Every spring we journey to Asia to source the best teas available, and customers sometimes ask how we go about choosing tea once we get there. Whether in China, Taiwan, Japan, India or Sri Lanka, the procedure is pretty much the same: tasting sets, one for each batch, are lined up in order to compare the selection of teas offered by a given producer. This way, the teas are compared fairly: same leaf weight, same quantity and temperature of water, same infusion time. The dry leaves are displayed next to each tasting bowl, which are placed near the cup’s lid containing the infused leaves. Our eyes, noses, and mouths are put to the test as we try and detect the strengths and weaknesses of every tea . . . sometimes up to several hundred of them! Once our choices are made, price information and batch sizes are discussed and then arrangements are made for the actual purchase and subsequent shipment by air to Montréal. As for the teas produced the rest of the year (when our experts are not in Asia), the producers and suppliers we have been dealing with for years send us numerous samples that we then test in the same way as mentioned before. Thus, throughout the rest of the year, we have the privilege of receiving unique teas chosen from an enormous selection. And that’s how our customers come to be spoilt for choice!
Hugo and Kevin evaluating a large number of Pu Er teas
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