Camellia Sinensis: Montreal

 Welcome to Camellia Sinensis: Salon de Thé in downtown Montreal. The day after the Ottawa Tea Festival I finally had my chance to visit this lovely store. Back in 2010, I asked a friend to get me a few teas as they were visiting the area. They were also as blown away as I was at the end of November last year.

     The day prior at the Ottawa tea festival , I had the pleasure to meet Kevin Gascoyne. We chatted about the Toronto Tea Festival and about the store locations within Montreal. It was a great honour to talk to him face to face and visit his Salon the next day.

The location I spent the most time at was on Rue Émery, one side is the tea shop and the other is a cafe. On the shop side I was greeted by the warm colours and delicious displays of tea ware. I left with a tray for ryakubon and tea, Matcha Sendo. After finalizing my purchase, I made my way over to the Salon side.

The space was full but still maintained its calm meditative feel. Patrons were chatting with friends, studying, reading or simply enjoying the atmosphere of the space. Once I was seated I was served a sample of tea and handed the menu to look over. Each table was given a small bell to ring once you were ready to order.

  For this visit I decided to enjoy Sensha Nagashima and a selection of Japanese sweets. While waiting for my order I took in the space, warmth of the colours around me washed over. It felt like a home away from home. The space was lightly decorated my various artifacts from tea growing regions around the world. It was very hard to not touch them.

    My tea arrived and I could not wait to start brewing this delicious selection of sencha. The grassiness was balanced with the sweetness that quickly came. Perfect development in the mouth. Paired with the quickly devoured Japanese sweets it made for a perfect evening. 

    I quite enjoyed that the service was focused on quality rather than speed of other establishments, it matched the atmosphere very well. Everything was simplified for quests right down to the amount of teas on the menu, which I must say should be between 15-20. This made it very easy for the Salon to be stocked with these teas at all times. 

       If you are looking for a quiet moment in the busy downtown of Montreal, I highly suggest making your way over to this establishment for some well deserved R & R, your taste buds will thank you.

Matcha: Taste is Everything 3

If you just joined us today, we are exploring if there is a connection between taste, price and growing region for matcha. The first two parts can be found here  ,and here. The series started after reading a post by Kohei over at Tales of Japanese teas in his post Matcha is not about price, or origin. We are on our third matcha for the month. This one is by Morihan they are located in Uji within Kyoto, Japan.

 This tea is sold as a Tea Ceremony Practice quality, which is also good for baking. It has a good shade of green in the bag and a wonderful quantity of 100g. This one I purchased  for $14 CDN , approximately, on e-bay. Very good price when you consider how much is in it.

     Time to taste it! This one frothed very well and looked very smooth on the surface. It did not have the thickness that I look for in my matcha. Although, it did whisk very well and held together longer than matcha from Teavana.
  When tasteing the tea it had a slight vegetable taste, that most call a “green tea” taste. Along side of it there were notes of dark chocolate that came through the creamy-milky texture of the whole tea.

    Over all it was a great tea but I found a slight dryness that came after. This could be balanced perhaps with a sweet before drinking the tea, how it was originally meant to be enjoyed.

     Next week is the last installment for this series. All matcha teas for this series were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. I highly suggest to try them out as we all taste things differently.

Happy Holidays everyone!

What qualities do you look for in your matcha?

Matcha: Taste is Everything 2

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman

  As part of my matcha taste tests that I mentioned last week, we are on tea #2. I talked to my good friend KingKoh about  different matcha and he brought up that hoarding matcha is not good. The reason for this is after it is open it starts to oxidize and loose its fullness. I try to keep this in mind when I am getting new matcha. With that right now I have three- four open right now and in room temperature. With that said I have been trying to drink them all up. Once they are done I have a closed can of Camillia Sinensis’ Matcha Sendo in the freezer waiting. 

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman

    Just a note on keeping matcha a bit longer, put the tin in a zip lock bag or sealed tupperware to protect it from smells. With that said, on to this weeks tea.
 Aoarashi from Ko no en (Marukyu Koymaen), the lowest ceremonial grade they have on their website.  This tin is 40g of delicious matcha. I got this one from e-bay from a seller who lives within Toronto somewhere. 

     I will admit this tea I have been hoarding and it is not in
its best state. Even still I can not pass up this tea when given the chance. 

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi,Chawan by Kingkoh.  Katherine Bellman

 The taste in the mouth and lingering after taste were
the similar , just a touch weaker. Notes of dark chocolate  develop after tea has
been swallowed. The taste reminds me of the dry sweets that go with Japanese
tea, higashi. 
   As you can see it would not whisk properly. This is a good reason not to let matcha sit around for too long. Although unlike our previous tea from Teavana, this one held together very well. This means it mixed well but just could not create a froth.
  Ko no En’s tea is from Uji, Kyoto. Ko no en is a distributor of Marukyu Koymaen tea here in Toronto. I am lead to believe that the e-bay seller may be part of Ko no En, but they do not say so.  
    With Kohei’s post in mind, I still prefer Uji matcha. The taste is far more complex in the mouth and lingers for a long time. This tea although is fairly cheep on e-bay, it goes for $16.00CDN. Going back to Kohei’s post price does not determine quality. This one has similar notes to Yugen from the same company but is much easier on my wallet.  Let’s see what our next tea has to offer, join me next week for part three. 

                                                            How do you store your matcha ?