Sip - issue 19

Page 1


Canada I s s u e 1 9 w i n t e r 2 0 2 2
sip s i p
Shabnam Weber THAC President Assistant Editor: Adi Baker, THAC Communication & Programs Coordinator ©Copyright2022 sip is published four times a year by the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada. If you would like more information on advertising or would like to submit an article idea, email us at Tea.Association.of.Canada CanadaTea CanadaTea FOLLOW US::
#BrewCrew Editor:

c o n t r i b u t o r s

It all started in 2008 with one store on Queen St., Toronto, bonding with people over our passion for tea. Fast-forward over a decade later, we ’ ve connected with millions of tea lovers from coast to coast online and IRL through thousands of signature blends We’re still early on our journey, and we hope you’ll tag along as we continue to push the boundaries of what tea can be Together, let’s bring more people into the wonderful world of tea, one cup at a time

Rita Fong is certified TAC Tea Sommelier® and one of the first graduates, in 2009, from the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada's Tea Sommelier® Program. Since graduating, she has continued her tea studies through travels and tastings, visiting China and meeting generations of tea growers and harvesters, coupled with master ceramicists creating traditional pots and cups in the land of their heritage She's been an organizer of the Toronto Tea Festival since its inception and a member of THAC and the Tea Guild of Canada She contributes to various tea industry publications such as Tea Journey Magazine and World Tea News. She also acts the Social Media Director for the Toronto Tea Festival. Her love of tea gives her some respite from her work in the Financial Services Industry. She can be found at

Tea Horse, established in 2017 by Denise Atkinson, Anishinaabe ikwe (English: Ojibwe woman) and her partner Marc H Bohémier, is an Indigenous-owned artisanal tea company located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg Peoples in Northwestern Ontario

Theresa Lemieux is a Certified TAC Tea Sommelier® and a food blogger at The Everything, where she cooks and bakes with tea. A frequent contributor to SIP Magazine, she writes about all aspects of tea, including health, tea-and-food pairings, and trends in global tea culture. Theresa has hosted online tea-tastings for WNED Buffalo Toronto Public Media as well as private tastings, both virtually and in person She firmly believes that there is always time for a cup of tea Follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @the everything kitchen ca

In this Issue

Letter from the President

Interview with Will Dixon

How It Started: Toronto Tea Festival

Functional Tea Tea, Health & Flavanoids

Wild Rice & Tea

Cheers with Tea

Country Profile: Kenya

Indi's Musings: Antifreeze Ambrosia

Pie :

Chai Apple Pie

Cream Earl Grey Pecan Pie

Lemon Sencha Meringue Pie

Very Berry Fruit Pie

Black Tea Steak & Mushroom Pie

Manila's Rising Sun

Something From the Heart

Maple Tea Onion Gallette

Pu-erh Spiced Moroccan Hand Pie

Black Tea Chicken Pot Pie

As we get ready to wrap up another year, like so many of you, I'm looking back and reflecting. Here in Canada, we ' re ending the year quite differently than when we started it. Our first holidays since 2019 without restrictions, we ' re all celebrating a little differently. I've found myself quite often thinkng about the habits I was forced to lose in the past few years, the ones I gained, and trying to decide which of each I wanted to keep in my life Back when we all thought lockdowns would be just a few short weeks, I wrote a piece called '5 Lessons', it was a letter to my post-Covid self and it seems appropriate to share it here now:

You can only control you and your surroundings – let everything else go. Don’t waste your time and energy on things that are out of your control The logic here lies in that very sentence…out of your control. Loosen your grip and release. It’s okay to not be okay. Admitting that is not a sign of weakness, it’s the truest form of strength.Showing you ’ re vulnerable simply allows others to be the same. Nobody is living the curated existence you see on Instagram. Remember the circle you drew around yourself. That is your tribe. Nurture them.

You drew a circle. It may not have been conscious. Within were the ones you called and worried about. Your unconscious self knew instinctively who belonged in that circle Take care of them – even when things appear to be good again Remember the things you chose to do. They give you comfort. Make time for them. No – you ’ re not too busy to bake/sing/facetime/knit/read/yoga/meditate/run You choose to not give them priority and yet they give you comfort That’s what feeds your soul The things you think are essential in life…aren’t. Well they simply aren’t And doing with less, it didn’t kill you!

I wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season, with your family, your loved ones, your tribe. May you be surrounded by love and laughter and a hot cup of tea.



Will Dixon Tea Buyer at Taylors of Harrogate, the home of Yorkshire Tea

Will Dixon is a Tea Buyer at Taylors of Harrogate, the home of Yorkshire Tea, which is the number one black tea brand in the UK. He was born in Yorkshire but grew up in Scotland. He’s been with the business for 10 years after starting as a Trainee Tea Buyer. Will has travelled to many countries to visit tea estates (Kenya, India, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Malawi) Before becoming a Tea Buyer, Will was a sheep farmer in the Scottish Borders. At university he studied economics.

Yorkshire Tea is produced by Taylors of Harrogate, an independent family business based in Harrogate, England, devoted to the craft of outstanding tea and coffee since 1886

What's your first memory involving tea?

My first memories of tea are of me sitting around the kitchen table with all the family while numerous mugs of tea were drunk. My family are farmers and are big tea drinkers, so on the bad weather days when not much farming could be done, then many hours would be spent drinking tea and talking about all sorts of topics.

Will tasting teas in the Taylors of Harrogate tasting room in Harrogate

In Harrogate, North Yorkshire (where our tasting room is located) I work with my fellow Tea Buyers to make the most of the quality and flavour we find in the tea that we source from the best factories and farmers around the world We taste 100s of teas a day from lots of different origins that each have their own flavour profile, before deciding which ones to buy Once the tea arrives in Harrogate we carefully blend them together to make a smooth and refreshing brew to ensure that the tea that reaches our customers is always consistent and delicious.

I’m not sure there is a typical day as a Tea Buyer It’s a job with amazing variety I taste and buy teas for both Yorkshire Tea and our Taylors speciality range and work with producers around the world to ensure that we can continue to source the top-quality teas that go into our blends. Building strong relationships with the producers we buy from is hugely important to us and helps us to source the very best teas year after year

We spend a lot of time and effort working closely with our suppliers so that they know exactly what we ’ re looking for and can produce tea that really suits our blends, which then means they can then sell more of their tea to us. Working face to face and tasting with each other is the best way to do this so we travel to see our suppliers as often as we can Without great suppliers we could not make great products

When I’m visiting tea estates, I will normally stay on the estate in the manager ’ s house with them and their families (so far in my career I’ve been lucky enough to visit estates in India, Sri Lanka,

Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Uganda) It’s often an early start as manufacture of the previous day’s plucked tea leaves starts in the early hours of the morning. I’ll taste the latest tea produced alongside the factory team and sometimes do some experimental work looking at adjusting the various stages of manufacture. I’ll then look around the fields on the estates and visit smallholder farms to see what is happening there It’s an opportunity for us to see firsthand what issues the industry and local communities are facing. We work on a lot of social and environmental projects with our supplier partners to try and address these challenges.

How much tea do you drink in a day?

When I first started tasting tea (up to 500 different teas a day) I would get dehydrated as although I’d be tasting lots, I would be spitting it back out (into a spittoon) and so wouldn’t be taking on much fluid. I now drink around eight cups of tea a day, mainly Yorkshire Gold and the latest seasonal specialty tea arrivals from around the globe. That’s another great thing about being a taster – you get to taste the freshest teas as each new season starts so there’s always lots of variety in what I’m drinking It’s great when the amazing First Flush Darjeeling samples arrive at the end of March and then the Second Flush Assam samples start being delivered from the end of May onwards.

What are you seeing in the market that excites you for tea?

There’s lots of experimental manufacture going on at the moment as producers try to access new markets by replicating styles from other tea origins whilst at the same time putting their own twist on it. It’s always interesting to taste teas from the latest factory trials.

2. What does a typical workday in the tea industry consist of for you?

If you could drink tea with anyone - living or dead - who would it be and what tea would you serve?

I’m not a big one for celebrity so I’d have to say if I could pick anyone it would be my parents. They actually live less than an hour away from Howick Hall, which was the family home of the former UK Prime Minister Earl Grey who the famous tea is named after – so I would serve a nice cup of Earl Grey!

If you weren't in tea, what would you be doing?

Before I joined Taylors, I was working on my family farm in Scotland. It’s in an arable area (we mainly grow wheat and barley) but we also kept around 600 sheep, which used to take up most of my time with feeding, shearing, lambing, selling and buying I wasn’t particularly looking for a job at the time, but I just happened to see a piece on the local news one lunchtime about Yorkshire Tea looking to recruit someone who loved tea and who loved to travel, to become their new trainee tea buyer. I jumped at the chance Amazingly about 1,200 people applied for the role and I ended up being the lucky one So, if I hadn’t seen the story on the news and I wasn’t working in tea then I would still be on the farm working alongside my dad, uncle, brother and sisters – I still go back and help out when I can during the busier times of the year.

What's your favourite fact about tea that surprises people?

One fact that I always tell people when they visit Harrogate for a tasting is that the tea bush is actually a tree and not a bush. The image of the tea bush that we are all familiar with is just the outcome of numerous stages of pruning and

it always amazes me when I see a fully grown tea tree (I’ve seen some that are over 40ft high)

How do you take your tea?

If I’m drinking a strong black tea, such as an Assam or a blend like Yorkshire Tea that has Assam tea in it, then I’d brew it for around 5 minutes (in freshly run and boiled water) with just a dash of milk. When I taste teas, they get brewed at double strength (to help highlight any positive or negative aspects of the tea) so I have got used to drinking very strong tea over the years

What is the most interesting and unique experience you ' ve had in your tea career?

One of the best things about working as a Tea Buyer for Taylors is that, when I travel to tea origins, I get to see firsthand the impact of projects the business supports across the communities our tea comes from The business is passionate about working with the people who grow our tea to make a difference and has

supported all sorts of great initiatives over the years in areas such as healthcare, education, safe water and nutrition

On a recent trip to Kenya I had the privilege of officially opening a water pump station which we had co-funded with a local tea estate that we buy from. The station pumps water up to a village high up on a hill that previously had no immediate access to water Before the pump was constructed, the women and children of the village had to walk miles down the hill each day and carry very heavy drums full of water back up to the village. The pure joy and gratitude that the villagers displayed was overwhelming and they described the huge impact it would have on their lives and explained how their children could now focus much more of their time and energy on education – it really was a special occasion and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Will and a colleague opening a water project in Kenya

tea,health& flavanoids.

TEA: Richest in Flavan-3-ols Says First Ever Dietary Recommendations for Bioactives

Tea is good for you - yes we know Of course we know, we ' re tea lovers and tea addicts and tea obsessed. So why has this sparticular paper caught our attention? Beause for the first time, dietary recommendations for bioactives are being made by scientists. For those of us who already love tea and know of its benefits, this may seem like a so what moment, but the reality remains that most of the public is not aware So let's break down why this matters

The study, titled 'Flavan-3-ols and Cardiometabolic Healht: First Ever Dietary Bioactive Guideline' was published in Advances in Nutrition and for the first time scientists are making dietary recommendations for the intake of bioactives such as flavan-3-ols This study points to an evolving body of research which suggests that “dietary bioactives play a key role in human health maintenance as well as disease prevention and mitigation”. Bioactives, are defined as “essential and non-essential compounds (e.g., vitamins or polyphenols) that occur in nature, are part of the food chain, and can be shown to have an effect on human health”.



academia edu/18840869/Bioactive compounds Definition and assessment of activity?


Recommendations from the study differ significantly from the past in that they are not based on deficiencies but are focused on “improvement in health outcomes”. They conclude that the intake of 400-600mg/day of flavan-3-ols is supported by the assessed literature. In addition, they add that “increasing the consumption of dietary flavan-3-ols may help improve blood pressure, cholesterol concentrations and blood sugar ” as well as pointing to research that “demonstrates higher consumption may reduce the risk of certain cardiometabolic disease and related mortality”. The recommended 400-600mg/day of flavan-3ols from the study can be found in a variety of foods, the highest source being tea. According to the USDA Database for Flavanoid Content, a cup of tea (Camellia-Sinensis) contains approximately 160mg of flavan-3-ols This means that 2-4 8oz cups of tea would meet the dietary recommendations made by the study in order to help “reduce the risk of certain cardiometabolic disease and related mortality”. 2

The reason this matters so greatly is that dietary recommendations are important for all Canadians. We know that living a healthy life should include being active and consuming both nutrients and bioactives Tea has been long regarded as a healthy beverage and we continue to see hard scientific evidence reinforcing this message The importance of flavan-3-ols, which are found in high amounts in tea cannot be overstated.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death globally. In Canada, according to the 2017-2018 data from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System, about 1 in 12 (or 2 6 million) Canadian adults age 20 and over live with diagnosed heart disease This problem has been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic as life expectancy has dropped by almost one year and mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases have risen more than any other non-COVID-19 ailment.

Heart disease is a global, and Canadian problem which can be addressed by updating the approach to dietary recommendations made to consumers. According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, “80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy behaviours” which includes good dietary habits This consists of all forms of nutrients consumers ingest from food and beverages as recommended by Health Canada in the Canada Food Guide, but its time these guidelines were modernised and started to reflect what scientists and nutritionists are saying As important as core nutrients and vitamins are, bioactives such as flavan-3-ols must become part of the messaging our regulators put out Messaging that may seem clear and obvious for those of us who know the value of tea, but what about your neighbour and your friend and your family and your co-worker and and and and.

The importance of flavan-3-ols, whih are found in high amounts in tea cannot be overstated

how it started: toronto tea festival

The Toronto Tea Festival returns next year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The 9th annual Toronto Tea Festival will be hosting an in-person event at the Toronto Reference Library in downtown Toronto on January 28th and 29th, 2023

In 2009, a private tea business named Tao Tea Leaf was co-founded by Tao Wu, who did many tea tastings and tea workshops in his shop to educate customers on premium teas. It was during these workshops that the seed of an idea for a large event in Toronto began to grow

Tao was invited to the Ottawa Tea Festival as a speaker in 2011, and there he gained a clearer idea of what a big event could be like, so he started to do more research

As tea is cross-cultural and the second most consumed beverage on earth after water, it seemed only fitting that Toronto, a multicultural city and the largest in Canada, had an event that catered to and satisfied the needs of people from all walks of life.

Subsequently, in August 2012, he began to organize the first Toronto Tea Festival to take place in February of 2013

Tao started contacting all his tea friends to share his idea and received some great feedback and support. His George Brown College tea instructor, Bill Kamala, was very interested in helping Tao with this event. Bill was Chair for the non-profit organization the Tea Guild of Canada, and four of its members joined Tao in October to support him in organizing the first Toronto Tea Festival Tao Tea Leaf and the Tea Guild of Canada became the first Presenting Sponsors.

The Toronto Tea Festival originally started as a one-day event with a little over 30 exhibitors Now it runs over two-days and has become the largest tea event in Canada with over 2800 attendees and over 50 exhibitors in 2020 In its first year all the vendors were local, but since then vendors and speakers also come from outside the city, the province and even from the US and beyond.

VIP nights have included such notable events as a premiere of ‘The Tea Explorer’, a CBC documentary film featuring Canadian mountaineer, explorer and author, Jeff Fuchs, complete with a Q & A.

Another event featured a sensory evening of rare, exquisite tea tasting hosted by British tea taster Kevin Gascoyne backed by the Camellia Sinensis team

The pandemic interrupted the growth and development of the festival. But with its return, there is cause for optimism. The organizers are keen to see it move forward.

The festival was organized by tea lovers for tea lovers From the outset, there were four key focal points: The Teas themselves, Learning, People, and Culture. The purpose was to build a community of tea businesses and tea drinkers.

The wide assortment of teas allowed people to taste and find their new favourites Learning was enhanced as vendors shared their stories with attendees and speakers presented slide shows and lectures on a variety of tea-related topics from folklore to in depth explorations of growing practices and business developments in many countries around the world.

Lighthearted tasting competitions have included the Tea Tasters Box, which allows interested parties to receive a variety of different teas in one or two categories months before the festival and then vote on their favourites. Winners frequently sell out at the festival and all participants increase their exposure and volume of sales.

Some years during the festival a tasting competition called The Tea IQ Challenge sought to determine the names and types of teas, and their countries of origin. This revealed some exceptional palates among those present who received honorary

prizes for their finely honed perception

Culture was celebrated as different tea ceremonies were put on including Chinese, Japanese and Korean practices showing off the colourful costumery and beautiful wares used in disciplined traditions seldom seen in public.

The festival was a smash as large numbers flocked to a welcoming space for people to meet and share their experiences in person and through social media.

The Toronto Tea Festival is special due to the degree and quality of human interaction. This is not just an event to buy and sell tea products The most important purpose of the event is for tea connoisseurs to share their passion, expand their knowledge and experience the longstanding culture of tea with others.

Every year the carefully selected speakers, tea ceremonies, and tea tasting events allow attendees to learn more and dive deeply into the world of tea Long term friendships are made on the exhibition floor, in the speakers’ room, or while watching a beautiful tea ceremony performance together. Many new tea businesses have been inspired and

created by attending the Toronto tea festival

While other events occupy vast spaces and present flashy and an almost industrial style of booths primarily to sell products and franchises, this is an event focused around a personal love of tea. In a relatively intimate setting, the selling of products and the education of tea lovers are blended in a celebration as partners in this event

Sharing the charms of tea culture is only authentically done with a deep respect for the ancient traditions. People really love to share their tea stories, experiences and knowledge. Attendees are able to taste different teas at each vendor’s booth and ask questions In addition, most of the event functions are made possible by a large group of well-organized volunteers

As the community returns to more normal activities, we can expect some of the excitement of years past to return with appropriate caution for the well being of participants and all the beauty and savory delights Images from years past recall the energy that was generated in the early years of the Toronto Tea Festival.

At this time the Tea Festival still has openings for more exhibitors and sponsors For those who wish to purchase tickets, One and Two- Day passes are now on sale. Costs generally have increased due to inflation. But in order to help returning and new exhibitors, and pass on those savings to attendees, the organizers have implemented a price freeze confirming the cost of participating is all still at pre-pandemic (2020) prices

Whether you are new to the world of tea or a long-time aficionado, the return of the Toronto Tea Festival offers an opportunity to rediscover the world of tea from the traditional to the most current developments. Sample a wide variety of teas and learn from experts in the industry at one of the complimentary presentations Taste teas uniquely prepared by exhibitors Note differing flavours of teas from different places of origin, different processing techniques and different preparation styles. A wide variety of teawares, teas, and related products will be on display and available for purchase

More information can be found on

Photos courtesy of Rita Fong.


A trained and knowledgeable tea professional who has successfully completed the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada’s certification examination, as a result, is well versed on all aspects of tea as it affects the consumer. He or she will have a thorough understanding of tea and its history, processing methods and preparation and will be able to interact easily with anyone on the subject of tea and make recommendations based on their needs in an approachable and easy manner.

Students can take the program in person through Tea & Herbal Association of Canada (Toronto & Vancouver), through Cambridge Tea Academy (UK). As well, courses are available online through the Academy of Tea, L’École Française du Thé et des Tisanes in French, ProTea Academy in Italian and at Escuela Mexicana de Té in Spanish


TEA 101: Introduction to Tea

This course will provide an introduction on the history of the origin of tea You will learn how to differentiate the types of tea as well as the tea grading standards used in the industry

TEA 103: Tea Sensory Development

This course covers how we taste – what do we rely on – what errors should we be aware of. The tea taster’s vocabulary will be covered as well as tastings of various products such as chocolate, water, etc. to identify and fully understand the science of taste.

TEA 105: From The Bush To The Cup

This course is designed to introduce the student to advanced cultivation and processing practices used in the production of tea

TEA 102: Regions Of The World

Students will examine in detail the principal tea-growing regions of the world Develop a fundamental understanding of tea – its evolution and its influence on culture and world events

TEA 104: Tea Types

This course will cover the types of teas produced in different regions/countries in the world. Tasting and style comparisons will be a major component of this section.


TEA 106: Preparation, Consumption & Health

This course provides the current information available as it relates to tea consumption Use the skills gained in previous classes to prepare the perfect cup of tea.

TEA 107: Menu Design, Food Pairing & Cooking With Tea

Explore the various nuances of using tea as an ingredient – cooking, baking, cocktails etc. In this course, you will understand the principals behind using tea beyond its traditional uses as well as how to pair tea with food and create the perfect tea menu

TEA 108: The Business of Tea

Learn about the various layers that make up the tea industry – commodity trader and auctions, packers and retailers Who are they, what do they do and what are the challenges faced in each sector



Mushroom Chai Oatmilk Matcha Sound interesting? How about honeysuckle tisane, GABA oolong, or Golden Milk Latte? Perhaps some Maca Mate Beet Latte Mix?

What does this unlikely assortment of brews have in common?

They are all functional teas.

What exactly is functional tea?

“Functional” is a descriptor for any food or drink “ that, besides providing nutrients and energy, beneficially modulates one or more targeted functions in the body, by enhancing a certain physiological response and/or by reducing the risk of disease.” (Nicoletti, 2012) Food Structures, Digestion and Health, 2014

By this definition, all tea is functional In fact, you might say that tea is the original functional

consumable (In China, it is referred to as the first medicine.) Yet, tea itself is rarely marketed as such.

The number of teas with additives or “ superfoods” in their blends is growing daily, or so it would seem Yet few of these functional teas, latte blends or “performance” beverages list tea as the prime ingredient While there has been a growing appreciation for the health benefits of tea especially green tea there has also been a hard push away from caffeine.

As more people are hearing from podcasters and social media influencers the joys of abstaining from caffeine, alcohol and sugar in the search for optimal health, the demand for alternatives increases Some are disillusioned coffee drinkers who have come to tea to escape the jitters. Others reject caffeine altogether and want to replace their morning

drink with something else entirely Something that is natural, healthy, and rooted in tradition

Many dedicated tea drinkers, on the other hand, still need that first cup of coffee in the morning. Could they, too, be tempted to abandon it for healthier fare?

If they could, they’ve got plenty of choice Many of health-boosting latte powders do not contain tea or coffee at all, though a few do Landish and Blume are two Canadian companies who incorporate tea as just one beneficial ingredient among many along with mushrooms, beets, and cacao. Some chai blends have no actual tea in them at all; an arresting thought for tea purists.

“Social media influencers always need fresh content, so they are always looking for the next best thing,” Dave says Those efforts could be used to revisit the many benefits of Camellia sinensis, he suggests, about which there is much research to explore and much more for the public to learn. But he still sees the value in this shift.

“Tea and tisanes have grown together as a category They are both botanicals sourced from different regions We are tea specialists, but we ’ ve been able to learn more about other plants and herbs to provide our customers with what they want, while staying true to who we are. ”

Tea retailers who have championed the Third Wave of tea may fear that this interest in health and longevity may distract from their own message about attention to season, varietal, origin, and the skill of artisanal tea makers. But whether one is focused on creating a healthy daily habit, or interested in expanding and elevating their palette, the two missions can harmonize. Dave uses matcha as an example.

The ever-growing list of products is evidence of the public interest in easy-to-make, nutrient-dense health-food beverages It also reveals how “latte”, “chai” and even “tea” are some very fuzzy concepts in the minds of the general public, the way matcha has been for quite a while now. But this blurring of categories is a natural progression, according to David O’Conner of Genuine Tea (aka Genuine Dave)

“Basically, the wellness and tea industries have merged,” he says So have the perceptions of tea as anything from an herbal infusion to a ground protein or mushroom powder. Tea is now associated with innovation as much as it is tradition, for better and for worse.

“There is a huge level of quality difference for matcha When it was first introduced in the West most of it was mass produced, not even shade-grown in some cases. And not just leaf but stems too. But as consumers became more aware of the health benefits, they sought better quality matcha. And they realized the difference: it’s not chalky or dull or overly bitter As the market matures, people want a finer product Better nutritional value follows naturally ”

Sheena Brady of Tease also sees the value of the intersection between fine-quality tea and health. However, she thinks there needs to be much more awareness of teas and tisanes

“We don’t categorize according to green, black, oolong,” she says. “That’s why we are this interesting middle category as a tea company, between tea and health. It’s more about the ritual that you are trying to create in your everyday life and which blend can support that.”

“We don’t categorize according to green, black, oolong,” she says “That’s why we are this interesting middle category as a tea company, between tea and health. It’s more about the ritual that you are trying to create in your everyday life and which blend can support that.”

As someone who approaches tea from a wellness perspective first, Brady was quick to embrace rooibos, yerba mate, nettle, and other botanicals that might be new to consumers

“We often have an opportunity to be the first to educate customers on these types of ingredients for different functional benefits.”

Recognizing that some functional ingredients might have a strong bitter taste, Brady is mindful when building the flavour profiles of her blends, like one might build a cocktail

“Yerba mate can taste grassy and a little bitter but when you layer in the elements of mint and citrus it really helps to balance it beautifully. I can’t think of a single person who tried our Hocus Focus blend who doesn’t like it ”

Makers of functional teas (and other beverage blends) are most often people who find improved health and vitality through consumption of these ingredients and make it their mission to share their passion through their products. (As do tea retailers!) But as more consumers turn to functional teas to support good health, the question arises: is this herbal medicine or just a more nutritious take on your morning cup?

To help me navigate this tricky territory, I call upon the experience and wisdom of Don Mei, proprietor of Mei Leaf in London England. Don

Mei is as close to an international super-star tea guru as anything the global tea community has His charming and informative videos have earned him over 100K followers on YouTube.

But he wears another hat: he also is the son of London’s first doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Don has inherited the TCM practice and herbal dispensary, where he employs many herbalists He is a man who is used to walking the fine line between health and gastronomy Accordingly, he’s got some advice for consumers and for those making the rules.

“You get this split in the tea community. Some retailers are vehemently against anyone making any health claims; they won’t talk about it on principle I don’t think that’s right I think that this reactionary attitude is unfair, because there’s plenty of evidence to say that tea is good for you ”

Of course, tea is classified as a food, not a medicine, in Canada, the UK and the USA. So, if fuzzy claims are made as to its benefits, that’s again because most health claims are not allowed In England, applications can be made to the Food Standards Agency, but the process is long, expensive, and almost always unsuccessful (As in Canada and the USA ) The system is set up for a more corporate approach to releasing specially designed health foods, he points out. Smaller producers assume the risk of censure if they step too far outside the regulatory boundaries.

“GABA is a great one If I mention it in a video, I’ll always get comments from people who insist that it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier. But there are some studies that suggest it might.”

GABA, short for gamma-aminobutyric acid, otherwise known as “Nature’s Valium,” is commonly added to oolongs in Taiwan and Japan. Whether it uses the bloodstream or the gastrointestinal system to transport GABA to the brain remains to be proven, but studies have demonstrated that dietary GABA can reduce stress levels in test patients

Most traditional tea retailers will sell tisanes with widely accepted uses: peppermint or ginger for digestion, chamomile for sleep. And herbal infusions are a time-honoured delivery system for herbal remedies.

But the legal and moral limit to the kinds of claims that can be made for non-medicinal products exist with good reason Kevin Gascoyne of Camellia Sinensis in Montreal reminds tea sellers that their best intentions can land them in hot water.

“Although we know that Camellia sinensis is a 5000-year-old health tonic, it is actually illegal for a tea vendor to discuss or package tea as a health product or to give any information that may be construed as medical advice Suggesting products for clients’ health is loaded with risks and liabilities. It requires the training of a certified herbalist or nutritionist, with the backing of their professional associations, to prescribe plants to the public.”

While tea sellers might mean well, they might also inadvertently cause trouble for their clientele, Gascoyne cautions

“A good example could be recommending a tea with high level of antioxidant content to a cancer patient in all good will. While there is much medical evidence to show that this may be a good way to help the body fight the

sickness in its initial stages, consuming large amounts of antioxidants during chemotherapy can counteract the medical treatment.”

He warns: “Reckless use of small amounts of knowledge can be dangerous. We must proceed with great caution in this arena, both for the benefit of our clients and our own professional integrity as tea folk ”

So where does that leave the consumer who wants to make positive, health-affirming choices, without wasting their money or, worse, impairing their own well-being?

Don Mei is not terribly worried about ill health as a result of drinking herbal tea blends, although he admits consumers can have a negative reaction to any herb But he argues that it’s more often the dose that makes the poison and tea is not likely to be an issue. He thinks the larger concern is tea that is “fauxpremium.” But that doesn’t worry him much, either.

“Some consumers may start there, with lesser quality blends It’s a journey People will find their way to tea from different avenues But that’s what makes tea so incredible. People come at it from a botanical point of view, a functional point of view, or performance, health, taste, or quasi-spiritual. The great thing about tea is that it houses all these interests. However they get here, it’s okay As long as they get here Just drink good tea and focus on taste The health benefits will come ”

So, if it feels good, drink it. Mei concludes: “It’s not going to solve all the problems in the world, but to drink tea more will only do you good.”

W I L D R I C E & T E A

Tea Horse, established in 2017 by Denise Atkinson, Anishinaabe ikwe (English: Ojibwe woman) and her partner Marc H. Bohémier, is an Indigenous woman-owned artisanal wild rice (Ojibwe: manoomin) tea company located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg Peoples in Northwestern Ontario. With its proprietary roasting process, Tea Horse has created and produces a first-of-its-kind selection of roasted manoomin tea blends

wild rice

Ojibwe: manoomin

Wild rice and tea? In many Indigenous cultures, leaves, roots, flowers and grains are infused to make “tea”. As an Indigenousled company their use of manoomin as a key ingredient in their tea blends honours and carries on the traditions of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas The most common misnomer is that "wild rice" is “rice”, when in fact it is a marsh grass grain of the family Gramineae, the genus Zizania, and grows not in rice paddies, but naturally in the shallow fresh waters in parts of Canada and some northern US states Manoomin has been a staple food in Eastern Woodland Indigenous cultures for more than five thousand years and is one of the only grains indigenous to North America. The naturally organic, non-cultivated manoomin used by Tea Horse has been personally sourced by Denise and Marc from very remote and pristine lakes of Northwestern Ontario and Northern Manitoba

Denise and Marc, both lifelong tea enthusiasts, relish in the opportunity to enjoy unique teas and infusions from around the world and were influenced by Japanese Genmaicha, Korean Boricha, and Indian Masala Chai in the creation of their roasted manoomin blends The pair feel that it is very

mportant to honour the history and heritage of the cultures that inspired them in the creation of their innovative tea blends

With this in mind, the name of each tea blend unites the Ojibwe word for wild rice “manoomin” with the Asian word for tea “cha”, and the South East Asian word for tea “chai” to celebrate the fusion of languages, cultures, ingredients, and flavours

The blends currently in the Tea Horse Stable include:

ManoominCha - the sweet, grassy notes of green tea with the aroma and nutty characteristics of roasted manoomin; ManoominCha Dark - roasted green tea (Hojicha) combined with roasted manoomin creates a rich, smoky, hint of mocha flavour; ManoominChai - blends roasted manoomin with black tea and masala spices; and Manoominaaboo (Ojibwe: wild rice water) a 100% naturally caffeine-free tisane with a smooth toasted nut flavour.

As leaders in socially responsible relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canadian business, Tea Horse is committed to sharing both historical and contemporary Anishinaabe (English: Ojibwe) cultural, traditional, and culinary knowledge through its manoomin-based offerings and branding imagery.

The tagline at Tea Horse is “Think Outside the Teapot” and they encourage everyone to grab a travel mug, fill it with ManoominCha, and enjoy on their next nature walk, hike, or canoe trip. Miigwech! (Ojibwe: “Thank you!”)


Holiday office parties? Dinner with friends? Family reunions? Alcohol tends to pop up as a means of celebrating and connecting Though that’s totally fine, there are healthier alternatives out there if you ’ re looking to switch it up

Today’s landscape

During the COVID-19 pandemic, North America experienced two movements on two very different ends of the spectrum: on one side, there was a dramatic increase in alcohol consumption during the first year of the pandemic; on the other, consumers turned to healthier options, like non-alcoholic alternatives With more of a demand for low-to-no alcoholic beverages, we saw a surge in a sober-curious lifestyle as an innovation driver across many beverage categories. In a 2021 survey from

Mintel, over 30% of Gen Z and Millennial participants expressed interest in nonalcoholic beverages inspired by cocktails, compared to 26% of Gen X and only 17% of Baby Boomers. Even alcohol brands began introducing low ABV (alcohol by volume) alternatives to their assortment! Bacardi’s 2022 Trend Report showed that more than 50% of global alcohol consumers are drinking more non-alcoholic or lower ABV cocktails than a year ago

“This shift towards more healthy and mindful choices put tea in a well-deserved spotlight.” Sarah Segal, Chief Executive Office and Chief Brand Officer, DAVIDsTEA

Introducing natural ready-crafted tea mocktails

Launching later this holiday season, DAVIDsTEA’s new tea mocktail collection is

meticulously crafted to taste great on its own or as a mocktail base The infusions feature aromatic herbs and botanicals to recreate world-famous cocktails, so you can effortlessly create your own healthy tea cocktails at home.

For anyone looking to minimize (or completely cut) their alcohol consumption, tea mocktails are the answer! Not only is tea a catalyst for conversation, but you can also enjoy all the flavour and benefits with none of the hangover or hangxiety creeping in the next morning.

Every day, consumers make decisions on what to eat and drink, and there’s no right or wrong answer only what’s right for them Tea gives options, and consumers have the power to choose!

gin & tonic

GREEN TEA | Low Caffeine

A G&T that’s good for you.

Featuring: Green tea, juniper berries, lemongrass and orange peel.

Kick back and enjoy this non-alcoholic aperitif that tastes just like the traditional Gin & Tonic maybe even better

Did you know?

Years in the making

Our in-house team of tea experts emulated the tonic (quinine) flavour by blending lemon, licorice root and green tea


Alcohol-free Gin & Tonics are trending!

According to Drizly, their e-commerce sales of spirit-free gin alternatives have gone up 290% in 2021.


Green tea contains polyphenols like flavanols and anthocyanidins, which are loved for their antioxidant effects.


Green tea is high in L-theanine and caffeine, which together promote feelings of focus, calm and mindfulness


Contrary to popular belief, tea is not a diuretic meaning you can actually stay hydrated while you drink!

“This shift towards more healthy and mindful choices put tea in a well-deserved spotlight.”
Sarah Segal, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Brand Officer, DAVIDsTEA

Three letters which make up such controversy. Believe it or not, real arguments are had about what makes a pie a pie. Does it have to have a top and a bottom, must it be in a pie dish, are little pies actually tarts and not really pies, hand held pies and crustless pies and don't even get me started on the greatest travesty of all...Sheppard's PIE?! Where is the pie??

It seems the controversy stradles the continents as well. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2008) defines pie simply as “ a baked dish of savory or sweet ingredients encased in or topped with pastry ” The Oxford American Dictionary of Current English (1999) defines pie as “ a baked dish of fruit, meat, custard, etc., usu. with a top and base of pastry or anything resembling a pie in form". Seems rather broad to me.

What we can all agree on though is, we love pie Some sort of filling, sometimes sweet and sometimes savoury, wrapped in pastry I mean, what's not to love?

I've chosen classic recipes for you to try at home, with the added element of tea of course. And don't be intimidated about pie crusts - you can buy excellent ready made ones if that's what is holding you back I promise I won't tell!

The Pastry

As if the word pie wasn't controversial enough, here comes my pie dough recipe recommendation. There are lots of recipes out there, but I grew up with an aunt who makes the best pies and tarts. For years I thought she had a secret recipe, only to discover the secret was on the side of the box of the star ingredientTenderflake shortening Yes, it was my very own Phoebe's grandmother's chocolate chip cookies moment (some of you will get that reference).

So here it is, straight off the side of the Tenderflake box. Is it healthy - no. Is it delicious - yes!

What you'll need:

5 1⁄2cups all-purpose flour

2teaspoons salt

1lb tenderflake lard

1egg, stirred slightly

1tablespoon vinegar

7⁄8cup cold water

What you'll do:

Stir the flour and salt together. Cut in the lard with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the shortening is in pea size pieces.

In a measuring cup, combine the egg and vinegar Add enough cold water to make one cup

Stir the liquid into the flour mixture, adding just enough to make the dough cling together. Stir the water in with a wooden spoon until mixed thoroughly, then gather the dough into a ball, and separate into 6 portions.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour, you can chill overnite, covered, providing you leave it at room temp for 15 mins before rolling

Lightly flour surface and roll into circles, then pat the dough into pie pans, following pie recipes. Be careful not to stretch the dough.



What you'll need:

4 tsp loose or 4 teabags Chai tea

7 cups thinly sliced, peeled and cored apples

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg for egg wash

What you'll do:

Make ahead: Steep tea in 6 cups of water. Pour over apples and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.

Preheat oven to 425F Drain apples from tea mixture You can save and use the tea in a cider recipe if you like Combine apples with remaining ingrdients in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon. Roll out pastry dough into pie plate. Spoon apple mixture in. Top with second pie crust over apple mixture and crimp the edges. Cut slits in the top to allow heat to escape when baking Brush egg wash (whisked egg) ontop of pastry for golden colour

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples are soft. Cover the edges of the pie with tin foiil after 15-20 minutes to prevent excessive browning.


What you'll need:

4 tsp loose or 4 teabags Cream Earl Grey tea

2 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

3 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses (unsulphured)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What you'll do:

Make ahead: Steep tea in 6 cups of water Soak pecans in tea overnight

Preheat oven to 350F Drain pecans from tea mixture. You can save and use the tea in a latte recipe if you like.

In a bowl combine eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, melted butter, vanilla, and salt, mix until smooth.

Roll out pastry dough into a pie dish Spread pecans in bottom of pie shell Pour egg mixture on top Bake for 30 minutes and then tent the pie so as not to burn it Bake for another 30-40 minutes or until filling has set

Cool before serving.


What you'll need:

Lemon filling:

2 tsp loose or 2 teabags Lemon Sencha tea

1 1/2 cups water

5 large egg yolks

6 tbsp cornstarch

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the meringue:

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar or 1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

What you'll do:

Make ahead:

Bring 1 1/2 cups fresh water to 80C Steep tea for 5 minutes. Strain/remove tea and allow liquid to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out pastry dough into a pie dish. Line pie shell with crumpled baking paper and fill with baking weights or dry beans Bake for 20 minutes Remove baking paper and weights, prick bottom of pie shell with a fork in several places and bake in oven for another 15 minutes

Remove from oven.

Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk the (tea) water, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. The mixture will be thin and cloudy It will start thickening and bubbling after 5-7 minutes Reduce heat to low Very slowly stream a few large spoonfuls of warm lemon mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Then, also in a very slow stream, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Turn heat back up to medium.

Cook until the mixture is thick and big bubbles start to form at the surface. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter. Spread filling into the warm partially baked crust. Set aside as you prepare the meringue. With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on medium speed for 1 minute, then increase to high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 more minutes Add the sugar and salt, then continue beating on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form. Spread meringue on top of filling. Bake pie on the lowest oven rack for 20-25 minutes. (If the meringue is browning too quickly, tent a piece of foil over itwithout the foil touching the meringue )

When pie is done, remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before placing in the refrigerator to chill Chill for 4 hours before slicing and serving.


What you'll need:

3 tsp loose or 3 teabags Berry Herbal Tea

7 cups fresh or frozen berries

1 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

4 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons butter

1 egg for egg wash

What you'll do:

Make ahead:

Bring 1 fresh water to a boil and add tea Pour into a bowl with berries and allow to soak for several hours, preferably overnight

Strain berries from tea and combine in pot with lemon juice and sugar. Cook berries until warm. Spoon ½ cup of the juice from the pan into a bowl. Stir cornstarch into the juice until smooth.

Bring pot of berries back to a simmer and slowly pour in the cornstarch Gently stir mixture until thickened, about 2-5 minutes Don't mash the berries

Remove from heat and stir in the butter Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 400F. Roll out pastry dough into pie dish. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Roll out top pastry piece and place on top with holes pricked for steam to escape. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom pie crusts together and crimp the edge Brush a thin layer of beaten egg white over the top of the pie and sprinkle lightly with sugar

Bake for 40-45 minutes Check it after about 25 minutes and place a piece of tinfoil over it if the top crust is getting too brown. Cool and serve.



What you'll need:

4 tsp loose or 4 teabags strong black tea

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large brown onion, roughly chopped

1 kg gravy beef or stewing steak, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes

¼ cup plain flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 cups beef stock

400 g mushrooms, chopped roughly (mixing different types of mushrooms makes this dish m ore interesting

1 egg for egg wash

What you'll do:

Bring tea to 2 cups of beef stock. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes Strain tea

In a large heavy bottomed pot sautee onions in olive oil until softened In a bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper Add beef and toss well until all pieces are

coated On high heat, add beef to onions and cook until flour is well sealed on meat. Add tea beef stock and remainig stock just until beef is covered. Simmer on lowmedium heat. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, stir occasionally so beef doesn't stick to bottom of pot If the sauce is getting too thick, add more stock Remove the lid and allow to simmer an additional 20 minutes to reduce the gravy Once liquid has reduced by half, and meat is tender, remove from heat, adjust seasoning as desired and add mushrooms. Allow mixture to cool.

Heat oven to 400F. Roll out pastry dough into pie shell. Add cooled meat and mushroom mixture Top with another rolled out pastry sheet Crimp the edges and cut vent holes into the top of the pie Brush with egg wash to get golden crust Bake for 4045 minutes and serve hot.


What you'll need:

4 tsp loose or 4 teabags Maple flavoured tea

1/2 stick unsalted butter

3 lb Vidalia onions (or other sweet onions) halved and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper Kosher salt

1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 cup fresh parmesan

1 egg for egg wash

What you'll do:

Bring tea to 1 cup fresh water to a boil. Steep tea for 15 minutes Remove tea

In a large pan or heavy bottomed pot, melt butter and add onions and garlic, sautee and add tea Cook on low-medium heat unti liquid is completely dissolved and onions are soft and caramelised. Stir in mustard. This takes time and patience. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.

Heat oven to 400F. Roll out pastry dough into large round and place on lined baking sheet Pile onion mixture into middle of rolled out dough, spread leaving 2" perimeter and fold in the edges over the onion mixture (see picture above) Brush edges with egg wash

Bake in oven 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


What you'll need:

4 tsp Pu-Ehr tea

1 onion finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 white potatoes, peeled

2 medium-size carrots, peeled

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

14 oz canned diced tomatoes

14 oz canned chickpeas, liquid reserved

¼ cup garden peas

4 cups vegetable broth salt and pepper, to taste

2 eggs for egg wash

What you'll do:

Bring tea to 1 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Steep tea for 15 minutes. Remove tea.

Dice potatoes and carrots into small pieces. In a heavy bottomed pot, sautee onions in olive oil until soft Add potatoes, carrots and spices Sautee for a few minutes Add tomatoes and tea steeped broth reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add more broth if liquid is getting too low. Once potatoes and carrots are tender, add chickpeas and allow to cook for another 20 minutes. You want the sauce to have reduced leaving no liquid. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 350F Roll out pastry and cut 6" squares Brush edges of square with egg wash Place 1/3 cup of filling on one side of the square

Fold over into a triangle and press edges to seal using the back of a fork. Cut one slit into top of pie. Repeat with remaining of mixture to make multiple hand pies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.

Place pies on lined baking tray, brush with egg wash, bake in oven for 30 minutes until golden brown


What you'll do:

What you'll need:

3 tsp loose or 3 teabags strong black tea

700 g (1½lb) boneless chicken thighs

1 cup Greek yogurt

2 tbsp Garam Masala

2 tbsp Butter

1 onion finely chopped

3 garlic cloves crushed

1 tbsp Garam Masala

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cardamom

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp ground ginger

400 g (14oz) chopped tomatoes

1 cup tomato puree

½ cup chicken stock

1 cup cream

salt and black pepper

1 egg for egg wash

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, place in bowl with yogurt and 2tbsp Garam masala Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes Bring 1/2 cup chicken stock to a boil, steep tea in broth for 15 minutes. Remove tea.

In a large heavy bottomed pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and remaining spices. Cook until aromas are released from spices. Add marinated chicken and sear Pour in tomatoes and tea steeped chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350°F Reduce the heat on chicken mixture and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Add cream and cook anotehr 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Roll out pastry dough and cut rounds 2cm larger than dishes you ' re using to bake.

Divide butter chicken mixture into individual dishes Place dough on top, crimp the edges, cut a few slits into the top and brush with egg wash Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown


The gift giving season can leave a lot of people stumped It could be because they build up the idea of finding the perfect gift When this happens, it is important to take a step back, think about the people on your list, who they are, what they do, things they like, and get creative.

Often times, what makes a good gift is something that a person already likes, but an elevated version

For instance, say you have a friend who is an avid tea drinker and has a basic white electric kettle You could gift them with the elevated version - a sleek gooseneck kettle

If you are a crafter and DIYer, this idea can also be implemented in the gifts you make.

Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.


These cookies in a jar are a great gift for someone who loves to bake, but is short on time. All the recipient will need to do when they are ready to make their cookies is add the liquid ingredients and bake!


1/2 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp matcha (culinary grade)

3/4 cup white chocolate chips


Blend flour, baking soda, salt & matcha. Empty into base of a mason jar

Layer brown sugar & chocolate chips in separate layers on top

Screw lid on Write instructions on a label and tie to jar.

Write on label:

Preheat oven to 350F

Empty jar contents into bowl and add 1/2 cup melted butter, egg & vanilla extract

Stir until blended Roll into 12 balls and place on lined cookie sheet

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before removing from pan.


You'll need:

2 tea bags or teaspoons of tea

6 tbsp vodka or rubbing alcohol

1 5 cups water

3 4oz spray glass bottled

When choosing your tea think about what tea blends would smell refreshing in a room. I suggest staying away from black tea and hibiscus as both of these could stain fabrics Think about teas that smell good, but also have a light liquor colour


Steep tea for 10 minutes

Remove tea bags or leaves from water

Let tea cool completely

Using funnel add tea and vodka or rubbing alcohol to bottle

Screw lid on and gently shake Apply label to vodka


This premade mix is great to have on hand for an afternoon treat

Gift with a handheld milk frother so that they can make the creamiest, frothiest chai latte.


1 1/2 cups instant black tea

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup dry milk powder

1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger


Blend all ingredients in a bowl and then spoon into 4 x 8oz. jars. Apply label

Write on label:

Add 2 tbsp to cup

Add boiling water and mix to blend Add milk or warm some milk and foam to top off the latte

Make sure to mention on the label that the mix contains dairy.


A hot toddy kit is a great gift for this time of year It will also take very little effort to assemble everything and put it in a gift box.

You'll need: Box of a Christmas blend tea

Small bottle of whiskey Jar of honey Cinnamon Sticks

BONUS - Dried lemon slices


Arrange all of the above in a box Write the instructions on a gift tag

BONUS - To dry lemon slices: thinly cut lemon into 1/8" slices Arrange in single layer on pan lined in parchment paper Bake on lowest oven setting for 3-5 hours (until dehydrated

Write on label:

Brew 1 cup of tea Add shot of whiskey Stir in spoonful of honey Pop cinnamon stick in Enjoy!

HERBS & INFUSIONS R E G I S T E R A T T E A . C A Whether pursuing a career in the retail or hospitality industry or enhancing your enjoyment of tea, this program looks at the historical origin of herbs and spices as they are used in tea. HI-101: INTRODUCTION TO HERBS & INFUSIONS (4 WEEK COURSE) HI-102: HERBAL PROCESSING & COMMON HERBS IN TEA (5 WEEK COURSE) O N L I N E C O U R S E S

A staple in many households is a box of Orange Pekoe teabags In these teabags is a blend of black teas from various countries, carefully crafted by tea blenders to produce the perfect strength of black tea and can be enjoyed clear, with milk and/or sugar What you may not know is that one of the essential components is black tea from Kenya.

Kenya is the world's third largest producer of tea and the largest exporter. While the country is known mostly for producing black tea, they also produce some beautiful specialty teas

K e n y a



In Kenya, the first tea seedlings (Camellia sinensis) were introduced by the Europeans in 1903 in Limuru (Kiambu County) on experimental basis. Some of these tea bushes have grown into large trees, forming a historical feature on what is now the Mabroukie Tea Estate. Commercial cultivation of tea in Kenya began in 1924.

In 1933, the Kenyan Tea Growers Association (KTGA) was established by large-scale producers to organize and protect the industry. Shortly after Kenya became a republic in 1964, the Kenyan Tea Development Authority (KTDA) was established to represent the interests of small-scale producers. The KTDA became a very important part of Kenya’s economic development

H i s
r y
t o

Tea is grown in the highlands located within the West and East of Rift and on higher altitude of between 1,500 metres and 2,700 metres above Sea Level The highlands are spread across 19 tea-growing counties that include Nakuru, Narok, Kericho, Bomet, Nyamira, Kisii, Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans-Nzoia, Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, and Meru.

The growing conditions for tea include tropical volcanic red soils and favorable weather patterns such as well-distributed rainfall of between 1200 mm to 1400 mm per annum Unlike other countries, Kenya produces tea year round with minimal seasonal variations in quantity owing to its location along the equator.

The tea industry makes an important contribution to the Kenyan economy. Tea is among leading foreign exchange earner contributing about 23% of total foreign exchange earnings and 2% of the Agricultural GDP Annually, the country produces over 450 million Kgs of tea. The industry supports about 5.0 million people directly and indirectly while an estimated 650,000 tea growers depend on tea making the industry one of the leading sources of livelihood in the country

e o g r a p h y


Bomet Bungoma

G r o w i n g

Elgeyo Marakwet Embu Kakamega Kericho Kiambu Kirinyaga Kisii Meru Murang’a Nakuru Nandi Narok Nyamira Nyeri Tharaka-Nithi Trans-Nzoia Vihiga

The following are some important teas to Kenya:


C o u n t i e s T e a s o f N o t e

The term CTC stands for: crush, tear, curl. It is a method used for processing black tea. During the process the tea leaves go through a series of rollers with hundreds of sharp teeth that crush, tear, and curl the tea The tea that undergoes this processing look like small hard e of tea is used in tea bags as it can and strong brew due to its increased pe of tea derived from the leaves, buds a crossbreed variety of the Camellia e plant from which black tea, green tea, tea and oolong tea are derived Unlike ple tea plant is purple-red in colour and cyanins (antioxidants which give rise to lour). Anthocyanins are the same nd in other purple foods such as purple grapes.

Indi Khanna's life has been tea. He has lived and breathed tea for 45 years. To say he is a fascinating treasure trove of stories, would be a gross understatement. Indi has been writing his thoughts and memories for the past few months, and we thought we would share one with you. If you don't know Indi Khanna, make sure you visit Tea'N'Teas, explore not only his stories but also the beautiful teas of the Tea Studio (teanteas com and teastudio info)

Having taken the plunge in 1993 to branch out on my own, a year later my tea venture which centered on sourcing teas from various origins being shipped to diverse destinations was already well grounded Three years down the road, with the volume of business being done in Kazakhstan, where I was exclusively tied up with one particular company, growing from month to month, I made the cardinal error of plonking practically all my eggs into that one basket. That eventually a further couple of years later it was that very same customer who pulled the plug out on me and was solely responsible for the collapse of my thriving business in Dubai being the one downside in my life and being a story which needs to be ‘told’, I’m keeping that downer in abeyance for another day. For now I’d rather rattle on about the upside, when my business in Kazakhstan was on the ascendency

By ’97 the Kazakh business being well established and with volumes increasing by the month, the frequency of my visits to that country to service that business had to keep pace with that growing volume The upshot was that, keeping all other travel plans in abeyance, I’d be wending my way to Almaty almost every month.

Almaty which is now a flourishing metropolis with hotels galore, back in the day was a different kettle of fish altogether. While there were plenty of dodgy establishments available, the only “real” hotel one could relate to was the Hyatt which had opened its doors just about at the same time as I started making my trips to that country While it WAS the Hyatt, at that point of time with the internet just about having reached Almaty, since the hotel did not have that particular service available, if one was to want to check ones emails (which in itself was somewhat of a new ‘fad’) one had to head to downtown Almaty where the first internet café had started functioning The internet service in that café being via a snail paced dial-up connection, one would end up sitting in front of the computer for hours altogether waiting for the line to come to the end of its irritating pinging. It was only after the computer reverted to being a silent piece of furniture that one would be able to start working on it, which in affect translated into viewing one mail at a time, watching the text unfold painfully slowly on the tiny little black and white bulbous screen

Kazakhstan being located in the world’s largest dry steppe region, while the summers there tend to be hot and dry, winters are cold. Seriously COLD!

On one of my frequent trips to Almaty, this one sometime during early February which tends to be the coldest month in the region, having finished my work in the tea factory for the day and finding myself in the hotel with nothing to do, I decided to head downtown to while away my time in front of the computer. By the time I was done with whatever I had to do, it was already late evening Stepping out of the warmth of the café into the minus 250C street I distinctly remember being literally lifted off my feet and staggering backward into the doorway having been whacked in my face by the wind howling like a banshee, rushing up that alleyway in full gale force. Regardless of being bundled up in layers of warm clothing, I could literally feel the cold seeping into my bones

Aware that there was a taxi stand just a little way down that alley, with the wind

determined to propel me all the way back into the doorway I had stepped out of, I had to battle my way forward, literally shoving myself against that gale taking one slow step at a time all the while wishing that I’d never stepped out of the comfort of the hotel.

Within 50 paces of having stepped out of the café I had completely lost any sense of feeling on my face which was the only part of me exposed to the hydrothermal conditions For all I knew my ears and nose could just as well have dropped off somewhere along the trudge without my even being aware of it. What I could make out though was that my moustache, being the ‘catchment area ’ for the run-off from my nose likely flowing out in a continuous watery stream, was frozen solid with small icicles hanging down from the edges and dropping over my lips

Battling my way forward against the wind I spotted an ‘ open ’ doorway which had chinks of light peeping out from behind the thick woolen ‘horse blanket’ curtain hanging from the top of the door frame, protecting the inside from the elements From within, besides the chinks of light, I could also hear wisps of chatter No two ways about it, this obviously HAD to be a bar Shoving the blanket to one side with my shivering hand which I had very reluctantly taken out of the deep pocket on my overcoat, I stumbled though the throng of folk standing around with glasses in their hands, making a beeline to the bar counter where I managed to utter just one word – “VODKA!”

The contents of the rather large shot glass which the barman banged down on the bar top, which I managed to grasp with my trembling hand, went down my throat in one gulp.

The first was followed, in quick succession, by another two equally large ones. Within a couple of minutes that comfortable warm feeling rising upwards from the pit of my stomach, where the vodka was likely happily sloshing around, reached my face While this was going on in my innards, on the outside with my moustache having thawed I had my facial fuzz hanging down limply over my lips. Ignoring the fact that I was likely looking like a disheveled tramp I ran my, by now comfortably warm, hands over my face to make sure that my nose and my ears were still attached to the rest of me!

This is from personal experience. VODKA being lugged back in copious volumes in those regions is not alcoholism!

It is the very breath of life!