Much like the taste for wine or certain foods can be acquired, developed and cultivated, a taste for different teas can be explored, discovered and established. None of us start off liking every single type of tea and there’s a good chance that our palette changes depending on our mood, season and with age. When I had my first cup of tea as a kid and I really didn’t enjoy it all that much (shocker I know!) But what was important about that experience was the initial introduction tea had given to my taste buds that would eventually set me on the path towards a new discovery later in life.

While I was growing up, I drank more and more tea, mostly because I was surrounded by a family of tea fanatics and friends who drank it almost nonstop. It was inevitable that I would eventually get addicted as well. And so, the quest for the perfect cup began. I kept trying, kept disliking, kept trying and kept not falling in love as I have hoped I would after trying so many. After numerous tries, I have come to a great realization that maybe I was not thinking big enough. After all, I was focusing mostly on a limited selection of blends, lacking in originality and spontaneity my mouth was clearly seeking.

As time progressed, I found new ways of fulfilling my tea needs. I moved swiftly through the aisles in tea shops around the world and sought out new blends that I thought would make me fall in love. I kept requesting various tea flavors, characters, notes and aromas. But funny thing is – I was already in love, I just didn’t know it. I have developed a taste for the fine, delicate and subtle notes tea has to offer without even realizing it. All I was looking for were new teas to try simply because my adjusted palette was demanding it!

After my tea conquest, I realized that tea can be an acquired taste as well. So for all of you tea lovers who only stick to one type of tea, do not despair! There is hope, and you only need to be persistent to find a new match for those stubborn taste buds of yours. Tea has an array of flavors and certainly will not disappoint you in its variety. Be open, and be patient and you will find a new match in no time.

 

Chai-Wallah

With the cool weather on the approach, I decided it was a great time to turn your attention to spices in tea. I know that a lot of us tend to gravitate towards spicier blends in the fall and winter because of all the goodness and warmth the spices add to our favourite cup. But I would like to ask – when we choose a tea with spices, do we stop and appreciate each ingredient the same way we appreciate tea leaves or wine grapes?

Spices have been around for centuries, traded alongside ebony, silk, fine textiles and even precious stones. The first glimpse of spice trade has been traced as far back as the Neolithic period. Pretty impressive, is it not? So why is it that we know so little about what seems to be an everyday, simple addition to our favourite meals and beverages? At one point in history, each spice we now consume has been equated to the price of gold. It is a shame that we forget how valuable spices are and how much taste and character they add to our favourite dishes. I am not going to go into detail about the history of spices, but I will tell you this – you won’t be disappointed by the rich history of these extraordinary, aromatic and flavourful vegetative substances. I strongly advise you to dig deep and uncover all the secrets of the spice trade, I guarantee it will blow you away.

The Tea Emporium is proud to be carrying a selection of teas with spices that have been carefully selected over time. The most notable form our line of Chai teas is the Kashmiri Chai blend.  We drafted our Kashmiri Chai after the most notable spiced tea – the Masala Chai. The original Masala Chai consists of black tea mixed with Indian spices and herbs, taking its origin from South Asia. The traditional way of preparing Masala Chai is by simmering the mixture of milk and water with spices and loose leaf tea. The masala (spices) in the chai (tea) typically consist of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper. The interesting thing about this beverage is that it has no fixed recipe and many families have their own versions passed down from generation to generation. The base of the Masala Chai is usually an Assam tea, favoured over other types because of its full bodied character that works best with the spices and sweeteners without overpowering the ingredients. The traditional Masala Chai also includes sugar, mostly brown sugar, but sometimes honey is used instead. And of course no Masala Chai is complete without milk (traditionally in India, buffalo milk was added, however over time, regular milk has been the norm).

I guess what I am trying to say is that just like anything in life, this special beverage should not be taken for granted. Just like tea leaves are individually plucked and processed, spices are grown and cultivated – with care, precision and knowledge. Each spice, each leaf carries a historical weight and its own story. So next time you pick up your favourite cup of Masala Chai, let it speak to you, listen to its secrets and don’t forget to share yours.

It’s finally here everyone! Our new pride and joy, a new addition to our family of stores – the Tea Emporium, Oakville!

It has been a crazy ride. Long hours, planning and obsessing, but at last the goal has been achieved and I couldn’t be more happy. There is something so gratifying about building an idea from scratch and making it come alive. The dream is no longer dreamed about, it has been brought into reality. I think we all can relate to the initial feeling of excitement, intrigue and anticipation. These factors drive us, motivate us and bring us closer to success. But these feelings do not disappear after the goal has been achieved. I can honestly say that I feel even more excitement now that the store is finally operating. Like the mechanism in a clock, everything has fallen into place, ticking and turning, it is all finally in motion.

The opening was absolutely magnificent! Our team began with cutting the ribbon. Me holding the scissors and shaking a little from all the giddiness built up inside. Once the scissors cut the ribbon, laughter was joined by cheers and applause. It was as exciting and as simple as opening a present. The moment couldn’t be any more memorable and a sense of relief couldn’t be more awaited. With the ribbon finally draping off the front doors, we invited everyone inside. Awes and ohs echoed inside the room. The store filled up instantly! The cheerful crowd awaited patiently as we sampled numerous iced teas, Green Tea Moroccan Mint, Sunburst Raspberry, Baked Apple and Lichee Congou. My trusted mixologists presented everyone with specialty made mocktails and paired them with with delicious, custom made macaroons and waffles. Joy swept across the faces of our team and I couldn’t be more proud. At the end of the night, we locked the doors with a sense of accomplishment and pride. I put the key in my pocket and finally took a deep breath, happy to open these doors once again the next day…

 

I want to thank everyone who made it out, your support is always such a great motivator and we take pride in your continuous satisfaction. So thank you for being so wonderful and we hope to see you all at our new store again!

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