This month, we have Mr. Gao Shi He, wulong tea producer Taiwan. Hugo met Mr Gao in his Pinglin gardens over 10 years ago. They have kept contact since then and you can find Mr Gao’s excellent Gaba Cha in our selection each year.
When and how did you first step into the world of tea?

Tea has been my family’s main source of revenues for a long time now. When I was young, my father was in charge of the whole production. But when he fell sick and my family risked losing its main income, I took over. It’s been more than 30 years now since my career started. Since then, I have developed a specific taste for the natural floral aromas of tea.

Tell us a bit more about your gardens.

The gardens my family owns cover just over one Jia in area. This is about two and a half acres with an annual production of roughly 1000 kilos. Recently, we have developed another plantation with an area of two Jia, so a little less than 5 acres.

How much Gaba Cha do you produce annually?

More or less 200 bags of 600g each.

Gaba tea is seasonal. The best period to produce it is one week before and one week after Duan Wu (dragon boats festival). This is when the insects called Jacobiasca Formosana come to the gardens and start biting the tea leaves. If you harvest when their bites are still on the leaves, the tea quality will be optimal.

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How many workers do you hire?

Three permanent employees take care of managing the gardens. To this we add eight to ten seasonal employees for harvesting the leaves.

Which aspects of your work do you prefer?

What I prefer is managing and tending the gardens. I like to witness the growing of the trees, observe the different changes at every stage and see the leaves flush. This is my favorite place to be. I always feel relaxed and happy in a natural landscape on the mountain.

Who’s buying your teas? Local or international clients?

Right now, most clients are Taiwanese buyers, with a few travelers coming freely from China, Japan, Europe, America, etc. Other than that, you are certainly our most important international clients!

Have you seen any changes since your beginnings in the industry?

Today, the tea industry is greatly affected by abnormal meteorological environments. The growing cycles of the trees and leaves are often disturbed and unpredictable, making the intervention of technology increasingly important in the fabrication process.

Luckily, as scientific and technological progress marches on, so do the machines we use. Better in performance than before, they are very precious allies to maintain the tea quality we need. I don’t think this industry would still be viable here without them.

Regarding clients, the majority of consumers are middle-aged people, with only a small portion of young people drinking our tea.

What is your favourite tea?

I like many styles of tea: Baozhong, Laocha, heavily fermented teas, black teas, Mixiang teas… but my favorite is still Gaba tea.

Learn more about the virtues of Gaba Cha in this article.

Quebec Ceramists

4 March 2019

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International Women’s Day is approaching and we thought of introducing you to the many Quebec ceramists who adorn the Camellia Sinensis tablets, and your tea spaces at home. Artists with incredible talent and each with a very characteristic artistic signature.

Makiko

Makiko Hicher Nakamura was born in Hokkaido Japan. She lived for many years in France before settling in Quebec in 2011. When asked how she became a potter, she replied. “Quite by chance!  I saw a course advertised for a ceramics workshop gave it a try and loved it. I immediately thought:  this is for me.”
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She creates delicate work while retaining the essence of the material, leaving room for intuition and spontaneity in the design ”I let my hands work and I clear my head. Turning puts me into a trance.”
She prefers making cups and bowls. For her, teaware is more demanding than other table pottery. During production, she is more aware that they are utensils dedicated to a very specific purpose: “I learn by simply drinking tea, I analyze why pieces are good or not. I practice the tea ceremony a little to better understand their use.”
Makiko loves simplicity, the joy of daily life. She loves cups that hold well in the hand (she does not like mugs). Most of all, she loves to imagine that people enjoy their tea (or coffee) in the teaware she produces.
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Julie Lavoie
Julie Lavoie’s passion for the world of ceramics began in 2005, while studying at the Centre de Céramique Bonsecours in Montreal. There she developed a keen interest in porcelain and firing at high heat.
A few years later, she undertook a six-month trip to Japan in order to learn more about the types of wood ovens and firing techniques used there. This trip allowed her to appreciate teaware in much greater depth. She also discovered that ceramic teaware, the work of the artisan, is ubiquitous in Japanese society and she left permeated by their approach to the material and its transformation. It is in this spirit that she has developed a series of teaware designed for tea tasting.
The forest is, for her, a a source of infinite inspiration: trees and their special presence, also the sky – on which day and night are portrayed, and the water courses in which they reflect. The desire to get closer to nature has recently involved leaving Montreal to install her studio in a small village in the region of Estrie.
The works she offers are fired at high temperature in a gas oven. She uses specific glazes, the fruits of long research, which allow her to create a unique and personal world. As a base, she prefers porcelain for its delicacy, strength and whiteness, qualities that offer the glaze a base to present their story.
About her work, Julie explains: “A bowl that molds to the palm of your hand and fits perfectly to the lips to deliver its promise of flavor. That is the whole simple poetry of a ceramic piece. The items of tableware and teaware are the ones that I love the most, because their presence nourishes our lives.’
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Carmen Abdallah
The pricinpal focus of Carmen Abdallah is on the production of pieces for the art of tea. This choice was inspired by her three year stay in the south of Japan (2002-2005). The function and aesthetics she gives to her works is inspired by the knowledge she gained during her ceramics training in Japan. Her work on the glaze and shape makes every Carmen Abdallah piece unique and, nevertheless, retaining the characteristic style of the artist.
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Bowls.Carmen Abdallah works the red and white clays that she turns on an electric or foot powered turntable. She carves, reshapes and modifies the symmetrical forms to make them more spontaneous and organic. Her glazes are inspired by traditional Japanese recipes, containing a large amount of wood ash. She fires her pieces in an electric furnace or oven.
In 2010, Carmen Abdallah returned to Japan and learned how to build an Anagama style wood oven. Ever since then, she fires her pieces in the oven she built in Quebec. Regarding this process, Carmen says: “This method fascinates me and I am deeply focused on the effects of ash and flame in such a firing. It gives good results from melted wood ash on the pieces which looks like glass. This process makes each piece even more unique, and even heroic, to have faced and survived such heat and atmosphere for 24 hours or more. ”
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Nadine Desmarais
Looking into her story, we realize the potter has a rich artistic background in visual presentation, advertising and photography. This explains such artistic maturity in a new line of work. “I have tried to express myself in many ways during my life (…) However, it is through clay that I find today an inner freedom from which springs my creativity”.
Carrying the Gaspésie region deep in her heart, it is no coincidence that Nadine Desmarais’s ceramics, with their pearly finishes and soft textures, always remind us of its seashores.
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Catherine de Abreu
Laval ceramist Catherine De Abreu advocates a contemporary approach to the objects she creates.  As she prepares her ceramic’s third firing, the artist lays out laser decals that will add her object’s undeniable signature: the jellyfish.
Why this creature? “There is no specific reason … I find this marine specimen fascinating, it’s seducing simply by its beauty.”
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Stéphanie Blanchet
Quebec ceramicist Stéphanie Blanchet creates mainly utilitarian pieces to enhance and share the daily rituals of life. Her vibrant style expresses “(…) the passion, the joy and the richness that my work gives me.” And that is precisely the impression we have!
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Producer of the Month: Mr Zeng

6 February 2019

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Zeng Xiao Long, Dancong tea producer in Guangdong, China

Each month, the Camellia Sinensis team presents one of its favorite producers, shares the story of their first encounter, and the producer’s story.

This month, we have Mr. Zeng Xiao Long, Dancong tea producer in Guangdong, China. Jasmin, our importer for Guangdong, met Mr. Zeng through Mr. Zheng, a tea-scientist friend and Dancong tea consultant in Chaozhou. In 2017, during Jasmin’s visit to Chaozhou, Mr. Zheng invited him to accompany him on a consulting job at Mr. Zeng’s tea factory. On arrival Jasmin happily discovered a magnificent terroir of high quality tea plants, growing in wild, natural surroundings. Joined by their common interest in good teas, Jasmin and Mr. Zeng quickly became friends. His wulong teas have been sold in our catalogue ever since.

When and how did you first step into the world of tea?

As long as I can remember, I have always drunk tea. Even as a young child, tea was part of our daily life. It is only in 2011 though, after I sold my first factory, that a friend asked me to start producing Dancong tea. Naturally I accepted. Our initial idea was to invest in agriculture by acquiring a mountain and creating a pesticide free garden. I also became the official marketing director of the enterprise. You must also know that in Chaozhou-Shantou region, we have been drinking Gong Fu style tea for centuries. The Chaoshan people are the largest tea consuming group in China. It is customary for us to start drinking tea in early childhood. Everyone learned how to make tea during their adolescence. For us, passion and understanding of tea is almost second nature.

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Tell us a bit more about your gardens.

The garden is owned by the company of which I am one of the managers. As such, it extends over an area of nearly 5000 mu (333 hectares) but in reality, the planted portion covers only about 1000 mu. The rest is left as natural forest to create a protective perimeter around the garden and isolate it from the outside world.

How many workers do you hire and how much tea do you produce a year? 

Thirty workers are employed all year to insure production and management of the garden. During plucking season, we generally hire another 100 temporary workers to help. In 2018, our production exceeded 10 000kg.

Which aspects of your work do you prefer? 

I prefer to drink tea and not to work. (Laugh). Having you coming all the way here to drink tea with me is my favourite part.

Who’s buying your teas? Local or international clients? 

Right now our tea is mostly sold in continental China. We have distributors in most big Chinese cities. Our international market is centered in Hong Kong and covers South-East Asia then there is our one foreign customer, that’s Camellia Sinensis.

Have you seen any changes since your beginnings in the industry?

I believe the tea industry pays more and more attention to experienced consumption, especially in regards to high-end teas. Before, people where buying teas on site or through and intermediary and drank it at home. That was it. Now, guests come here to taste the teas, see the garden and visit the mountain. Gardens, studios and tea houses that have good interaction with clients are likely to become the main channels for high-end tea sales in the future.

What is your favourite tea?

Although I sometimes drink PuEr, my favorite tea is Yuan Wei Dancong.

Entrepreneurship: Our Founder’s Journey

5 February 2019

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According to Hugo, the key to entrepreneurial success is combination of careful planning, focused objectives and a decent dose of…luck!

Here is an interview with the founder of Camellia Sinensis tea house on the original launch of the company.

Tell us how it all started? Was founding a company your dream?

H : From planning my paper route when I was 10 to begging manager of the corner store to give me more responsibilities when I was 16, I always felt I was born to be an entrepreneur. I had been dreaming of launching a café-bar with a difference, so I travelled to Europe at 23 to do my market research. Whilst in Prague, I picked up the taste for tea as there were many places serving it with a blend of Asian tradition and an extra touch of “cool” . As I worked on my business plan I realized that we had nothing remotely like this in Montreal. That’s when I realized: it was going to be a tea house and not a coffee shop!

You must have have ran into quite a few challenges when you started out?

H : Yes. I actually underestimated the budget to launch this endeavour, so I had to worked 112h a week for the first year to compensate. It wasn’t easy for my friends, family and more importantly the bank to visualize the concept I had in mind.

Do you have any tips for the young entrepreneurs out there?

H : Firstly, is that you can’t do it alone. Find people around you that you trust and that can help you with certain tasks. Trust them and delegate. There are plenty of people and business services that will help if you ask.

Secondly, I would suggest to focus on one thing as launching a new business is very time consuming. Make sure that the other aspects of your life allow you to dedicate so much energy to this adventure.

Last November marked the 20th anniversary of Camellia Sinensis. How would you explain the continued success of this company?

H : Personal experience has lead me to believe that it is a mixture of three things:

1. A realistic plan. It’s important to plan but we also need to be flexible in order to see other opportunities that can help us improve our idea. I have never found it realistic to plan 3 or 5 years ahead. I plan the year and adapt with the flow to guide my next plan. Depending on your vision, you may want to observe your company’s evolution. Treat it as if it were a person with its own goals and aspirations.

2. Keep focused. Choose and define a mission, objectives and a target market. Remember, you won’t be able to please everyone and aim concentrate on what you do best.

3. Be on the lookout for Lady Luck ! After all, the whole idea of Camellia Sinensis came to me after working up the nerve to ask a girl out in Prague. She fortunately said yes and brought me to a hidden Tea house and that’s when everything became clear. Who knows what would’ve happened had I not met her. Being open and spontaneous to the benefits of chance can lead to wonderful things.

Camellia Sinensis isn’t only Hugo, you also have 3 partners. What is your secret ?

H : Quite simply: we get along really well. Having the same overall vision and our belief in the balance between personal and professional life is what has kept us together so long. Partnering up was very organic and seamless but having the same values is the glue that keeps it together. Starting out we all worked together in the store and teahouse as things developed we were advised to take on specific roles and to structure the company as it grew. It worked out for the best because we each had our own strengths and interests. Francois took marketing, Jasmin took operations and eventually Kevin joined in 2004, adding a wealth of experience after years in the tea market.

Any wishes for the next 20 years of Camellia Sinensis?

H: Definitely not a massive worldwide expansion. I’d rather focus on helping like-minded entrepreneurs to change the way we do business and spread the wealth. Running a healthy business can mean many things and measured in different ways. For us it’s measured in the quality of how we balance our personal lives.

Actually, I’ll take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our clients. Without their loyalty and support, Camellia Sinensis would not be what it is today. Thank you everybody!

Da Hong Pao: Legendary Tea

30 January 2019

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Harvested and produced in the Wuyi Mountains (Fujian, China), Da Hong Pao tea is considered by many aficionados to be one of the most prestigious in the world. Its reputation is such that some vintages are sold at higher prices than their weight in gold. As is the case with many famous Chinese teas, Da Hong Pao finds its origins in a myth. Legend says that during the Ming Dynasty, a very important character (some talk about the Emperor’s mother, other about the Emperor himself) was cured of a rare disease by drinking an infusion made from leaves growing on bare rock in the heart of the Wuyi Mountains. Thankful for this miracle, the Emperor sends big red robes to cover the plants where the leaves come from. The name Da Hong Pao means « Big Red Robe » and references the blankets used still today to cover the surviving bushes (dated from the Song Dynasty) in the Wuyishan National Park. Today, these bushes are protected as part of the country’s important cultural and patrimonial heritage and their use is forbidden. In 2002 their last harvested leaves were sold, 20g were bought by a private buyer for 180 000 yuan (35 000 $).

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On today’s market

The legend, however, is not the only source of such reputation. The whole region presents perfect geographical and climatic conditions for growing tea: the soil is rich in minerals and irrigation comes naturally from the mountain streams flowing down the limestone gorges. Wanting to take advantage of the name but halted by the impossibility to harvest the original bushes themselves, farmers from Wuyi region tried transplanting cuttings from these trees elsewhere in the park. Cultivation of these cuttings proved difficult and the results were rather disappointing. For the name to still remain alive today however, its meaning had to shift from botanical descendants to the particular type of tea it produces: a dark roasted wulong with rich and complex taste. Quickly, the market’s demand brought producers to name Da Hong Pao many different teas from Wuyi produced in that style. In 2007, the Research Center tried to control the appellation by demanding that production exclusively comes from Qi Dan cultivar, but pressure from the market was too high and in reality, the name designates various recipes of cultivar blends kept jealously secret by their producers. Today, with as many different Da Hong Pao as there are producers of this prestigious tea, the quality of the tea itself varies greatly from one to another according to the garden’s location, richness of the soil, the finesse of plucking and the ability to transform the leaves.

Mr. Wu Yong Peng

Our Da Hong Pao this year comes from Mr. Wu Yong Peng. His recipe is a mix of 6 different cultivars (Rou Gui, Huang Guan Yin, Qi Lan, Mei Zhan, Shui Xian and Bai Rui Xiang). The trees themselves, averaging 15 years old, grow on the mountainside neighboring Wuyishan National Park. This slight dislocation, far from diminishing the tea’s quality, allows us to bypass the crowded speculative markets and offer a product of exceptional quality at a more than decent price. To produce his Da Hong Pao, Mr. Wu roasts twice every cultivar separately before blending and roasting for a third and final round. In the Wuyi universe, teas often undergo six to eight rounds of roasting. Making this batch a “light” roast, ideal to showcase all the aromatic complexity of a terroir so often hidden behind the nutty and caramelized character of this kind of transformation. With every steeping, the tea reveals new nuances in taste: notes of sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), candied cherries and licorice, a soft floral scent and a warm mineral finish (limestone, flint) typical of Wuyi rock teas.

Tea Studio : Our interview with the Chief of Operations

21 January 2019

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Our experimental factory in India known as the Tea Studio has now been open for just over a year. Our four expert tea tasters left in October 2018 to visit the factory, meet the team and make tea! They also took the opportunity to welcome two of their favourite Chinese producers to help them optimize the production.

François sat down for a chat with the chief of operations, Muskan Khanna, to discuss her job as well as her team, comprised entirely of women. We’ve come to discover that the project wouldn’t have been the same without her passion and dedication.

F : When did you start getting interested about tea ?

M : It was around when we started talking about this project, about 3 years ago. I thought the concept was innovative and different – I just wanted to get involved. I spoke to my father, Indi, one of the associates, and I got the opportunity to become the chief of operations. That’s when I started learning a lot more about the industry as I visited many other factories to understand the process.

F : Can you share your background previous to joining the Tea Studio ?

I studied in media and advertising and I worked in that field for many years. Needless to say, it’s a very different world. My father taught me a lot about my craft and I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team.

F : Can you describe to us a typical day at the Tea Studio ?

M : I typically arrive at the factory around 9AM and I spend a bit of time in my office answering emails and doing various administrative tasks. After that, I head down to the production floor and then…well I normally spend the rest of my day there!

F : How was it working with our two Chinese producers?

M : I love it ! I learned a ton of new ways to help us improve the quality of the production process within the factory.

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F : Talk to us about being one of the few women managing a tea factory.

M : It’s definitely not something you see everyday in India and at first, it didn’t help me making people around me understand what my day to day reality was. There was also an adjustment period for me to learn how to balance my personal and professional life. All that being said, I’m so passionate about what I do and I couldn’t be happier. I’m given a lot of room to grow as well as being empowered. My father often reminds me “You’re the boss around the shop”.

F : What about the rest of the team ?

M : The Tea Studio is 100% comprised of women. We’re now all friends which gives a great energy flowing throughout the factory.

Camellia Sinensis Turns 20: Looking Back

11 November 2018

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November 16, 2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of Camellia Sinensis. Some of you may have been following our “retrospective” photo album on Facebook that follows the great evolution from our humble beginnings – both in decor and haircuts!

An Asian approach to tea…in Montreal!

Hugo Américi opened the first Camellia Sinensis tea room in 1998 on Emery street in Montreal. Having thought to open a coffee-bar, he dropped the idea in favour of a teahouse. The concept would be focused on an Asian approach to tea. He had been impressed by a similar concept the previous year in Prague at the Dobra Cajovna teahouses and was fascinated by the ambiance. At first, Camellia Sinensis offered customers a variety of fifty teas along with a few cakes, all served in a relaxed atmosphere.

Curious to know more about our history? Read more.

A passionate and complimentary team

That same year, two students from the local university arrived on the scene, Jasmin Desharnais and François Marchand both started waiting tables and quickly ended up becoming co-owners of the company. As Camellia flourished and grew, a fourth player entered the fold, Kevin Gascoyne, who had his own tea company, Kyela Teas, focussed on the teas of Darjeeling in India. The four began to take on specific roles within the company. At home Jasmin took charge of HR and Operations he also focussed on the teas of Western and Eastern China. Francois becomes responsible for marketing, content and IT while focusing as a taster on Central China. Kevin handles international conferences, deals with HR in Montreal and uses his experience of India to oversee the Tea Studio. He buys all the Indian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and African teas. Finally, Hugo oversees the global vision of the company, handles the administration, distribution and acts as taster buyer in both Japan and Taiwan. They find it advantageous to have their own networks abroad for buying while running the company at home.

The enthusiastic energy of the group fuelled them to open stores and tea houses in Montreal and Quebec city, publish various books, open a Tea School, open the first Chai bar in the province as well as launch an experimental factory in India (Tea Studio).

Did you know that:

  • Camellia Sinensis was almost called “The smoking teapot”;
  • For the first 5 years, most clients came to the store for the hookahs (water pipes used to smoke Egyptian flavoured tobacco) now long gone.
  • At first, Camellia Sinensis was a Teahouse. It was following a month long vacation that Hugo came back with the idea of opening a store
  • Camellia Sinensis has two Tea Schools, both in Montreal and Quebec
  • The company now employs over 50 loyal employees in the stores, salons, warehouse and in the offices
  • Camellia Sinensis offers an ever changing selection of well over 200 teas.
  • There are close to 500 restaurants worldwide that offers our teas. Some with Michelin stars!
  • Our tea workshops have been attended by over 10 000 tea lovers
  • Over the last 20 years, our four tasters have tasted tens of thousands of tea samples
  • The Montreal teahouse has served over 700 000 clients since its opening
  • We receive close to 32 tons of directly imported teas each year

Are you a new tea enthousiast? Discover our tea taster kits, a great way to discovering your preferences.

Team Portrait: Kevin Gascoyne, Tea Taster

2 January 2018

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Here at Camellia Sinensis we not only value the quality of our teas but also the quality of our team. How well do you know our four expert tasters ?
This month we’d like to introduce Kevin Gascoyne, co-owner of Camellia Sinensis since 2004.

How does your story with Camellia Sinensis begin?

Being the old man around here, I had another tea life and company before joining Camellia. I had been asked to be a guest on some local TV show and they were looking for another guest that was running a tea house. So I offered to go down and check out this new place that had just opened. On arrival I discovered 3 very cool guys running the most bohemian, eclectic and exciting little tea room I had ever seen. They were passionately into to both tea and having a good time, so we rapidly became good friends.
What is your role in the Camellia team?

Aside from tasting, sourcing and buying since 1993, I try my best to deal with Human Resources here in Montreal, staff training, public relations, our international projects and conferencing. I also love shopkeeping so I hop behind the counter to chat with the clients whenever I can.
Your tea highlight of the year?…

The Darjeeling Singell DJ 19 is probably my favourite tea this year. An exquisite example of the original Chinese seeds planted in the Himalayan terroir back in the 1860’s. That magic combination that gave the region its reputation all those years ago.
Do you have a recent discovery ?

Not known for my love of green teas I am really enjoying rediscovering this year’s spectacular Anji Bai Cha.

What are you best known for at Camellia?

Probably my obsessive enthusiasm for tea, my terrible dad jokes and for drinking large quantities the profits.

Team Portrait: François Marchand, Tea Taster

3 December 2017

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Here at Camellia Sinensis, we not only value the quality of our teas but also the quality of our team. How well do you know our four expert tasters ?
This month we’d like you to introduce François Marchad, co-owner of Camellia Sinensis since 2000.

François, tell us about your beginnings in the company…

Camellia Sinensis opened back in 1998, I became a regular, quickly becoming friends with Hugo and Jasmin. At the time, I was studying arts at UQAM and lived nearby. A few months after they had opened, late evening after all the clients had left, Hugo threw me a rag and asked “Could you help me clean up some of the tables?”.  That was my “interview” 19 years ago….

What is your role within the team?

A big part of it is sourcing and buying in Central China each spring, meeting our suppliers, finding new gems. The other part is the marketing: I’m responsible for everything that pertains to the image of the company (packaging, advertising, key visuals etc..). I also take care of all the IT and our  website.

Your favourite tea is…

On my first exploratory trip to China, after a long adventure I finally found the elusive Taiping Hou Kui.  Not accessible by land, only by boat, its beauty is as incredible as its tea. To this day, I’m still good friends with the owner – he is an incredible tea maker.

What is your most recent discovery?

A classic Chinese green tea, the Xin Yang Mao Jian: I recently found a supplier a little outside the main production area but doing an amazing job. His garden is beautiful, natural and wonderfully balanced – it’s one of my highlights of this year.

At Camellia Sinensis, what are you known for…

I am mainly known for the image of the brand but also my mischievous sense of humour.

 
 

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Here you will both find Teaware and Teas created by some of Asia’s most talented craftsmen.

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