Here’s a re-cap of our favourite moments on IG. Lately, our feed has been full of our favourite hot teas made iced, only because it really is that time of year — iced tea time! Don’t know how to make iced tea out of our loose leaf tea? No sweat!  Here’s a post we did last year on how to make the perfect iced tea.

And now, on to our visuals!

Row by row, L – R:

1) Sampling iced Rooibos Sweet Embrace at our Eglinton store. 2) Moroccan Mint iced tea for a busy (and hot!) day. 3) Iced Fields of Peaches. 4) Afternoon snack treat: Cream of Avalon with a splash of milk and a chocolate & fleur de sel cookie! The perfect combo. 5) Our Spring Blend won’t be here for much longer, as we make way for our Summer Blend. Here, I have it iced, of course! 6) Breakfast. Imperial English Breakfast — with a splash of milk and a touch of honey. 7) Sampling iced Spring Blend at our Danforth location. 8) Iced Matcha Chiller – the perfect mid-day pick-me-up.

  

L – R:

9) David and Oscar = the Tea Emporium’s new mascots? We’ll have get back to them on that. 10) Tea and Journal gift set at our Maple Leaf Gardens location: $18.95 11) OMG! Our FYI mugs are back in stock!

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From the rolling tea plantations…

…to your own backyard grilling?

I mean, why not?

It depends, of course, on the type of tea you choose to prepare your succulent grilled meats. The tea that you choose has to be able to stand up to the smoke and the spices you put into your favourite barbecue sauce recipe.

My go-to-tea for grilling meats? One of my favourites – Lapsang Souchong.

Here are some ingredients:

5 tbsp. finely ground Lapsang Souchong leaves
5 crushed dried chilis
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 small cans crushed diced tomatoes
2 cinnamon sticks
3 dried bay leaves
3 whole cloves, finely ground
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1 can of San Pellegrino Limonata (I know, I know – it’s strange – but it works. Something about the fizz and the lemon and the sugar… it tenderizes the meat!)

soy sauce…

…and some meat of your choice. I like to use pork chops for this, with a moderate amount of fat (not too much, just enough). Ribs would be a lovely option too!

I usually do not measure my ingredients; I eyeball them. The above is really just a basic idea of the proportions you will be using for this marinade and glaze. Before you add the liquid to the meat, give it a taste. If the marinade tastes great to you, it will taste amazing on your meat of choice. I also like to season the marinade with soy sauce instead of salt. Again, adjust according to taste.

Mix all the spices together – wet with dry. Reserve half of it and set aside. Take the other half and immerse your meat in the mixture. Cover the meat mixture with plastic wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Meanwhile, take the reserved half and boil it down until it has a thick and syrupy consistency. Wait for the mixture to boil before reducing it to a medium heat and let it reduce that way. Set aside for glazing your chops or ribs or chicken the next day!

Tip: Make sure you bring your meat to room temperature before putting on the grill! You want your meat to cook evenly, and if your meat’s core temperature is still cold when it hits the grill, you may end up with a charred skin, but a somewhat raw center… Not a very appetizing way to start your barbecue season.

Make sure you serve these wonderful tea-infused barbecue meats with sides of your choice (maybe a potato salad with our Rooibos Seven Spice?) and some refreshing iced tea.

Here’s to a glorious May long weekend, everyone!

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The Tea Emporium, in case all you lovely readers didn’t know, is now on Instagram! We have opened it up for our lovely [Android-and-iPhone-equipped] staff to capture any tea-related goings-on in all four of our locations. Below is a selection of our IG photos during the week. Feel free to tweet us with an instagram photo of your own when you do come into any of our stores!

Our Instagram handle: @theteaemporium
Our Twitter handle: @teaemporium 

Happy snapping… and sipping!

Row by row, L-R:

1) Tasting our new Darjeelings for our blog review. For a list and description, go here. 2) Matt had a birthday, and we bought him a huge banana-caramel-pecan cake! Of course, we served it with our tea! 3) Merchandising window at the Danforth set up by one of our staff, Heather! 4) FYI mugs featured in the Spring/Summer shopping cataloque for First Canadian Place. 5) The Tea-of-the-Hour at our Maple Leaf Gardens location – A Lemon Darjeeling! YUM. 6) A cup of our Yellow Dragon Pu-ehr + a sushi lunch = feel-good eats and cold-buster! 7) Iced tea season is here! I had a small pot of our Pina Colada. Look at that colour! If that does not cheer anyone up, I don’t know what will! 8) Details of a Sakura cast-iron that was unpacked at FCP. 9) ‘Skipped lunch and want something quick, filling, and refreshing? An iced Ginger-Matcha latte should hold you for a wee bit until you get yourself a snack!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and the weekend is going to give us lots of sun… so… what to do? What to do? What to do?

The nicer places for brunch will be packed, and you are racking your brain trying to figure out how to celebrate…

Well, why not a tea party in her honour? Set up a place setting in your backyard or porch or living room, and nibble on some tea-infused goodies.

So… ‘like this idea but you don’t have much time? Let us help you! Here are some tea-inspired menu ideas to get your tea party with mom going!

Chipotle-Lapsang Chicken Sandwich

The trick to preparing this sandwich within your limited time-frame is buying one of those pre-made rotisserie chickens from your favourite grocery store. Some stores carry these in two or three different flavours; pick up the classic-style.

2 tsp. Tea Emporium’s Chipotle-Lapsang spice rub
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 green onion, minced
1/4 cup pre-grated carrot shreds, finely minced
3 tsps. mayonnaise (I like to use lemon-aise for a lower-calorie version)
salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
3 cups cubed rotisserie chicken meat

bread (sourdough is a good choice, or any whole-grain alternative)
butter lettuce or frisse lettuce

Combine all the wet ingredients together first, then add in the chipotle-lapsang spice. Fold in the chopped vegetables and the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust flavours; sometimes I like to add a squeeze of lime to round out the sweet-spicy of the chicken salad mixture.

Spread the chicken salad on slices of toasted bread. Top with lettuce of your choice. Remove the crusts and halve OR quarter sandwiches for the tea tray.

Serve with our iced Moroccan Mint.

Jasmine-cured Salmon bites with Lemony Creme-Fraiche

This takes about 48 hours to be completed, so give yourself Friday and Saturday for this, depending on how thick your salmon is. Make sure you lay the salmon flat on a shallow container; moisture will be extracted during the curing process and it will pool around your plate. After all, we don’t want any of those juices dripping all over your refrigerator.

5 tbsps. Imperial Jasmine, ground
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 side of wild salmon, skin left on

Lavash crackers (or any cracker brand of your choice)

craime fraiche
lemon zest
capers
dill
salt and pepper to taste
cucumber slivers (optional)

Lay salmon flat on your platter, skin side down. Mix the ground jasmine tea, sugar, and salt together before coating the surface of the salmon meat with this mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave in fridge for 48 hours. Check after 24 hours to check the curing process; sometimes, it can take less than 48 hours to completely cure the salmon. We want a silky consistency; over-curing it will result in a tough, jerky-like texture to your salmon.

Slice the salmon in delicate ribbons and lay them over your crackers. Just before serving, finely mince fresh dill and capers over your creme-fraiche. Grate in some lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix the creme-fresh mixture, and spoon over the jasmine-cured salmon. Garnish with a tiny sprig of fresh dill and/or cucumber slivers.

Serve with that very same Imperial Jasmine tea you used to cure this salmon!

Rooibos Seven-Spice Cucumber and Watercress sandwich

1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1 tbsp. Tea Emporium Rooibos Seven Spice
1 tsp. grated lime
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
salt and pepper to taste

cucumber slices
watercress leaves (some alternatives: alfalfa sprouts, pea shoots, broccoli sprouts, garlic sprouts)
multigrain bread

Combine softened cream cheese with the sriracha sauce, spices, salt and pepper, and grated lime. Spread over bread of choice, on both sides. Lay on the cucumbers and sprouts. Slice off crusts. Quarter or halve.

Serve with our buttery White Needle.

We all know baking takes time, so unless you *do* have that time, I suggest buying a small selection of scones and treats (french macarons, anyone?) from your favourite bakery. Some tea-infused jam, like our Apricot Ginger and Lemon Darjeeling Marmalade, or Blueberry Kombucha Lime jam will go wonderfully with scones. Don’t forget the butter!

Some tea selections to go with your sweet treats: our famous Cream of Avalon (perfect with a splash of milk), Rooibos Provenceor an iced Margaret’s Hope (unsweetened) or Pina Colada (sweetened OR unsweetened) should get your tea party going!

Happy sipping, and a happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of you!

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As the warmer weather falls upon us, so too, have this season’s Darjeelings! This year, The Tea Emporium is offering three different Darjeeling teas from different tea estates. This year’s offerings are all first-flush darjeelings, which yield a more delicate flavour than its later counterparts, or other black teas, for that matter! Often nicknamed ‘the champagne of teas’, once you try a Darjeeling, you will see why.

Because a darjeeling is quite delicate for a black tea, it is important to brew the tea like a green or a white tea – with a slightly cooler temperature than boiling hot. Let your fresh, hot kettle water cool for about 5 to 7 minutes, or immerse some ice cubes into your hot water to get the optimal brewing temperature.

Makaibari Darjeeling FTGFOP1 1st flush 2012

Harvested from the Makaibari Estate in the Kurseong Valley, this tea is pleasant, sweet, and distinctly muscat in aroma. The leaves are indicative of spring – vibrant green and lovely. This tea has a smooth, buttery finish that coats your tongue, a bit of a conundrum, considering its light buttercup-yellow brew. It has a distinctly muscatel-grape flavour, without the tartness, of course; only the sweetness. $4.95 / 10 grams

Castleton FTGFOP1 1st flush 2012

This Darjeeling is harvested from the Castleton Tea Estate in the Kurseong South Valley. The tea is grown in an altitude of 2300 m. above ground level! The finished leaves are olive green in colour; its aroma, when wet, smells of damp earth and flowers. There is a slight astringency to the brew, but it is buttery smooth on the palette, with a delicate, sweet, and floral finish, almost reminiscent of orchids. $3.95 / 10 grams

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1st flush 2012

This beautiful Darjeeling comes from a tea estate founded in 1871. The wet leaves impart a savoury-sweet aroma, while a subtle earthiness accompanies the light and delicate finish on your tongue, which is also, quite interestingly, reminiscent of smoke. $3.95 / 10 grams

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For a slight twist on a classic on those sweltering hot afternoons, I like to serve Darjeelings iced, inside a chilled, fluted glass; unsweetened, of course. The experience is very much akin to sipping champagne. When making teas iced, double the amount of tea and brew accordingly.

To acquire some of these Darjeelings, or to find out more about our tea gallery, visit one of our four locations below:

  • 351 Eglinton Avenue West
  • Loblaws Maple Leaf Garden
    60 Carlton Street
  • First Canadian Place
  • 337 Danforth Avenue

Tea has always been a very social beverage (though it can also be enjoyed in solitude), but never has tea been more social (in a social networking sense, anyway), until the past two years or so!

Businesses of all sizes have embraced social media as part of their daily repertoire, especially over the last two years! And, we, as The Tea Emporium, are no different! You can now find us on a variety of different platforms now – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course, right here, on WordPress! We have just increased the shareability of each of our posts, so if you see or read something you like here, you can share our posts by clicking on those familiar social media icons at the bottom of each entry!

This blog is still undergoing some major changes, so make sure to drop by often! There may be a tea recipe or two posted sometime soon.

Happy sipping!

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First off, some news. After a long hiatus from the blogging world, we are back! There are changes and projects coming our way, and we have all been busy bees, naturally! Take a little breather with us and savour the beauty and elegance behind whimsical fine-art photographer, Rodney Smith. His photographs have been making rounds in several Tumblr and Pinterest threads, and we happened to stumble upon a couple of his tea-themed photographs! These are simply stunning. His style echoes Tim Walker, but Smith’s are so much more playful, in a sense. And you know what the amazing part is? He shoots all of his photographs in film.

 

You can find more of his work here. His blog is also a delightful read, and offers more insight into his thought process. Lastly, here’s a Modern Met exclusive on him, here.