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Thomas Love

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When my 7-year-old niece comes to visit, one of the things she loves to do is swim and drink tea with her uncle.  Her first choice for a swim is the ocean, but up here in Canada in January, swimming in the sea is best left to polar bears and spot prawns – not skinny little girls with little fear ...
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The hunt for the perfect cultivar

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November is when the tea bush drops its hazelnut-sized seeds and withdraws into winter hibernation.  It is the last hurrah of the growing season in the northern hemisphere for Camellia sinensis. As my tea plants recede into protection mode from the harsh winter temperatures, I lift my head up for a moment and restart my search for yet another hardy ...
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Chai – some attempts at art and a few almonds

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It was just this past September when I discovered Almond Breeze as a viable alternative to organic dairy.  I had seen it at Queensdale Market a few times, but had taken a pass on it because it was in a tetra pack.  I try never to buy anything in those containers, as they are incredibly costly to make and very ...
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A cup of compassion please

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In the face of what on some days seems like a crumbling world, a planet in total chaos, we find ourselves retracting and hiding rather than confronting the fears that seem to be escalating around us.  With daily catastrophes playing out in real life and in the media, it is easy to let fear creep into our consciousness and immobilize ...
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Worried you missed the boat?

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In the 12 years since I opened my first tea lounge back on that hot, dusty day in Edmonton, I had a vision of an industry whose trajectory would replicate that of our darker cousin.  I had the sense – after less than a year in operation – that within the decade, there would be such things as “corporate teahouse ...
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Being a part of the solution

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The increased use of loose-leaf tea in cafés and restaurants has been a most pleasing evolution to us tea aficionados.  Not all cafes have dumped the stale bag for a better, fresher, more exotic offering, but the ones that have are indeed seeing an increase in the amount of tea they are selling.  Simply by adopting a loose-leaf tea program ...
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On becoming a tea farmer

In Tea by Brendan Waye1 Comment

When the idea struck me some years ago that Camellia sinensis might grow and possibly thrive on the west coast of Canada, I decided it would probably be best to keep it to myself.  It was one of those epiphanies you get when you’re scrunched down in a muddy trench, reaching for a ripe bunch of blueberries that are just ...
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2011 Organic White Peony – exquisitely fresh and fruity

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Some tea shops sell everything under the sun that is tea related – the “be it all, end all” of tea, so to speak.  Then there are other tea vendors who choose to sell only what they are passionate about, regardless of whether they have customers beating down the doors for that next, extra-fruity, aromatic candied rooibos infusion.  I am ...
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Bittersweet tea

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I arrived at the office a little later than usual Friday afternoon and the box of Japan sencha was waiting in front of the door.  I had just purchased 55 pounds of the steamed leaf for my fervent customers. The whole lot was vacuum packed in a solid brick – the size of a small engine block and almost the ...