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Resolutions 2017: an invitation to explore

30 January 2017

at 7:40 by Social

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The beginning of a new year makes for an ideal opportunity to live new experiences and broaden your horizons. Why not take a moment to taste new teas or try a different infusion method? Whether you are a connoisseur or a new tea enthusiast, there is always something unknown to try.

1. Diversify your infusion methods

Do you usually prepare your favourite infusion in a teapot? Take a look at our videos to learn more about each of the various ways to prepare tea.

Gaiwan

The Gaiwan is a Chinese technique that is perfectly suited for the tasting of delicate teas such as the white, Chinese greens or wulong teas. A simple and affordable tool, it enables the exploration of the wide spectrum of flavors of a tea.

Discover our Gaiwans and watch the infusion method.

Gong Fu Cha

“The time of tea” is one of the interpretations of Gong Fu Cha. It refers to the time needed and the focus that must be invested in order to master this art. This technique, ideal for the preparation of wulong and Pu Er, allows multiple infusions of the same leaves and each time exposes their distinctive character. We suggest the use of an aroma cup and taste cup to enhance your experience.

Discover our Gong Fu Cha and watch the infusion method.

Senchado

The senchado technique is used for the great Japanese teas which are infused in a small capacity kyusu teapot. Comfortable to handle, it carefully filters small leaf Japanese teas.

Discover our Senchado and watch the infusion method.

2. Try new teas

  • Green tea enthusiast? Try matcha, a very fine green tea powder that promises an exquisite tasting experience. Invigorating and versatile, matcha is also useful in the kitchen. Watch our video to learn more about its traditional preparation.
  • Looking for a delicate and fragrant herbal tea? La Rose Pourpre is a mixture of raspberry, purple basil and wild rose buds. Deep purple, this herbal tea offers support to both the digestive and nervous systems. Additionally, this mixture supports the female reproductive system and can help to regulate the hormonal cycle.

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3. Fine-tune your knowledge

Whether to learn about a tea family or a producing region, or to be surprised by unusual pairings, Camellia Sinensis offers dozens of workshops (only in French).

Check out our Summer School Program of courses given in English!

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7542 – A traditional recipe!

27 January 2017

at 21:40 by Social

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The beginning of the year for me is a time I like to get back to the basics in preparation for the new year. The world of tea is always a great source of daily inspiration. Here is the story of a tea that became an icon during the last decades and naturally presents itself on the path of any tea lover.

The aged tea family, despite its age-old origin, has only seen its influence spread internationally gradually over the last hundred years. The current cultural and economic context has made some of this family’s teas more valuable than gold! Besides the knowledge and refinement of the collectors leading them to feverishly seek out the best vintages for their own consumption, speculative stock market games have also been part of this change.

Consequently, among the Pu Er productions of the second half of the twentieth century are found teas which have attained an unrivalled reputation. The great factories of the time innovated and created blends of various qualities from leaves of diverse grades and provenances  - to the delight of the consumers. From the beginning of the 1970s, recipes, generally coded with 4 digits, made it possible to standardize greater production, to keep the buyer’s interest by proposing choices from year to year! So the “7542″, a blend created in 1975 and produced since then by the Menghai Factory (2) from medium grade leaves (4), has seen its reputation become one of the references for quality in the industry and in the broader circle of enthusiasts.

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So here we have the honour to present our Pu Er 1998 Menghai 7542, a recent arrival of this traditional recipe, a version harvested, prepared and produced in 1998, according to the 7542 standard. The ageing in Taiwan has given it almost twenty years of warmth and humidity in which to progressively refine while maintaining an astonishing vigor and powerful dynamism. Its liquor, full and charged, develops its aromas of damp burnt wood, camphor and ripe fruit on an utterly refreshing bed of mineral and menthol. The first infusion is resinous and slightly bitter, a guarantee of its vitality and promise of maturation, the following infusions are sweet and balanced. Generous, it requires patience or good company.

Bai hao – a higher level!

25 January 2017

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Bai Hao comp

Are you familiar with competition teas ? If this is the first time you have read about this topic, we recommend this article we published a few years ago about Dong Ding Competition Teas.

Last December, we were very pleased to be able to acquire some exceptional Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) teas from the competition in Emei (Taiwan), where these teas are judged twice a year. We have been trying for more than 5 years (the demand is high and the availability minimal!) And thanks to our urging of M Xu, the producer of our Bai Hao for the last 10 years, we have managed to get two lots.
This competition is a little different from that of Luku. Each producer will bring one or more lots, being 12 jins (the equivalent of 7.2kg) to the center where the estimates are made. Following an examination to ensure that the teas do not possess any pesticides, 3 judges will determine which of the 2000 teas (!) presented will be crowned “Grand Lauréat”.
Most years between 30% and 50% of the teas presented are eliminated from the contest … Following this, a careful classification is made to determine the visual, taste and olfactory values of those Bai Hao still competing and the judges then determine a rank for each lot  remaining.
So, this year we present 2 lots for you, one classified “Mention 2 blossoms” and the other “3rd class”. Note that only about 10% of the teas presented receive this last distinction. Sure to be fun gustatively speaking!
So to round up, a few words on each of them …:

Bai Hao Mention 2 blossoms
This tea presents superb leaves adorned with sumptuous buds. Once infused, they deploy seductive floral (orange blossom) and pastry fragrances filling the air with their aromatic strength. Its succulent, honeyed and balanced liquor boasts nuances of sweet resins (cedar), spices (nutmeg) and notes of tangy fruit, the finish evoking watermelon. Like all quality teas, it offers generous and persistent multiple infusions.

Bai Hao “3rd class”
The leaves are faithful to the names given to this tea, Oriental beauty or tea of 5 colours, with their delicacy and the varied shades of brown, green, orange and silver which they share. The infusion is simply ecstatic deploying an abundant olfactory richness in a parade of heady flowers, ripe fruit, candy (honey) and spices. Its liquor, full and sweet, offers a most memorable taste journey, combining a harmony and intensity of flavours and textures with multiple aromatic dimensions.

To taste in a select atmosphere to appreciate all its subtleties!

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Tea & Health: the virtues of each tea family

15 January 2017

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Over 4000 years ago Sheng Nong discovered that tea has the power to both stimulate and detoxify, man had gradually lost interest in its medicinal properties. If the stimulant, diuretic and antibacterial properties of tea have long been recognized by Chinese medicine, it is only recently that its benefits have been confirmed by modern science. Today, unlike the Taoists of old, we do not consider tea as an elixir of immortality or as a drink with mystical powers. However, there is no longer any doubt that its virtues contribute to our longevity by stimulating the functions of the heart, strengthening the immune system and preventing cell mutations.

Whichever tea family you prefer, you can rest assured that each of them will offer various benefits. Find out what they are here:

WHITE TEA

Refreshing, thirst quenching white tea in China is particularly consumed during the summer. According to Chinese medicine, it balances excess heat and mitigates the effects of menopause.

New amateur of white tea? We suggest Bai Hao Yin Zhen.

GREEN TEA

According to recent studies, some green teas contains a higher amount of polyphenols than other families of tea, which has made it very popular in the West in recent years. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, green tea can prevent some forms of cancer. Equally reknowned as an aide to concentration, green tea contains more iron, vitamins and catechins than black tea. The drying necessary to obtain a green tea helps increase the polyphenol content of leaves

Are you looking to boost your antioxidants? Try out Sencha Mobata.

WULONG TEA

Steady consumption (8 grams per day) of Oolong causes weight loss by improving lipid metabolism. Its relaxing effect, anti-stress, even euphoria, is due to the high concentration of aromatic oils that are exuded from the leaves during rolling

Hugo Americi has a soft spot for the Ali Shan wulong.

BLACK TEA

The enzymatic oxidation experienced by the leaves during the processing of black tea converts some of the catechins into theaflavin and thearubigins. Caffeine in black tea is released more quickly into the bloodstream, over a shorter period than that of green tea, the oxidation partially separating the tannins. Due to this, black tea acts as a more physical stimulant than green tea. Surprisingly we now find that some black teas are rich in antioxidants.

Bet you didn’t know that Kevin Gascoyne drinks about ten Darjeeling cups every morning. Well, he does. Get the facts on black tea with the Darjeeling 1st flush classic Singell DJ-19.

AGED TEA

Because of its properties, Aged tea has long been used as a food supplement by several tribes and nomadic populations living in remote areas. As these people ate mostly high fat yak meat, tea allowed them to balance their diet by fighting against fat. Today we recognize the cleansing virtues of Aged tea which helps to regulate the body and aid digestion. Aged tea also helps to remove cholesterol.

Feeling curious? Try out the Thai Pu Er 2006 Hong Tai Cha: a more obscure terroir product.

Bai Rui Xiang: our pairing recommendations

9 January 2017

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One of the greatest favourites of the Camellia Sinensis team for the last 5 years, Bai Rui Xiang, has astonishing versatility. A worthy representative of the Rock Teas (Yan Cha), this wulong with delicately rolled leaves has only been slightly roasted, preserving a delicious vegetal and floral finesse. A tea of great depth, it can be an asset in many food pairings.

François Marchand, taster at Camellia Sinensis, suggests four ways to enjoy this incredibly versatile tea, with a fruity and honeyed finish.

In mocktail: Wuyi Sunrise (without alcohol)

3 oz Bai Rui Xiang iced *
1 oz fresh pressed clementine juice
1-2 oz soda water (to increase the volume)
A splash of Grenadine syrup

Serve on ice with decoration (pomegranate, orange peel).
* Infuse 12g of Bai Rui Xiang in 1 liter of cold water, for 12 hours in the refrigerator.

In cocktail: Wuyi Sunrise (alcoholic)

Like to add a little punch? Simply add 1 oz of your favourite rum to this mixture. We tested it with the spicy Quebec rum Chic Choc; amazing!

Paired with the cheese: ‘Alfred Le Fermier’

In a normal (hot) infusion, Bai Rui Xiang is absolutely divine with ‘Alfred Le Fermier‘ cheese, a pressed Quebec cheese of raw cow’s milk. To savour this pairing, we suggest to first to taste the tea before taking a small bite of the cheese (brought to room temperature). With the cheese still in mouth, take another sip of warm tea. This will melt the cheese, bring out its creamy side and its slightly fruity notes. Delightful!

Serving a cheese fondue? The perfect opportunity to surprise your guests with this delicious pairing, and a perfect option for those who don’t drink alcohol.

Paired with the chocolate: Valrhona Manjari 64%

Prepare a regular teapot infusion and pair with Valrhona Manjari black chocolate 64% for a sublime combination. Tasting follows the same order: first a sip of tea, then a square of chocolate followed by a second sip that will melt the chocolate and unfold the fruity notes of Bai Rui Xiang and Valrhona Manjari. Delectable!

A Time Tested Method!

2 January 2017

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Since its early days, the tea industry experienced many phases of development that progressively required new machinery, tools and techniques. The rapid and impressive deployment of the plantations in India under the supervision of the British in the mid 19th century imposed, from the outset, a method of rapid, on-site analysis and quality control. A daily taste test, both rigorous and systematic, to compare each days transformed leaf, was an essential exercise for correcting and re-calibrating each step of manufacture. Comparative tasting was also used to rate each lot before their sale at auction. Buyers today still have the opportunity to visit a tasting room and taste the teas before buying. This technique has spread internationally and this equipment can now also be found in the research centres of China, Taiwan and Japan.

Though there are some subtle variations in manipulation the principal objective is to quickly analyze a large number of teas by regulating a series of controlled infusion parameters. Here is a basic summary of the method:

1. Place the teas in the order you wish to taste them and measure equal amounts of leaf for each sample into their respective cups (between 2g and 4 g depending on the style of tea) add a sample of each tea on the respective dish for visual analysis.

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2. Add water at the desired temperature, moving methodically from one cup to another in sequence, taking care to replace the lids on the cups.  Then start the timer.

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3. After the desired infusion time, ( 3-5 minutes as specified), turn and angle each cup on top of its bowl to completely drain the liquor off the leaf and into the bowl.

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4. Present the hot infused leaves of the inverted lid and place the cup holding the lid behind the bowl – for a 3 stage olfactory and visual analysis of the dry leaf, infusion (wet leaf) and liquor.

Voilà! Careful preparation allows us to observe the size, shape, uniformity and color of dry leaves, the fragrances and the color of the infusion. Then the third essential phase, allows us to inhale vapours of the liquor, to appreciate its texture, strength and aroma before we taste.

With this method the liquors are often intense due to the 3 fold water/leaf ratio, that’s three times the usual dose. This must be taken into account when tasting in order not be put off by their strength or bitterness. This approach has the advantage of extracting everything from the leaves of the teas tasted, giving us access to both the qualities and faults.

A discerning palate knowing this can therefore benefit from the technique and taste hundreds of teas daily.  This is fairly standard in the tea industry.

On a more humble and accessible tasting table 4-10 teas is a good start. This tasting method gives us access to subtle variations and nuances of similar teas, of neighboring terroirs or of completely different regions.

Enjoy!

 
 

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