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Our team reveals its tips and tricks

23 July 2017

at 11:51 by Social

CS_Photo_Feuilles2The world of tea is exciting, diverse and surprising. Whether you are an amateur or an expert, there is always something new to discover. Everyone at Camellia Sinensis is a tea enthusiasts whether they are in the shop or the tea house, the warehouse or the central administration. Here are some of their tips and tricks to improve your tea experience.

Explore
Try going off the beaten track, with a family of tea less familiar, it is a great way to expand your palate. While some explorations may prove to be less to your personal taste, the exercise will help you discern new and subtle flavour aspects otherwise unknown to you. Best case: you could be pleasantly surprised and find a new favourite!

Here’s a way you can start: try our 15$ “all you can drink tea” promotion, available at our Montreal tea house. Our experts will guide you and help you to discover something new.

Tastings
When buying a new tea or a tea that is a little more expensive, try to create the perfect occasion to savour it in a Gaiwan or Gong Fu Cha. Creating that moment will surely make it more memorable!

After this, try the same tea in more “regular” teapot setting – this will just surely change the overall taste experience but your knowledge of the tea will be installed.

Various tips

  • Pre-heat your teapot before an infusion. A great tip to make sure your water temperature is accurate and retain heat while you drink it.
  • Pour a first cup then pour it back into the teapot: this will allow the liquor to circulate and even out.
  • Try high-pouring your tea. This can help cool your tea by up to 10 degrees Celsius.
  • For teas that require rinsing, pre-heat the pot at the same time with the same water…It saves both water and time!
  • With Gaiwan, pour out a small quantity to taste directly. This will allow you to observe the evolution of the infusion
  • When trying to choose between a $20 or $200 Chawan, ask one of our experts how it should be held. Feeling the object will help you choose.
  • Moving around with tea usually means spills. Using a tea boat as a tray help retain any overflow or drips.
  • To protect those delicate tea leaves (green or white tea leaves), pour a very thin trickle of cold water on to them prior to infusion. This will prevent them from mild scalding and help towards a perfect infusion.


What are YOUR tips & tricks?

Team Portrait: Josiane Monette

20 July 2017

at 22:01 by Social

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(Josiane is on the left side)

At Camellia Sinensis, the quality of our teas has our reputation but the quality of our team makes it all possible. This month, we introduce to you Josiane Monette.

How did you come to work at Camellia Sinensis?

After I got weary of selling upscale furniture, I found Camellia Sinensis and I haven’t let go since – that was almost 11 years ago. The funny thing is that I never had tea outside of your “everyday commercial tea” but I thought I’d try interviewing regardless. I got a lucky because they needed seven new employees, (the Jean-Talon boutique was about to open) so my lack of tea knowledge wasn’t a barrier. To be honest, after the first interview, I really felt a good vibe and knew we would all get along– I knew I wanted to work there and be a part of the team. That’s why I was really happy to have been chosen and I can safely say that after 11 years of working for such a humane company, being hired has been a turning point in my life on many levels.

What is your role within the team?

I’ve worn many different hats over the years and what I do on the daily is quite diverse. Part of what I’m responsible for is scheduling for both Montreal stores and the teahouse. I also assist for accounting; I plan workshops for the tea school and also some logistics for events. I give conferences in various venues and also for the tea school. I also try to go to the Jean-Talon store to help out with clients as much as possible. It helps me stay in touch with our awesome clientele and learn about their tastes. Office work can be great, but it’s not the same than face-to-face interactions and a cup of tea.

Your favourite tea is…

A black wulong tea from Taiwan called Gabacha, I can never get tired of drinking it. I find it so comforting with its spicy cinnamon and ripe fruits notes. It makes me daydream which actually works out great because I tend to multi-task, and think up of many projects at once. What’s also great is that if I over infuse it by forgetting it, it won’t turn bitter– actually it’s at its best after a good 8 minutes. Otherwise, I like all Pu Er’s with accentuated earthy notes and my Darjeeling Thurbo morning tea.

Tell us about your most recent find.

With all the new springtime arrivals, it’s hard to make a choice. A tea I recently rediscovered this week is the Jingxian Jin Jun Mei, an excellent Chinese black tea. It has floral and woody aromas and a velvety texture reminiscent of honey. Its finesse is unmatched and its just excellent with croissants and jam on a beautiful Sunday morning.

JASMIN’S TOP 3 FOR 2017. DISCOVER HIS FAVOURITES

14 July 2017

at 18:47 by Social

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China specialist, Jasmin has covered six of China’s producing regions since 2003, tasting and selecting teas of every style. Here are his picks for Spring 2017:

Du Yun Hong Cha

A great surprise awaited me as I arrived in Du Yun in the Guizhou province this year, as I tasted the first black tea made by M Li, who normally only makes green tea (Du Yun Mao Jian). I was immediately charmed by the beautiful leaves, fruity aroma and its beautiful sweetness. A great success for his first black tea production not to mention its unbeatable price. I have no doubt that this tea will find its way into our Tea and Scotch tastings, paired with a Speyside or a scotch aged in sherry casks.

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Anji Bai Cha

Despite the small harvest in Anji the quality is really exceptional this year. Over time and repeated visits to Anji I now have access to some rare batches of this grand cru. Quite the comeback for this ‘modern classic’ Chinese green tea!  The explosion of concentrated aromas makes this tea one of the highlights of this year’s Chinese green teas of the selection. To be enjoyed in a gaiwan or with a small quantity of water.

Pu Bu Long Zhu

This Zhejiang green tea is handmade by M Wang who also owns a company that manufactures machines to process green tea. These tightly wrapped leaves give off fragrant aromas and a texture similar to certain Japanese green teas. A perfect everyday tea with great depth.

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Small Tasting Guide (Part 2)

9 July 2017

at 22:24 by Social

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Excerpt from our book - ‘TEA History, Terroirs, Varieties.

Aside from the wealth of knowledge, cultural and personal experience a taster possesses he or she must be able to summon up several skills. One of them is the ability to analyse sensations in order to express them clearly.

When one inhales a fragrance, an image or an emotion often comes to mind more readily than a word. Unfortunately, without the help of the right vocabulary, an emotion can be difficult to interpret. Associating a smell with a word allows us to classify it, to categorize it so that it will be easier to communicate or recognize later.

Learning the right vocabulary is therefore fundamental. By developing our olfactory memory every day and becoming aware of the smells around us, our senses will naturally learn to be more precise.

Naming the aromas of a tea is much more difficult than detecting the various flavors, for a very simple reason: an infusion of tea releases several hundred volatile molecules. Bombarded with all this information, the brain has to sort and summarize.

To learn how to use the vocabulary of tasting correctly, it is a good idea to start by getting to know the various styles of tea aromas. The aim is not to learn by heart all these terms and definitions, but to better understand the groups of smells according to their olfactory characteristics. Of course, the fragrances of tea are not set, and they can belong to several families and often mingle different shades of various aromas, mystifying us and enhancing our pleasure….Enjoy!

The Camellia Sinensis Flavour Wheel (see image above) is now used by tea companies all over the World.  It was first developed by our team back in 2008 as we put all the material together for the original French edition of our book ‘TEA History, Terroirs, Varieties.  It is a tea specific version of similar flavour wheels used in the worlds of wine, scotch and other forms of tasting.

Summertime recipes

6 July 2017

at 10:13 by Social

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Perhaps tea is not the first drink that comes to mind to quench a Summer thirst but its versatility can makes it a choice beverage for all seasons. Try an iced-version of a matcha, chai latte, or even your favourite infusion with some basil, citrus, mint – the options are endless. You could even use up some of those older leaves that are hanging out in the back of the cupboard.

Here are a few Summertime recipes that the whole family will enjoy:

Matcha Shake

Ingredients

  • 750ml (3 cups) of cold, soya milk OR 2% cow’s milk
  • 250ml (1 cup) of cold water (or a mix of ice cubes and water)
  • 3 tsp Matcha Sora
  • 4 tsp Raw sugar (or 2 tsp for sweetened soy milk)

Preparation
Put all ingredients into an electric blender, or in a shaker
Blend/mix until Matcha has completely dissolved
Serve and enjoy!

matcha

Iced chai latte

Ingredients

  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk 3.25% or soya milk.
  • 4 tsp. chai Camellia spice/tea mix, or another
  • 4 tsp. teaspoon raw sugar

Preparation

  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the chai mixture to the boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add milk and sugar and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste. Filter to remove leaves and spices. Complete with a few ice cubes.
  4. Note: If you use sweetened soy milk, reduce the quantity of sugar to 2 tsp, to taste.

Homemade iced tea

ALL teas can be infused cold. It makes a great way to use up a your old reserves.

Preparation (4 cups)

  1. Use 4 teaspoons of your choice of tea.
  2. Pour 1 litre of cold water onto the leaves
  3. Add some flavour(orange, lime, spice, herbs etc.)
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar
  5. Leave to infuse for at least 6 hours or leave mixture in the fridge overnight.

Tasty additions:
-Green Tea, mint and lime.
-Black Tea, orange and spice (cardamom, ginger, cinnamon etc)
-Wulong Tea, rose-petals, basil.

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Vodka iced tea cocktail

Ingredients

Preparation
Mix all ingredients in an Old Fashion glass with ice. Add a mint leave for decoration

*Mint syrup
Boil ½ cups of sugar with ¾ cups of water. Remove once sugar has completely dissolved. Add ¼ cups of finely chopped mint leves and infuse for 30 minutes. Filter.

Photo Credit : Christina Fayad, Art Director at  PUR vodka

 

 
 

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