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Bristol Chai launches its crowdfunding campaign!

27 March 2017

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Bristol Chai: the start of a new adventure!

This spring, Gabriel Svaldi, proud member of the Camellia Sinensis since 2009, will open the first chai bar in Quebec, right in the heart of Montreal (Prince Arthur and Clark). A charming ambiance and setting that combines Montreal’s dynamism and India’s warmth, wrapped with the unique combined scents of spices and homemade pastries.

On March 27th, Bristol Chai will officially launch the Bristol Chai crowdfunding campaign. Join the community and its unique cultural and gastronomical experience!

Watch the video to learn more about the project (in French): 

Bristol Chai, un bar à chai à Montréal

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is an innovative way to launch a company where the “project initiators” offer a reward in exchange for a sum of money meant to finance the launch. This approach helps to develop an involved community around the project as the donors are likely to become future clients which favours the launch process.

Ulule was chosen as the crowdfunding platform, a world class association with a dynamic team, mainly because of their passion of entrepreneurship. Intrigued? Find out more about them right here.

Why is Bristol Chai launching this campaign?

There’s no doubt Bristol Chai has come a long way since they’ve embarked on this great adventure, however, they need additional support from the community for the final steps of this project.

Truth be told, for Bristol Chai it’s much more than a simple fundraising as it will help them open the first chai bar in Quebec. To help them accomplish this, they’ll still need to build our centrepiece: a wooden U-shaped bar as well as improve the kitchen gear and also implement a distribution network.

To know more, follow Bristol Chai on Facebook.

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How to get involved in the project?

A chai bar in Montreal sounds like your cup of tea? Here are a few ways to get involved:

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Tea and Sugar Shack: Gourmet Pairings

26 March 2017

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Spring time in Quebec means longer days, softer weather and of course: sugar shacks – an artisanal tradition since the 19th century. With sugar season in full swing, our gourmet pairing specialist, Émilie Poissant, has created some tea/food pairings for your next sugar shack visit. You can also use these suggestions if you’re looking for inspiration when making a homemade menu.

First and foremost, when we think about sugar shack meals, we think of the obvious:  pea soup, omelets, maple ham, beans – basically, anything that combines salty and sweet.

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It’s no surprise that our first suggestion, which we find to be a great fit for these meals, are black teas. With such a wide variety to choose from, firstly, we’d like to suggest an Indian or African full-bodied black tea to pair with any salty/sweet meat dishes such as bacon or cretons.  There’s also the autumnal Darjeeling Jungpana DJ154 that comes to mind with its spicy and woodsy notes. You can also opt for a Rwandan Rukeri which offers a malted, barley sugar taste.

Staying in the black tea family, we can choose something less round and full-bodied to pair with softer foods such as eggs, beans or pea soup. We’d suggest a Nepalese black tea, such as an autumnal Jun Chiyabari J-215 with its rich and gourmet perfume, or a Chinese Jin Die with more of a mocha taste or even the Mi Xiang Hong Cha for it’ honey taste which outlines well the sweet side of meals.

When it comes to desert, whether it’s a maple syrup pie or a grand pere with maple syrup, we’d like to propose something a bit less obvious. The 2006 aged Chinese Liu Bao whose autumn, “fallen leaves” perfume complements well the thawing season scents as its sweet, syrup flavour will definitely take you by surprise. A match made in heaven! If you prefer pecan pie, we’d definitely suggest a Wulong with roasted notes such as the Bai Rui Xiang.

As a final digestive for your feast, we can’t think of anything better than a stronger Pu Er Shou, with hints of hummus, nuts and earth – a 2006 Bulang Shan, a 2005 Jingmai or a 2011 Menghai.

Team Portrait – Émilie Poissant

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At Camellia Sinensis, the team behind the company is as important the quality of our tea and teaware. This month, we’re happy to present you Emilie Poissant, the manager of the Jean-Talon store in Montreal and our in-house pairing specialist.

Émilie, what is your role within the team? 
I’ve been working with the Camellia Sinensis team for 6 years now having previously worked as a pastry chef, cheese expert, chocolate maker and trained as a wine sommelier. With this background you can see how I developed an interest for food pairing. I’ve been managing the Jean-Talon store since September.  I also run four different workshops and conferences, generally pertaining to food pairings between tea and cheese/chocolate.  I am also in charge of elaborating the Table d’Hôte tasting menus for the Tea House.

Your favourite tea is…
That’s a tough one. My everyday morning tea is Kamairicha, a Japanese green tea. Having said that, I’m also very keen on Chinese wulongs from the Wuyi region, notably the Qi Lan Wuyi,  the Rou Gui Da Wang and the Bai Rui Xiang. I have been very loyal to Mr. Nen Yu’s Dong Ding (roasted) from Taiwan recently, as it is very interesting for pairings. I also love the rounder, darker and fuller flavours of Darjeelings and the Autumnal Nepalese teas, or the Chinese Feng Huang Hong Cha.

Can you name us a recent discovery?
It would be the Rou Gui Da Wang but I wouldn’t call it a new tea as it’s been in on sale for a couple of months now. I love its roasted notes that are like grilled nuts, its sweet, mineral finish and its long persistence.

Employee profile – Manuel Legault Roy

21 March 2017

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At Camellia Sinensis, the team behind the company is as, if not more, important than the quality of our teas and teaware. This month, we introduce you to Manuel Legault-Roy, who has worked with us for many years.

Manuel, tell us how you started with the company …

By the end March, I will be celebrating 7 years with the company! Time enough that I have had the chance to wear several hats, including that of editor of the Tea Tasters Blog and assistant-manager at the tea salon.

What is your current role in the team?

Since last December, I have switched role to be in charge of the in-house staff training. Basically, my role is to ensure the smooth circulation of tea information through our entire team, so that everyone in the company can easily find their way through the rich and complex world of tea. To do this I have to make sure that my colleagues are constantly refining their knowledge using various resources (specialized training with our expert tasters on specific points, taking workshops in our Tea Schools, collection and distribution of tea articles, one on one trainings or small group meetings to respond to particular themes and/or issues …).

Your favourite tea is …

I don’t think I am can pick a tea and call it my ultimate favourite, not for any period of time! I tend to appreciate tea, in major phases, by style. For instance, when I was first hired by Camellia Sinensis, I drank a lot of Chinese black tea, with a particular liking for Xiao Zhong and Zhenghe Hong Gong Fu. This phase ended about two years ago, to be replaced by a deep thirst for Japanese green teas, in which I have developed a special affection for Sencha Saitama and Kabusecha Saemidori.

What has been your most recent discovery?

I must admit that my discovery of the year for 2016 was a black tea from China. A rather special tea in fact, as though Chinese, this one was transformed with parameters usually reserved for the black teas of Darjeeling. The Jingning Bai Hong Cha 1st flush from Mr. He represents a curious hybrid whose flavours and aromas were unknown to me. After about 10 years of tasting, it is really fantastic to be able to be completely bowled over by a new tea. So in my book I give this honour to this exceptional experimentation by Mr. He.

Tasting Report: Nepal Jun Chiyabari J-215 Autumnal Organic

12 March 2017

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Nepal Jun Chiyabari J-215 Autumnal Organic

If like me you have experienced the fun and excitement felt when receiving a Christmas card from your grandmother in the mail, you will easily understand my enthusiasm for a small envelope left on the counter at Camellia Sinensis recently … A mysterious package containing precious samples sent by our producers! On this “gift under the tree,” a single clue: ”From: Nepal Jun Chiyabari garden / To: Kevin Gascoyne”.

I waited so eagerly for this package because Jun Chiyabari is a garden unlike any other … It has a veritable “Dream Team” for the production of tea: producers whose know-how comes from both Darjeeling and Taiwan, the exploration of the terroirs of the Himalayas with varied cultivars (Indian and Chinese) and benefiting from state-of-the-art Taiwanese equipment! While most gardens in Darjeeling consider the autumn harvest simply as an opportunity to offer teas at a more affordable price and preferentially focus on the quality of the first spring harvests, this Nepalese garden is shaking up tradition and building its reputation on a sophisticated autumn production!

Without further ado, I prepare a first infusion in a Gaiwan following the method of use proposed by the team and take the opportunity to observe and smell the leaves in the dry state: An invigorating minty and pepperry aroma (remember Christmas Candy Canes?) greets me and invites the first sip …

The liquor is clear and bright in warm orange tones, evoking the color of caramel, candied fruit, and even the crust of a pie baked to perfection (… Nostalgia for Christmas, I’m telling you!) .

The bouquet gives my nostrils warm notes of spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon) and cooked vegetables (carrots, parsnips), enhanced with refreshing fruity accents (muscat, orange, cranberries). Bring these ingredients together and you have an interesting recipe for cranberry stew!

In the mouth, I discovered a complex tea, with many facets and very “rhythmic” in the sense that the perception of aromas involves three distinct phases:

1. The fruity, tangy top notes (apples, orange zest, muscatel) gently indicate their presence.

2. The woody and spicy notes of the body make their entry in rapid crescendo, creating a warm plateau  for a few seconds until swallowing;

3. The tail notes offer a surprising gourmet finish of honey, caramelized sugar and chocolate which persist thanks to the phenomenon of retro-olfaction.

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The next day, still amazed by this experience of tasting, I feel the need to talk with my colleague John, the quiet master of the tea inventory in the boutique and a really big fan of Darjeeling and Nepal tea.  After a few minutes of discussion, he  closes his sentence with two words that still resonate in my head:

«It reminds me of a great Darjeeling Samabeong 2006… It was like a CHRISTMAS CAKE !».

In the space of two words, John and I were “on the same page,” with the strange feeling of sharing a meal of the holiday season in mid-February.

Drink together.

(Belated Merry Christmas!)

Jean-François, manager of the latin Quarter boutique

Portrait : Mr Wang, skilled craftsman

5 March 2017

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We are proud to see our Yixing collection enriched by an artist as renowned as Mr Wang! We were lucky enough to be introduced to him by Mr. Yen, a celadon artist and friend of ours.

After graduating from the Jingdezhen Ceramic school in 1991, Mr Wang distinguished himself teaching teapot forms, which quickly became his speciality. Since then he has been award many prizes and distinctions. The success of his studio, opened in 1997 confirms his reputation.

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Mr Wang works with Zisha, a variety of dark stoneware that leads to a certain style of pottery. His mastery of traditional techniques gives him the ease to experiment and adapt the conventions of his milieu. Over time, he has even succeeded in modifying the original colour and texture of this clay, which distinguishes him in his art.

In our first collection of his work is a selection high quality teapots, some real treasures. We also picked up a series of more rustic and affordable cups and storage jars designed by Mr Wang and his team.

 
 

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