Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tea Tasting at Tea Leaves In Stratford!

This past weekend featured quite an exciting event that I have been wanting to do for quite some time! As you can see by the title, I did a little tea flight with my hubby, my close friend, Nova Markina (who took all these wonderful photos - click her name to check out her photography blog) and her awesome mom!

Karen Hartwick - certified tea sommelier
We got the opportunity to sit down and get properly educated and cultured by none other than Karen Hartwick - a certified Tea Sommelier, accredited by the Specialty Tea Institute in New York!

I was so impressed by her fountain of knowledge and history when it came to everything tea.

It was so interesting how different tea tasted if you slurped it around in your mouth, and how the tastes and the smells change after a period of time - even how crucial it is for steeping times between different types of teas.

Also - the correct temperatures they require depending on the tea family - and how many times some teas can be infused over again.

I also found it cool - that depending on where the tea was processed (for example China and Japan), that in China they roast the green tea leaves, while in Japan they are steamed.

Love this clay teapot set - gave our mouths such an organic tasting experience! (pictured below)

Tea is actually extremely technical - more than a glass of fine wine if you ask me! She showed us pieces that she has brought back from her travels and we had a little tea ceremony that was so beautiful and interesting.

Tea is such a healing remedy, I took home some 2 year Pu-erh for detoxing the liver (also great for the whole digestive system), that I am drinking so much of right now. It's very earthy tasting and balancing.

I also picked up Houji Kukicha (I love saying it) for realkalizing ones blood as well as providing calcium - actually it's higher in calcium than a glass of milk!

This green powder and whisk (pictured below) is to help aid headaches and apparently works wonders!

It was such an amazing experience, and I can't wait to go visit Karen again to pick up my favourite tea of life, "Vanilla Rose White" white tea with vanilla bean and rose petals. To die for!

If you want wonderful loose quality tea - check out Stratford Tea Leaves. If you can't make it out there physically - you can order online as well. Stratford makes a wonderful day trip, but if you decide to stay over night - Karen also offers Rosewood Manor Inn,  a lovely Bed & Breakfast in the good company of the tea tasting bar.

If you want to try something a little different, I highly suggest tea tasting at Tea Leaves in Stratford! It was a lovely and cozy experience, and I can't wait to go back!


Rockinon said...

Been there. Your friend took some excellent shots. I really like the portrait of Karen Hartwick the tea sommelier, and the group of six pictures depicting the tea ceremony in its entirety. Cheers!

Unknown said...

Isn't it lovely?! I love Karen! My friend is a really great photographer. Weddings are her forte - for sure. I agree that she really captured the ceremony very well :)

Elle :)

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