Here is a great interview with James Norwood Pratt – who we consider one of the most respected experts on tea:]

The Japanese celebrate the beginning of spring with Hanami – the cherry blossom festival.  The custom began in Japan in the 7th Century – the Japanese artistocracy would admire the cherry blossoms – sakura – and write poetry.  The cherry blossom is a symbol of Japan and the country boasts of 300 varieites of this beautiful tree.  Sakura is ful of meaning for the Japanese – the fragile flower has been compared to a woman’s beauty – “blossoming for a short period before withering into old age”.  It is also said that the warriors of Japan would use sakura as a symbol of “a life that was short but magnificent”.

Today, the tradition of Hanami continues in Japan with celebrations wherever the cherry blossoms are found.  People fill parks for dancing, picnics and rather large bottles of sake.

If you’re going to visit Japan for the festival – Mt Yoshino – Yoshinoyama – is said to be the most breathtaking.  Over 100,000 trees have been planted in groves along the mountain.  The famous poet Matsuo Basho was so struck by the beauty on his visit that he refused to compose a haiku saying that no words could capture the beauty he saw.


Well – I made it.  Yes – I know I said this would be a fourteen day detox – but unfortunately, I have a pastry tasting scheduled for today – and that will blow my detox.  So…I decided to end on a round number – Day 10.

I’ve been asked whether it was difficult – and with the exception of the first three days of liquid, I would say, no – not at all.  And perhaps it wasn’t a burden for exactly that reason – after three days of liquid, everything was a walk in the park.  I didn’t truly feel like I was really sacrificing anything throughout the detox – things I had to spend time thinking about – what’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner in the beginning became easier towards the end.  I was shocked that I didn’t miss red meat – I’m a red meat lover.

What I did realize is what an important social element of our life eating is.  I think this is why I found this process more difficult on days I wasn’t working. 

So here is the final days menu:

Oatmeal cooked in 1% milk, banana
Rooibos Ginger Melon

Whole wheat bread with egg frittata (leftover from a previous night), sprouts, mustard
Imperial Jasmine

Skinless chicken, avocado quesadilla on whole wheat flax tortilla
Sunburst Raspberry – iced


We have now posted the dates for our Tea Specialist Certificate:  August 24-25, 2009; January11-12, 2010.

For information on this certification – please click here.  For anyone interested in registering, please do email us at for a registration form – remember that space is very limited.

We asked the question – What is your favourite part of spring.  It looks like the majority of you – resounding 70% – love getting outside.  We can’t say that we’re surprised.  With our long winters – the first signs of spring and the possibility to get outside without the threat of frost bite is a welcome relief.

We’ve swept winter out as well – and now have our Spring Blend on the shelves.  For those of you that haven’t tried it – this is a blend of black tea with all the refreshing flavours of spring – strawberrries, lemon and mixed berries.  It has a nice balance of flavours – and we love making an iced tea out of it as well.

Sundays seem to be the hardest day to stay on track.  I’m at home – and I would like nothing more than to slip into old habits – start the day with the newspaper and big lazy breakfast – maybe go out for lunch – pour a glass of wine late afternoon and waste the rest of the day away.  But…I didn’t – I remained on track – and with a little thought – it wasn’t even that much of a chore.

Here’s the menu for the day:

Fried egg and tomato on whole weat toast
Blend 103
Orange Juice

Black bean quesadilla on whole weat tortilla

Asian style shrimps on brown rice
Dung-Ti Oolong

I’m thinking less about what I’m eating – that would mean I’m forming habits – that’s a good thing.

Here was the menu for the day:

Oatmeal in 1% milk – banana

Sandwich – whole weat bread, roasted chicken breast, dijon, sprouts

Frittata with smoked salmon and horseradish, caper  yoghurt
Yellow Dragon Pu-Ehr

I was very good today – and didn’t feel like I was sacrificing – good place to be.  I don’t like that I have to think about everything I’m eating – as a whole – I wasn’t eating that badly before this detox – but now I’m conscious of everything.  Perhaps when it becomes a habit, there will be less thinking involved.  This conscious eating has made me realize a couple of things.  I don’t eat sweets throughout the day – I’m the person who doesn’t save room for dessert because I just don’t care about dessert – but I do need something sweet in the morning – have missed that during the detox.  I’ve also become aware of the fact that I don’t drink enough – okay I knew this before – but I’m trying to do something about it now – always being dehyrdrated – NOT SO GOOD.

Tomorrow I will have reached my half way point –

Here was the program today:

Oatemal cooked in 1/4 cup 1% milk – sliced banana (I love banana on my cereal because it gives me the sweetness I can’t add at the moment)
Formosa Silver Moon

Vegetable/tofu stir fry (leftover from last night)
Ginkgo Temple of Heaven

Crudité with a yoghurt/garam masala dip

Quinoa salad with loads of vegetables

Quangzhou Milk Oolong

Here is an inspiring message in some hard times for a lot of people.  I know the message is from a major conglomerate selling  a product, but it doesn’t make the message any less meaningful:]