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Meet our New Project: Tea Studio

28 March 2018

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For 20 years, our passionate team has been touring Asia in search of the finest teas and objects to offer. Our curiosity and know-how in the field has brought us to open our stores, write various books, build a tea school and open the first bar in Quebec. It is with the same passion that we have worked on a secret project for over two years, a brand new experiment in the industry: Tea Studio.

We are up and running after an epic journey that has taken us from Indi’s original vision, through a sea of red tape and bureaucratic obstacles. Mountains of paperwork and swamps of unexpected delay. Our chant throughout has been ‘Slowly, slowly catch the monkey! Our patience and resolve seem to have paid off and the Tea Studio is a gleaming example of a new artisanal approach to premium tea manufacture. It draws on many innovative elements of design, technology, environmental and social responsibility. And the tea tastes great!!

What is the Tea Studio?

The Tea Studio Project brings together tea experts from 3 continents.  This experimental micro-unit is equipped for a progressive approach to tea manufacture.  Designed to cater to the rapidly expanding market for ‘boutique’ style tea with a wide diversity of ‘tailor made’, whole-leaf teas.

 Where is it located?

he Nilgiri region is a great source of both clonal and classic seed-grown tea of both Camellia sinensis var.sinensis and Camellia sinensis var.assamica varieties. Plans to grow cultivars from other regions are already on the drawing board.

What makes it unique?

With Chinese tea culture spanning almost 5000 years the Chinese are unquestionably the masters of manually transformed, ‘hand-made’ teas.  In recent years the struggle to continue these artisanal practices and the increasing volumes of production make it difficult and expensive to ‘hand roll’ tea.  In reaction to this situation a whole range of small, very specialized machines has been developed to mimic the manipulation, rolling, pressing etc. of different styles of finished tea.

The Tea Studio team has selected 28 of these cutting edge Chinese machines for the Tea Studio set-up. This line of machines yields 5 styles of finished leaf.  When we add to 5 leaf styles to all the varied levels of oxidation the possibilities are vast.  With the guidance of our team of experienced tea planters and tasters it all makes for a very exciting playing field.

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The team

The workforce on the shop-floor is a group of women that grew up in tea from the nearby villages:

Our tea maker and supervisor is Vaideghi Kannan, 33 years old and a high school graduate, mother of two. Her family have a couple of small tea holdings nearby and supply the Tea Studio with leaf on a regular basis. She lives in the village.

Chitra is 28 years old. Mother of a 4 year old son. Her family also have small tea holdings nearby and her husband works as the night watchman for the Tea Studio. She also lives in a nearby village.

Pavitra is 21 years old, and recently finished her teachers training course. She still lives with her parents who have a small tea holding. She also lives in a nearby village.

Kalpana is 22 years old, has a B.A. and lives with her parents. Her family have a small tea holding also in the next village.

Discover our first arrivals :

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Tasting: First Flush and words

23 March 2018

at 17:14 by Social

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As a tea enthusiast, I like to know our products in depth.

Our Darjeeling First Flush promotion gives me the perfect reason to organize a comparative tasting to learn about their nuances and appreciate their evolution over time.

For this tasting, I used 2.5g and infused them 3 minutes at 95 ° C.

First, you should compare their visual and aromatic differences.

Tasting the liquors allows you to judge the textures, strengths, balance between the flavors and perfumes.

I like to play a game with my colleagues, where I ask them to associate a word with each tea. This allows us to memorize which is the most soft or floral… We can push the exercise further with 2-3 words or more according to what inspires us and what stories the teas tell us.

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For example, for the 7 Darjeeling First Flush we have on the table, here’s what we got:

1 – Thurbo DJ-16: Soft, lavender, peach, light, sweet.

2 – Muscatel DJ-1: Muscat, biting, limestone, zesty.

3 – Singell DJ-19: White flower, fresh grass (parsley, basil), bright, well structured.

4 – Oaks DJ-2: Classic, woody, sweet, amber, saponin.

5 – Sungma DJ-8: Malty, nuts, young Pu Er Sheng.

6 – Castleton DJ-1: Full-bodied, latex, citrus, firewood.

7 – Jungpana DJ-3: Balanced, spicy, salty, cherry, bark.

We can also use images, memories, shapes or colours to describe our impressions. Those that appear to us first are often very relevealing. I try to avoid censoring myself as much as possible. The important thing is to keep a living memory of our perceptions. The Sungma really makes me think of a young Pu Er Sheng!

Have a great spring… and enjoy our First Flush, while we await for the 2018 arrivals.

2018 Tea Industry trends

22 March 2018

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Here are few trends to watch in the coming year.

Matcha

 

Increasingly popular over the last few years, Matcha will undoubtedly continue to be popular for a while longer! It can be enjoyed in its traditional form, as a latte drink (hot or iced) or easily incorporated into pastries and other recipes. It is the best way to get a lot of tea’s powers in one dose.

Tisanes

More and more people are looking for both caffeine-free and local products: tisanes make a delicious choice. Unlike our tea selection, our herbal producers are all Canadian growers and herbalists, mostly from our own beautiful province. The ingredients for the blends are harvested by hand and dried using traditional methods that preserve their aromatic oils and benefits. A great way to relax and buy local!

Kombucha

If you haven’t heard the word “kombucha” in the past year, you must have been in a remote corner of the planet!

Originally from Asia, Kombucha is more than 2000 years old, but its large-scale popularity in the West is recent. This beverage of infused tea fermented with a specific mushroom culture in and is an excellent alternative to alcoholic beverages. In our stores on Émery St. and in Quebec City we offer several flavours of Lao Kombucha all made with our teas, either in bottles or on draught.

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Food pairings & cocktails

 

Tea alone is a simple and pure delight and often compared it to wine for their many parallels. In addition to teas classic pairings of chocolate, biscuits or desserts why not try a more innovative pairing with scotch, cheese or oysters. In recent years tea is increasingly a favourite ingredient for lovers of cocktail mixology.

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Travels 2018: our Tea Tasters’ Plans

20 March 2018

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At the end of March, Camellia Sinensis’ four tasters will travel to the four corners of Asia on their annual quest for Asia’ best leaf, to meet our loyal producers and also to continue various new projects.

Kevin Gascoyne

Between March 28th and May 14th, Kevin will visit India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Kevin begins his annual trip in Kolkata, before heading to Darjeeling in the Himalaya to find the best First Flush lots of the year. He will also visit one of his favourite gardens, Jun Chiyabari, Nepal, and meet our Earl Grey tea producer, Puttajhora, before heading to southern India to visit our new project the Tea Studio (details to come!). He will end his annual trip to Sri Lanka to visit various producers. This year, Kevin will be accompanied by François the assistant manager of the Quartier Latin boutique. Will he be able to keep up with Kevin, who is on his 25th trip to India? To be continued…

François Marchand

From April 8th to 26th, François will travel to China with a very special guest: Leika, his 11 year-old daughter. Francois is making a strong case to win the title of “Father of the Year”! During his trip, he will present our Certificate of Excellence to one of his favourite producers, Mr. Ye, who produces Tai Ping Hou Kui. He will also visit Mrs. Zhang, one of our favourite potters, with whom he will discuss glazes and new teaware projects. François and Leika will send us video updates and reports as during the trip.

Jasmin Desharnais

From April 9th to 30th, as part of its 16th spring on the Tea Route in China, Jasmin has quite the diverse itinerary. He will begin his annual journey exploring accessories in the north of the country. He will then continue in the east, looking for the best green, white and black teas. He will then end up in west central China in Guizhou Province where he will give a conference at the Guizhou Tea University.

Hugo Americi

From May 3rd to 19th during his 10th trip to Taiwan, Hugo will be accompanied by Manuel, manager of the Montreal Tearoom. It is Manual’s first trip to Asia he will assist various meetings with the producers, then then travel to South Korea with Hugo. A country that has eluded the Camellia Sinensis Catalogue as yet due to quality price ratio. A very interesting new departure.

 
 

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