By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar @masalamommas
Do you remember the first time you learned to make tea with your mom? I remember my mom teaching me about the quantity of milk, cardamom and cinnamon and soon I became a pro…For the longest time, no one let my mom make the tea, they all wanted my tea.
It was a source of pride when visitors came over to our home or family friends dropped in. I’ve loved tea ever since but between you and me, I do think I’ve lost my touch! That’s why I am always on the lookout for the perfect tea to end my day or host guests.
Now that I’m a mom, I really relish the days I get to spend with a hot cup of tea reading the newspaper in silence. Of course most days somebody upstairs senses that I’m ‘relaxing’ with my teatime, and there goes tea-o’clock.
So when I had the chance to be part of a team of media to come and “Shop and Sip” with one of the new ‘tea-blazers’ on the block, I couldn’t turn it down. Who would turn down an invite to have several kinds of tea with small bites in the beautiful Neil Young room at the ONE Restaurant and Hazelton Hotel with a tea alchemist of all things!
teAlchemy is a Canadian brand based out of Toronto, founded by tea sommelier and tea alchemist, Lynda Budd. For a tea fanatic like me, when I heard from Lynda that you could actually bake with tea powder, I got so excited! During our shop and sip session, we had the chance to sample her rooibos scones, which I have to say melt in your mouth and that smooth tea finish makes them just a little bit of perfection. Some of the teas I sampled were 2 Doves Silver Needle, dubbed the “champagne” of teas as well as the minty Yerba Mate.
We learned about the eight categories of tea from White tea, oolong, green, black, pu’erh, mate, rooibos and herbal infusion. Perusing the TeAlchemy website you can also learn that it’s two leaves and a bud that are plucked from the plant, which are then processed. Several classes of tea – white, green, oolong, black and pu’erh – are the result of variations in pluck as well the type and length of processing.
From white tea to floral tea each not only has various taste offerings for any palate, but also each can associated with a ritual. I’m sure many of you have had to make tea for your husband-to-be’s family when the parents met for the first time.
I personally dream of the day we can offer chocolate chai to our future in-laws, don’t you?
But I digress…Speaking of chocolate chai we had the chance to sample Velvet Touch, a tea by teAlchemy which has chocolate cocoa nibs in it.
We sampled some incredible artisan cheeses courtesy of the renowned Chef Mark McEwan in a private dining room at the Hazelton Hotel. teALCHEMY had a great selection of teas but more importantly the company prides itself on being ‘blenders of tea’ and providing tea powders instead of just tealeaves is an added benefit.
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The teas in the line contain ingredients such as Anise, pieces of almond and apple, beetroot, bergamot, blackberry leaves, black cohosh root, black pepper, cacao bean pieces and much more
We were then taken to a private suite for a Q and A with Lynda who talked about various teas and forms of teas including the powders, which can be great for lattes and other drinks.
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Ever think of tea in your cocktail? Well, that’s one of Lynda’s favourite things to do using tea! She mentioned to me in my chat with her that her Berry Blast Iced Tea cocktail is one of her favourites.
One of the biggest discussions at the event was around the health benefits of tea which led to learning that tea contains flavonoids – which are good for the heart and may reduce cancer. In my home, chai was used for a sore throat, a cold, body aches and de-stressing, or something you have, in order to break a fast (eg. Karva Chauth).
And if you’re looking for some really unique accessories for that high tea or chai with the in-laws, check out the teas at teALCHEMY’s Tea Boutique. My favourite on their list of goodies is this tea cozy
Whether you use tea for health, distressing or digestion, tea always has an answer for us moms…we just have to make it to tea-o’clock! You can check out this fabulous new brand of teas at TeALCHEMY.ca and follow them on twitter or facebook.
This post was sponsored by teAlchemy but as always opionions stated here are all my own.
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