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Do such great things really happen by chance? …

16 June 2011

at 9:33 by François Alexis Roy

André et Anne

François and Jasmin, “happy partners of the Camellia Sinensis taster team”, Anne and I want to thank you for the wonderful adventure that you shared with us in China this spring … What a great idea to create this opportunity by offering this prize to Radio Canada’s’ Grande Guignolée’. Visiting China is one thing, but having the chance to be received for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the homes of tea producers, to have the time to establish human contact and share a laugh while making a toast face to face with people as charming as your friends, it is absolutely unique and ‘psychedelic’, to use one of Jasmin’s favourite expressions …

The love and passion you have for your work is quite remarkable. That’s what was amazing, dear friends, Anne and I never felt that your work was marked by the least bit of irritation, everything was in love and good humour … You warned us that China is full of contrasts and that you have to let things slide and especially never to try to control everything, in other words, in China be as the Chinese … Anne and I would be inclined to add, in China, be as François and Jasmin, two great colleagues of Camellia Sinensis, great explorers and worthy representatives of a new generation of Quebec businessmen …

Ha! I forgot, there were all those landscapes, cities, countryside, buses, taxis, restaurants, small bars, a giant disco, a karaoke night, hotels, sun, some rain, beer, wine and above all, all those beautiful tea plantations!

We came back from this trip steeped in humanity, overwhelmed by your openness and of course, infected with tea madness…

Thank you for your great generosity,

André et Anne

Winners of the prize for a trip to China with the importers-tasters of Camellia Sinensis Tea House from la Grande Guignolée of Radio Canada
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Temomicha: handmade! – Spring Teas 2011 (Japan)

2 June 2011

at 11:02 by François Alexis Roy

Temomicha

Our first Japanese adventure in 2011 begins with learning temomicha, a traditional artisanal technique. It is a process kneading and rolling the tea leaves by hand. Hugo and I were both fortunate and privileged to be guests of Mr. Miyano for a crash course in this technique, which he has practised for 12 years. It is interesting to note that this tradition is only practiced by a small minority of producers in an effort to preserve it. Temomicha not even known among the Japanese population.

We arrived at Mr. Miyano’s, after brief greetings with the family, a cup of tea and presto! … We suddenly have a handful of leaf. This unusual technique all happens on a wooden table, gas heated, on which was placed an oiled paper. We rolled the leaves by hand on this table for several hours. The leaves we used were picked in early May, steamed for about 30 seconds and immediately frozen for future use. Using a series of movements, the rolling starts smoothly and becomes more vigorous to finally produce very long thin needles. This rolling by hand on a heated table has the effect of enhancing the aromas and the umami taste typical in this kind of tea. The transformation ends simply with a light drying. It is a taxing process – a closed room where the heat of the table and the constant rolling movements speedily increase body temperature! All this at a steady pace for 6 hours!

The competition level temomichas can reach exorbitant prices. The winning tea last year reached $ 12 000 a kilo! Mr. Miyano was kind enough to sell us his tea before sending it to the competition. You will have the chance to taste it at a more reasonable price. As for the batch of tea, that Hugo and I made … well, we were pretty happy with the result. The tea needles did not reach the 8 centimeters of those of M. Miyano, but they are still very tasty. Mission accomplished!

Nicolas Fontaine,
Japon
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