Want It Wednesday: Toronto Tea Festival 2017

The Toronto Tea Festival took place on January 28th and 29th, I am very late to the game talking about it. I went on vacation the very next day and have been swamped since getting back. There was lots that I wanted to get at this years show, here are a few:

1(F&B Tea Co.)
Tea face scrubs. Treat yo self.

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(Tea Life)
Tea-ShirtsIt’s a black tea day today.

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(Tea Life)
I had too hard a time choosing between Tea-Shirts and Tea-Mugs so they both made the list.

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(Lemon Lily and Au Naturel)
Matcha deodorant! 

9(Boreal Wildcraft)
I have featured this mug on a Want It Wednesday before. But I really want one.

teALCHEMY Pop Up Shop

1If you are in Toronto between now and June 17th make sure you check out the teALCHEMY pop up shop. teALCHEMY carries a curated menu of teas that represent a variety of flavors and tea growing regions, as well as a culinary line of tea powders for baking and cooking. They are primarily an online retailer and this pop up shop is a great opportunity to experience their product in person before purchasing.  

I stopped into the shop a few days ago and was greeted by the friendly staff with samples of Cherry Rose Rooibos tea, which they were also offering as iced teas to go. I was immediately impressed with how fantastic the product looked in the space. The store, which used to be a Nine West shoe store underwent minimal changes for the pop up but looked as though the space was designed just for them.

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I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the space by owner Lynda Budd, who started the company in 2012 as a result of her love of tea and travel. Lynda showed me all the products that they offer but also shared some more personal stories, like that of her grandmother’s 100 year old tea pot and spoon collection featured in the shop window.

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If you do stop by the shop be prepared to walk out with some new tea for your collection. I bought some goodies including: Dung Ti Oolong and Double Black Diamond. I was also generously given some Iron Goddess Oolong and a glass travel mug in exchange for an impromptu photo shoot of my tea pot and teacup tattoos.

teALCHEMY’s shop is located in Toronto’s Yorkville at 93 Bloor Street W., open Monday – Friday (10AM-8PM) and Saturday-Sunday (11AM-6PM).

Tea Whipped Cream and Berries

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Simple, delicious and so easy to make, whipped cream with fresh berries may be the perfect dessert. I added black tea powder to my whipped cream to give it a deep and bold flavor that was complemented by the sweet berries hiding underneath.
I recently picked up some black tea powder from teALCHEMY and have been experimenting with fun ways to introduce it into recipes, and I found a winner. Though black tea is my preference it could easily be swapped out in this recipe for matcha green tea powder or for a caffeine free option, rooibos powder.

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What you need:
1 cup whipping cream (this will make about 2 cups of whipped cream)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp confectioners sugar
1-2 tsp black tea powder (depending on how strong you want the black tea flavor)
Any kind of berries you like

1. Place a metal bowl and whisk into the freezer for 10-15 min. I used my stand mixer but if you do not have one any metal bowl and whisk will do.

2. Add cream, vanilla, sugar and tea powder to the bowl and mix until medium peaks form

3. Serve immediately over berries.

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Why I Love Tea: Emily Vallevand

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Last week my friend Emily Vallevand came over to talk tea. Emily and I first met working at David’s Tea. Emily started working for the company over 5 years ago in Regina. In 2013 she transferred to the Yorkdale mall location in Toronto, where I was working at the time. Even though I have since moved on to new things, Emily and I have stayed in touch getting together for dinners, drinks and of course tea. Emily loves working at David’s Tea, she has stayed on with the company, although she has had to cut back on shifts because of her career as a freelance interior decorator.

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Rachel: Why do you love tea?

Emily: I’ve always thought that tea is what brings people together. When I was little it was the way that our family included us in the grownup aspect of things, after dinner they would say “who wants a tea?” and all the kids would be like “yea I want one!” because you would feel like one of the grown ups. And then I got older and it became a thing with friends to meet up and and have a tea and try this new place or new thing. I think there is so much variety to it that you can like, or appreciate everything and share what you enjoy with others. It brings everyone together, it’s just this warm fun thing you can have together.

Rachel: What is your favorite tea?

Emily: I don’t have a favorite tea, I like tea. I drink different teas for different occasions, different times of the day and for different reasons. If I was going about my daily tea drinking routine: I normally like to start my day with a black tea with a heavier, richer, bolder flavor. I sometimes in the morning enjoy putting a little bit of sugar and a little bit of milk in. In the afternoon I prefer to have a white tea a green tea or sometimes an oolong. White tea is my preference over green tea, but there are a few green teas that I like. In the evening I find I can’t really drink caffeine because it stimulates me too much and I’ll stay up all night. If I need a boost in the late afternoon I will drink a rooibos because it is very high in antioxidants and is very hydrating, I find that it can often give me enough of a boost without the caffeine. Then in the evening I will have a nice herbal tea or another rooibos.  

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Rachel: Why do you prefer white tea over green?

Emily: I prefer the flavor palate of white tea. Green tea has that grassy or oceanic seaweed flavor that sometimes is just a little too much for me. White tea even if it has a little bit of that grassy flavor it is more towards the sweet pea or vegetal side which I prefer.

Rachel: How many cups of tea do you drink in a day?

Emily: I would say, in my normal routine a minimum of five. In the morning when I get to work I could have a cup or two first thing just checking my email. Then throughout the day I usually just keep pouring that kettle, I usually just drink all day.

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Rachel: We are getting ready to enjoy a cup of tea now, what are you making us?
Emily: We are going to have Kenyan Tinderet from David’s Tea. Like I was saying my favorite thing is to start my day with something to eat and a nice cup of strong tea; this is one of my favorites. I drink pretty much exclusively David’s Tea but not because it’s the only tea out there or the best. Even though I am open other companies, I think David’s has a lot of great stuff, and since I work there and I am just always at David’s Tea so that’s where most of my collection is from. The thing I like about Kenyan Tinderet is that is very bold and black but it has a crisp honey note to it. I was thinking about what treats would pair well with it so I also bought pain au chocolat I think the butteriness and the honey flavor will go together really nicely.

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The tea was bold and strong, the snacks were a delicious touch and accompanied the tea perfectly, and the company was just the best.