Yet another action packed weekend has been conquered! As I have mentioned in an earlier post, we had a very special speaker join us at the Tea Emporium this past Friday – James Norwood Pratt! JNP’s lecture “Introduction to tea” focused on tea history, methods of manufacturing, tea health benefits and a detailed discussion of different families of tea, giving an insight into what makes tea so special. JNP’s enthusiastic take on presenting some intricate details of tea production and consumption brought us laughter and created a light discussion on topics of tea regions, cultures and regional distinction. Simply put, the event was a success and I thank everyone who came out and hope that all of you enjoyed it as much as I did! For those of you who did not get a chance to come out, I strongly encourage you to pick up JNP’s The Tea Treasury or the Tea Dictionary to learn more about tea and its qualities, they are a must have on every tea lover’s book shelf.

“Tea is a miracle of vegetation that has become a treasure of the world as medicine, beverage, currency and communion – the wellspring of empires, industries and arts. Tea is second only to water itself as mankind’s favourite beverage today.” – JNP’s Tea Dictionary

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Another amazing event that took place this past weekend was the Fortune Cooking Festival at the Harbourfront, and the Tea Emporium was happy to be a part of its vibrant display. I had an immense pleasure on giving two workshops, one of the art of tea blending and the other on how to make your own mocktails! The first workshop on tea blending featured three teas – Garden of Eden, African Queen and Sencha, which were used to demonstrate that different types of tea can complement each other. I have asked the group to first try each tea on its own, to get familiar with the flavours and the ingredients. After asking the participants on what they thought about the taste of the three teas, the answers couldn’t be more different, ranging from “grassy” to “sweet”, which were all correct, proving that all teas have a range of distinct flavours and can be paired with others to create new exciting combinations to fit your own taste. Once the blending began, the participants got a chance to experiment with the ingredients and create their own personal blend and take it home to enjoy.

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For the second workshop I demonstrated an easy way to make mocktails at home and how to pair them with certain alcoholic beverages to make them into cocktails. The first was a strawberry, currants, apple and hibiscus fruit tea (African Queen) mixed with a raspberry puree, which can be paired with raspberry flavoured vodka or even beer! The second was a Moroccan Mint tea mixed with lime juice and freshly muddled mint leaves, which can be mixed with the rum of your choice. Third creation, which blew everyone away was Jasmine green tea mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice and cucumbers which can be paired with Sake! And lastly, a Baked Apple black tea mixed with coffee, which can be paired with Baileys for all those much anticipated autumn evenings. For all the blends I also recommend adding a small amount of simple syrup to bring out all the necessary tea flavours.

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Don’t be afraid to try something different, you never know what you’ll come up with.

Happy tea blending everyone!