Tea is a product of the Camellia Sinensis evergreen bush. White, green, oolong, black and Pu-Erh teas are essentially the same leaves in a different finished form. At Westholme Tea Farm in British Columbia, there are over 800 Camellia Sinensis plants where you can find quite a nice selection of teas made in Canada!
My husband and I enjoyed a tour of the plantation, which are offered on Thursdays and Sundays, and quite enjoyed discovering the passionate journey of the owners Victor and Margit. Victor is the master of growing the Camellia while his partner Margit is the talented artist behind the teaware and blends.
This unique experience rooted in nature was perfect for both myself as a Tea Sommelier and for my husband that pretty much only drinks black tea with cream (yes, cream!). It was informative for both of us, but in my case, the tactile experience beats everything. It felt like a privilege to touch a Camellia Sinensis bush and even taste a freshly picked leave.
Our visit continued with a tour of the tea and pottery shops. Their passion was obvious and seen in how tea and teaware were so complimentary with each other. Out on their terrace, we ordered a pot of Tree Frog green tea, spring 2018 harvest. We were lucky to sample this tea as they were just about out of stock! The first steep was fresh and green tasting, and the second steep was so smooth. Victor went well beyond what was expected in describing this precious tea and serving it to us. We paired this green tea with their local cheese, crackers and jelly platter (their special of the day) and a rhubarb sorbet. Other customers selected a matcha cheesecake that looked delicious!
I am excited to say I tried a “local” tea and totally enjoyed this experience. For more information about Westholme Tea Farm, visit their website at www.westholmetea.com
Thank you Wang Li for sharing this tea with us!
But what is it? It does not look appealing at first sight. We discovered together (since I cannot read the mandarin text on the label) that it is Pu-Erh tea inside a dried tangerine. How fantastic is that!
Pu-Erh tea is a fermented tea from China. It does physically look like a black tea, but Pu-Erh is a distinct type of tea. The green tea leaves are ripened and aged through a fermentation process, using microbes, while ensuring it is fully oxidized as well. Note that a full oxidation process is undergone to generate black teas.
Back to our little tea ball that ressembles a Death Star, further research online showed us that the Pu-Erh is stuffed inside an empty tangerine (its whole rind) and then left to dry. The Pu-Erh tea will absorb the citrus flavors of the fruit.
We steeped the whole fruit in boiling water for 5 minutes, and actually continued steeping it multiple times. The citrus flavours really came through. It was such as smooth tea, with the earthy flavours so characteristic of Pu-Erh tea. It was delicious. Such a treat. Thank you Wang Li!
Super Bowl LII is coming next weekend. The last thing that I would associate with Football is a nice cup of tea. But we do have a fabulous tea for the occasion: After the Game herbal tea. Yes, we are talking about a decent cure for your hangover! This tea offers a soothing brew, calming herbal notes, vitamins and a spicy blast to take the edge off. If your traditional hangover cure is the ol' hair of the dog, let it cool a little and ad a splash of vodka. Then you get a tea-rrific Bloody Mary.
I would like to thank Karine L. Her travels brought her to taste a very different beer: Porter au Pu Er. A marriage between tea and beer. This combinaison of two of the world's most popular beverage is not something new.
Looking closer to home, in Halifax, you can find a beer infused with lemon verbena. Lemon verbena is a culinary perennial shrub native to South America, popular as herbal tea. The tea is supplied by World Tea House (awesome place by the way) to 2 Crows Brewing Co. I have not tried their I Love You - Brett Saison beer (yes, that is the name of the tea-beer).
Looking even closer to home in our backyards, find Trider's Craft Beer Honey Chaga-Lug brown ale. Although chaga is not considered a tea but a medicinal mushroom, where infusion can be made just like brewing coffees/steeping teas, I wanted to simply outline that this was a very tasty beer; an earthy taste that reminded me of a little spiked pu-erh.
It is back to school. Did you know that we offer training about teas?
Shannon has been shadowing me in the shop for the past couple weeks and she is learning quite a bit about teas. She already completed a cupping to differentiate between the different types of teas (white, green, oolong, black and pu-erh).
For more info, see our Tea Education brochure.
The blueberry season has arrived! With the multiple Festivals around, it is a great time to share my favorite drink: Blueberry Tea!
Actually it is a cocktail made with hot tea and liqueurs. A version of a hot toddy I guess. Blueberry Tea is usually served in a brandy snifter, to concentrate and hold the alcohol fumes released by the tea's heat. It is simple:
"The combination of amaretto, orange liqueur, and hot orange pekoe tea make this warm drink taste reminiscent of blueberries."
It is a fantastic combinaison to travel during your vacations and enjoy other businesses' teas. Both places we stopped at during our stay on the Iles de la Madeleine were fantastic. And they had a tea menu!
At the Café de la Grave, they serve teas from Camellia Sinensis, a Montreal-based tea house that is really worth stopping by if you drive through the big city...
At Le Flâneur, they have great many teas, accessories and very delicious scones with homemade jams.
1. Maritimers are known to love their tea bags. Why not continue the tradition...
2. You choose your perfect favorite tea!
3. It is easy to do. You can share this activity with a friend, family. And once completed, you can enjoy a nice cup of tea together.
4. It is such a cute gift! Think Mother's Day.
5. It makes all of us happy.
Looking for a new board game to play during March Break? The Piano Tea Room has a new exciting game: Barons of Tea! Bring a couple friends and come try this out for free.
Here is a cut and paste from www.boardgamegeek.com:
Barons of Tea is a game for 2-6 players ages 8+. Put on your fancy hat, hop on your boat and get ready for adventures on the high seas!
The British Empire spans across the entire globe and the empire is thirsty. With Barons of Tea you get to step into the shoes of a tea merchant. With 300 pounds of silver in hand and a ship to your name you set off across the sea in a race with other players to be the first to amass 3,000 pounds of silver.
The game play is focused around a commission system, where players race to ports across Africa, India, China and Japan so that they can be the first ones back and receive the highest sale price. The game features seven unique teas, including two special varieties, grown in land-locked regions.
In Barons of Tea there are many different events that can change your fortunes for good or for ill. Each time an odd number is rolled a new event card is drawn. These can bring both good and bad tidings, from finding treasure to finding a dreadful sea beast.
Mélanie Mountan is the owner of the Piano Tea Room. Her two passions together: piano playing/music, and having a cup of tea.