Our Tea Blog | Camellia Sinensis


Finding new Liu Bao – Spring Teas 2011 (China)

30 May 2011

at 15:36 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Liu Bao, aged tea cakes

Last part of our trip: the province of Guangxi, to meet a producer of Liu Bao, the famous style of aged tea that we have been gradually adding to our our menu. The discovery of this factory was a delight for me and François – cakes of aged teas of high quality, some more impressive than others, a century-old factory in a very remote place, … heaven!
The quality of tea we tasted was very promising.
Although most of their tea cakes were still young – due to the old cakes being sold off during the craze for aged teas when the prices were skyrocketing.
In addition, the price of these cakes is very competitive compared to those found on the Pu er market today.
Known as ‘black tea’ here in China, they have all the great benefits that we drink Pu Er for.

Josiane Monette

Visit to the gardens of Lu An Gua Pian – Spring Teas 2011 (China)

24 May 2011

at 17:34 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Lu An Gua Pian

The next day, the gardens of Lu An Gua Pian’s turn to impress us. Despite being located near the growing area of Huo Shan Huang Ya, the weather does not seem to have affected this plantation. The gardens, surrounded by bamboo forests, are naturally of great beauty. Many pluckers were at work beneath the bright Spring sunshine. We did not had the chance to taste the Lu An Gua Pian because Mr. Deng, the producer, told us that the grade that we seek is not ready yet. Harvests had been delayed about ten days in many regions this year. We still observed the part of the traditional transformation that uses a small bamboo broom during drying and rolling. A good example of the kindness of the Chinese people towards their visitors: after a full day of browsing the gardens, Mr. Cheng’s driver took us back to Hefei, which is about 2 hours away, where we caught our flight for our next destination: Changsha.

Josiane Monette

A good year for Taiwan! – Spring Teas 2011 (Taiwan)

16 May 2011

at 9:57 by Manuel Legault-Roy


Ni Hao,

Good news for fans of Taiwanese tea: it’s a wonderful year. Temperatures a little colder than usual have meant that the pace of tea plant growth was slightly slower, giving us some very aromatic tea leaves. A personal favourite of mine is the Shan Linhsi tea garden of Mr. Nen Yu. This is a brand new garden perched at 1600 meters with a very young plants of only 5 years old, this will provide our Shan Linhsi this year.
Of all the gardens visited Taiwan, this was most the exciting, not only for the quality of its tea, but the whole experience: the friendliness and hospitality of Mr. Nen Yu, the breathtaking scenery and the fresh air of high altitude gardens. You will have the chance to taste this little gem soon.

Bonne dégustation,
Nicolas Fontaine
Taipei, Taiwan

The fine and fresh Lan Xiang – Spring Teas 2011 (China)

12 May 2011

at 23:18 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Pickers in the garden of Lan Xiang

Pickers in the garden of Lan Xiang

After a trip of about four hours by bus through isolated rural mountains, we arrived in Jing Xian, a remote town of Anhui Province. Here we met with Mrs. Li, translator for our visit to the garden of Lan Xiang. A delicate tea of beauty with strong vegetal notes; once again Lan Xiang a real treat in the catalogue for a second consecutive year. Last year, this tea was distinguished by its lightly grilled notes and great freshness. This year again the same aromatic freshness, but the grilled notes are less present. I look forward to tasting how it will evolve during the year.

Though without organic certification, our visit to the garden showed us that the methods used to produce this tea all are very natural. The amount of Chinese buyers that we met during the day suggests that Lan Xiang is very popular here in China.

Josiane Monette

The boat for Tai Ping Hou Kui – Spring Teas 2011 (China)

10 May 2011

at 10:29 by Manuel Legault-Roy

The boat for Tai Ping Hou Kui

Friday, our last day with Anne and Andrew, the winners of the “Grand Guignole” fund- raiser. What better than a boat trip to visit Tai Ping Hou Kui? To our surprise, what we thought to be buyers of tea and dozens of tourists boarded the boat with us! This disappointed François a little, who is usually alone when visiting this little corner of paradise.
‘I have never seen so many people on the same boat!’
Arriving at the garden of Tai Ping Hou Kui, it became obvious, while talking with Mr. Ye the grower that the people on the boat were all pluckers who had arrived in town just to pluck the early harvest – (to the delight of François).

Mr. Ye is a man of the land, a country person with the hands to prove it. The simplicity of these dedicated tea men is beautiful to see. I saw all the hard work that this tea requires. It’s one thing to hear of it in a story from François, but quite another to watch the transformation of this fine tea live.

We tasted a first grade Tai Ping Hou Kui – freshly made.
The finished leaves were just magnificent! Large, beautifully formed, and delicious. The delicacy of its flavor with lightly toasted notes make this an excellent elixir for a Sunday afternoon to be savoured with pleasure. The prices were high, but realistic once you see the work involved. François bought a small amount.

After a stroll through the gardens with their amazing view, we started back on the boat where this time the only passengers. Returning to Tunxi, we left Anne and Andrew at the airport to continue as a duo.

Josiane Monette


Huang Shan, the Sacred Mountain – Spring Teas 2011 (China)

5 May 2011

at 22:57 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Preparing tea at the top of Lion Peak, Huang Shan Mountain

There isn’t much time to send news, work is flowing here and the days are very full. Only a few more days before you can taste some 2011 Chinese green tea, several of our teas are already on their way and we are very happy with the quality. Some prices are a little higher, but François is working hard to keep the prices respectable considering low production almost everywhere due to a lack of rain and cold that has persisted too long in many places. I can assure you that we are really lucky to have teas we have so cheap, as even the Chinese have often not got as good prices in their own country. Fortunately, the growers see our partnership as a means of promoting their products in North America and an international reputation.

Jasmin has continued on his way with James, his translator, while we set off for Tunxi, a beautiful small town in Huang Shan where Huang Shan Mao Feng and Mr. Xie awaited. Tasting, visiting beautiful gardens surrounded by sacred mountains and visiting the factory. A tea true to its name and the delicate vegetal notes that make it one of the Top Ten teas of China.

The next day, a day off to visit the heart of the Sacred Mountains of Huang Shan, a place much frequented by Chinese tourists. We still managed to enjoy a beautiful moment of contemplation in a tranquil place preparing a good Long Jing Shi Feng in a zhong at the top of Lion Peak . Quite a climb, but was well worth the pain.

Josiane Monette


The best Long Jing of our lives! – Spring Tea 2011 (China)

3 May 2011

at 16:33 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Long Jing 2011

On each of my trips to China, I try to delve ever further into the excellence of the Chinese in the world of tea. For 2011, I sought to meet with recognized artisans specializing in the transformation of green tea. After a tour of my contacts, Mr. Liu of the Hangzhou Tea Research Institute proposed a visit to the prizewinner of the competition for manually transformed Long Jing held each year in the village of Meijiawu. François being in Hangzhou with me for the auction of the Grand Guignol was delighted by the idea. So, on a beautiful sunny Sunday, we braved the intense traffic of Hangzhou to visit with Mr. Liu at Mr. Lu’s. (Note the difference in names!) Nothing better than to be presented to the winner by one of the most experienced tasters in China. We learn that Mr. Lu is the 6th generation and that the transformation of Long Jing is a family affair. To make a good Long Jing, one must be expert at the level of transformation but also have a quality leaf. The long history of the family of Mr. Lu allows him to have gardens in the best plots of Long Jing.
Well, our tasting in China has never been as enjoyable an experience as that day! A good tea and not a beautiful tea, everything happens in the mouth. An intoxicating complexity and finesse which allows us to realize the superb time we are living. Smiling at this, Mr. Lu brings us to visit his gardens and there we find areas with tea plants over 100 years old. Picking has just ended and workers are busy pruning tea bushes. Next harvest in spring 2012. There is of course no other picking from these special tea bushes other than in spring.

Returning to Mr. Lu’s, we are curious to know if we can buy some of this precious nectar. So I ask. Mr. Lu made a face and I understand that my request will be in vain until he speaks with Mr. Liu. To my surprise, he will defend our work and our approach making it clear to Mr. Lu that his tea will be in good hands! The speech of our friend works and Mr. Lu agrees to sell us 100g! Yes! Yes! 100g. In a production of only 12kg, the tea is selling for nearly $ 2,000 per kg. So we will be selling it in 10g packs to the lucky clients that have the chance to taste this tea!

Jasmin Desharnais


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