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Teamwork Rewarded!

26 June 2018

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The 2018 edition of the annual World Tea Awards, was hosted by World Tea Expo on June 12th. We were so proud to have been nominated in 4 categories, and delighted to be announced the winners of two!

Kevin and Jasmin were in Las Vegas to attend the ceremony, and to meet fellow tea aficionados and friends from all over the World. Our passion for sharing leaf and knowledge has made us many friends in every part the tea industry so when we were announced winners, the crowd’s rowdy, enthusiastic reaction was quite moving.

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Best Tea Shop

Having been crowned winners of the Best Tea Blog, Best Tea Book and Best Tea Website over the past few years, we had the immense honour of being voted winner of “Best Tea Shop” by the international tea community. A great achievement and perfect timing for our 20th anniversary (on November 16 this year).
We owe this award to our our fabulous in-store team, past and present, devoting themselves day in and day out to sharing our values and their passion for tea with our loyal community. It is always great to win awards and be recognized by our industry, but this award is a little sweeter as the World’s tea community is directly recognizing the heart and soul of what we do.

The impact of our little company throughout the rest of the world always surprises us when we are at these events. Tea lovers from all over the planet know us and so many make the pilgrimage to Montreal and Quebec to visit our teahouses and Tea School. There are very few tea houses with such a large selection backed up by such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team…there is certainly nothing quite like this in Toronto, Boston, or even New York.

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So congratulations and thank you to our fantastic team – you certainly deserve the all the praise and credit. And of course thanks to our loyal clients and tea community that make what we do possible.

Best Website

For the third year in a row, our online store has been recognized again as Best Tea Industry Website. Secretly, behind the scenes, our website is getting a new look, with new sections and an improved user experience. So stay tuned!

Our favourite teas, served ice cold

20 June 2018

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Summer is getting nearer and our freezers are ready with fresh ice, be it at home, in cafés or even restaurants. To beat the heat, there’s nothing quite like iced teas and here are some great ideas to make your summer just a bit cooler:
CAMELLIA SINENSIS ICED TEAS

Our ‘must try’ line of iced teas: three aromatized blends that are both tasty and refreshing. You can get them in bulk or in convenient pre measured 20g teabags (for 2L servings) with easy to follow instructions on the label. You can even get them on the go at our boutique if you’re up for a bubbly version!

JAPANESE STYLE

As much as Japan is known for their rich tea cultures and traditions they have also mastered the art of bottling tea. In fact a large part of the tea consumed in Japan comes directly from vending machines, be it green tea, wulong or jasmin teas.

To infuse these teas at home use: 15g per liter (of cold water). Infuse for 6-12h with optional sugar (to taste).

Our suggestions :

  • Green tea – Organic Kukicha (vegetal, sweet and fruity), Organic Gyokuro Shizuoka (intense chlorophyll flavour, gentle and marine).
  • Wulong – Shui Xian Lao Cong (Hazelnut, sweet grilled), Si Ji Chun (floral and buttery)
  • Jasmin tea – Perles du Dragon (floral and refreshing)

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ICE TEA QUICKLY

If you’re in a hurry, infuse your tea with hot water as you normally would and simply cool it off. How? Ice cubes are handy for this so make your infusion a little more concentrated so water from the melted ice balances out. If this hot infusion method makes your brew a little bitter, add a small amount of sugar.

Suggested recipe: 2.5 g of tea in a 250ml cup of hot water, infuse 5 minutes and pour into a tall glass with ice and add sugar as needed.

Our suggestions :

  • Black tea – Sikkim Temi organic 1st flush. Very thirst quenching with hints of wildflower and bark. Add honey or sugar!
  • PuEr teas – 2006 Bulang Shan (shou). A tasty surprise if you’d like to try something different. Hints of dry earth and cocoa bark.
  • Matcha latté – Prepare the matcha as you normally poured in a cold glass. You can also do this with a cocktail shaker.

Summer is served!

Tea 101: The Perfect Teapot Infusion

18 June 2018

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What makes a great infusion? Well everyone has there own personal preferences, so it is important to judge your own infusion with the confidence that ‘you know how you like it’. Here is a very simple guide to help you move towards brewing your perfect teapot infusion every time. Don’t forget that though teapots are the most common and practical tools for brewing tea, experimenting with a Gaiwan, Gong Fu Cha or Senchado can often enhance your tasting experience even more.

White tea

  • Dosage: 3g/250ml (2 tsp)
  • Duration: 5 to 7 minutes
  • Temperature: between 65 and 90 degrees Celsius. A lower temperature is recommended for teas with unmolded buds (Bai Hao Yin Zhen), and a higher temperature for buds with silver to black buds. (ex: Darjeeling Avongrove)
  • Tips: try drinking white teas in a small volume of water, in a Gaiwan for example, to appreciate all the subtleties.

Yellow teas

  • Dosage: 3g/250ml (1.5 tsp)
  • Duration: 4 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 75 and 85 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: Prepared in a Gaiwan, yellow tea will have the strength of a green tea, and in teapot, it will rather have the sweetness of a white tea.

Chinese green teas

  • Dosage: 2.5-3g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 75 and 85 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: Try Chinese green teas in a Gaiwan!

Japanese green teas

  • Dosage: 2.5g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 60 and 85 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: The senchado technique is recommended for the highest grades.

Wulong

  • Dosage: 3g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 4 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: 95 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: It is suggested to rinse the leaves so they unfold more easily, and to use a brewer large enough for the same reason.

Black teas

  • Dosage: 2.5g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Temperature: between 85 and 95 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: The more the leaves are broken or crushed, the lower the brewing time should be.

Pu Er

  • Dosage: 2.5g/250ml (1 tsp)
  • Duration: 3 to 6 minutes
  • Temperature: between 90 and 95 degrees Celsius.
  • Tips: It is suggested to rinse the leaves for at least 5 seconds.

Enjoy!

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2018 Travels, from East to West China with Jasmin Desharnais

16 June 2018

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After 16 years of annual buying in China, Jasmin chose a very diversified itinerary this time around. During the month of April, he began further North focussing on accessories and teaware before heading East in search of the Spring highlights of various regions in their green, white, wulong and black teas.
An Early Season

Following a hot and rainy early Spring in China, the 2018 harvest season came 7-15 days early resulting in a yield increase of +/- 15% and a consequent, lack of workers in some of the gardens to harvest the crop.

Conversely, the April 8th low temperatures in the eastern part of the country brought frost damage in some of the gardens. Very special attention was needed as Jasmin tasted the teas the next day, April 9th … they were delicious! The thermal shock had stimulated the aromatic chemistry in the leaves very favourably and he selected a few teas from this precious harvest such as Long Jing Bai Ye and Huiming.

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Discover the Tea Studio

Jasmin also had the objective this year of introducing the Tea Studio, our new project in India, to his producer and tea institute friends in China. The diversity of Chinese teas is such that they rarely get to drink teas from other countries. So Jasmin had a lot of fun telling them about our project, and having Chinese tea friends taste our first 4 teas.

Mr. He, a Chinese producer with whom we have been collaborating for 14 years, will visit the Tea Studio between October 4th and 9th. We are very excited to welcome him! He will be helping train the Indian team to refine their green tea production.
The Taster Develops his Skills

As you may know, 2018 already marks the 20 years of existence of Camellia Sinensis. Having spent 20 years as a taster and buyer, Jasmin is now looking forward to acquiring a more multidisciplinary expertise in the tea industry. In coming years he will increasingly focus on the processing of tea and scientific research. More than ever, he wants to get his “hands dirty”. To this end he will set up his future trips slightly differently. Aside from his buying he will select a few producers where he will spend a little more time to deepen very specific areas of his knowledge for a longer period.
His 2018 Highlight

This year, our Long Jing Jingning Bai was Jasmin’s favourite. A green tea with such rich flavours of flowers and fresh hazelnut.

China: Francois brings back an exceptional tea!

11 June 2018

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Every spring, François Marchand scours various tea producing regions of China in search of ultimate quality leaf. This also gives him the opportunity to meet producers, who are his longterm friends, visit their gardens and discover some new teas.

Being a tea taster sometimes means spending entire days tasting hundreds of teas to find THE perfect one for our catalogue. As part of his research, François frequently uses “comparative tasting”, where he sequentially tastes several grades of the same tea, infused with the same parameters. He first examines the dry leaves, then the infused leaves, and then finally tastes the liquor. It’s a lengthy process that often involves several infusions in order to to note a degree of persistence.

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Last April, during a comparative tasting of Wei Shan Mao Jian (one of our most beloved teas over the last 7 years), François was struck by their grade 1, a small batch of very prestigious tea. When he tasted this year’s batch he simply couldn’t resist bringing it home for us to taste it.

This sublime green tea comes from Mr. Wang’s certified organic garden where his son, a graduate of the Tea University, recently took over the garden. A complete, harmonious tea to enjoy through many infusions. We recommend using a gaiwan or a beaker to discover all its nuances.

Note: this tea is offered online and only in very limited quantities (500g in total were produced). Do not miss out on tasting such an exceptional tea! It is also a perfect opportunity to compare it to our regular grade Wei Shan Mao Jian, more frank, but just as delicious.

Enjoy!

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Tasting Notes: 2018 Wei Shan Mao Jian

10 June 2018

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Alexis, tea consultant at our Quebec boutique, recently shared with us his tasting notes for the 2018 Wei Shan Mao Jian, a Chinese green tea from Hunan.

Specs: Gaiwan infusion, 5g., 80 °C

First and foremost, beautifully twisted, dark green leaves and plenty of buds. A subtle hint of hay, wild flowers and pollen.

First infusion (40 seconds)

The infused leaves transform from dark to pale, with uniformity. Powerful notes of toasted-buttered, hazelnut, snow peas and vegetable sugar begin to release. Bright and slightly hazy, the liquor is of a lovely pale emerald colour. On the palate, its silky texture offers a vegetal scent, slightly tannic with sweet persistence.

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Second infusion (1 minute)

The second infusion offers more floral and zesty notes with a slightly toasted edge. On the palate the liquor is more rounded like a floral style Japanese sencha.

Enjoy.

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The Quest for Fresh Leaf

6 June 2018

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Since 1998, our team of four tasters scour various producing countries every Spring in search of the ultimate quality leaf. This tradition makes it the most exciting time of the year for our both our loyal clientele and, of course, the entire Camellia team. The return of Francois, Jasmin, Hugo and Kevin is always an exciting time.

Exceptional Quality

When it comes to selecting teas, we chose to do it first hand: directly on location, each and every year. It is this unusual approach that allows us to vouch for the quality of all our products. It is paramount in our approach to see the gardens, get a feel for the teas and how they’re produced. Furthermore, each of our four expert tasters have explored their specific region for many years building relationships with the suppliers, and accumulating expertise as buyers. The result is a unique knowledge of key tea growing regions bringing you World class teas.

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Fresh Arrivals

There’s nothing like tasting tea fresh from the harvest. It’s a unique treat for your tastebuds. At this time the aromas and flavours are at their most explosive. While the quality of a well preserved tea is always great, it’s never quite the same as those first few weeks. Thus the yearly excitement that our whole team enjoys, tasting these fresh new arrivals. As for some of the Grand Crus….magic moments.

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New Discoveries

Tasting a newly discovered tea can be so exciting but the same can be said about rediscovering the new harvest of an existing tea, the natural similarities and differences that vary year after year.

Experience the unique freshness of springtime arrivals: pass by one of our stores to chat with our team and taste our new selections. Enjoy the bonus of a few great travel anecdotes.

Enjoy!

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Tasting: sparkling teas

2 June 2018

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Sometimes, our team likes to think that they’re scientists and try to test test certain mixes while at the office. While times they can be successful, other times…. a little less;)

Jean-François and François-Napoléon, manager and assistant manager of our Émery store, were curious about creating sparkling teas. They chose to infuse tea in Eska sparkling water, at room temperature, for an hour with a dosage of one teaspoon per cup of 250ml. A spectacular tasting experience for thrill seekers, as mineral water enhances the flavours by adding a salty side!

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Here are the sparkling teas they created, and their thoughts:

  • Feng Huang Hong Cha: with its dominant woody and strong fruity and exotic accents, it was a real revelation!
  • Organic Bai Hao Jingmai: Surprising, with its hint of clove – worthy of a chai.
  • Gyokuro Okabe: amplified by minerals, it evokes the saline and vegetal power of algae and oysters!

Do you dare to try?

Enjoy!

 
 

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