The packages have charming colourful labels, and come in flavours like, ‘Kathmandu Cosmos,’ ‘Silver Yeti,’ and ‘Shangri-La Oolong.’ As a writer, I can’t help but feel fond toward this tea company that plays with its names. Even better, the Nepal Tea LLC is a social business venture, bringing you tea straight from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Research Center, the country’s first organic tea garden, founded in 1984.
The Tillerman Tea Company is based in San Francisco. Canadian David Campbell started the company after spending 30 years in the wine industry. Tillerman Tea Company’s focus is on a limited selection of single-source oolongs straight from the producers.
I had seen the Teavivre logo floating around the internet, but before I received their sample pack in the mail, I’d never before tried a Teavivre tea. When I broke open the big package they sent, the little individually sealed packets that tumbled out reminded me of a care package a kind dorm mate in London had once sent me from her favourite tea fields in China—packages just the right size for a gaiwan, or great to throw in your bag (if you’re a gaiwan-carrying nerd, like me).
I first wandered into the Camellia Sinensis Teahouse in Montréal during a summer road trip across the country. It was around the corner from the Jean Talon Marché where our friend was taking us on a neighbourhood tasting tour of Montréal’s Little Italy, including succulent oysters, artisan sausages, and delectable duck meats. Finding the unassuming Teahouse entrance and enjoying some nice iced matcha and nerdy tea conversation with the staff inside was a highlight of the day (it also relieved Rob of having to listen to my tea gibberish for ten minutes).
So of course I got when Camellia Sinensis reached out with some samples. When I think quality Canadian tea, and especially ‘Quebec Tea,’ they’re one of the first to come to mind.
This American importer of organic, single-estate Korean teas has offerings that would pair well with your summer picnic.
Back in 2015 when Rob and I visited South Korea, a highlight of our trip there was taking the ferry to Jeju Island, the ‘Hawaii of South Korea.’ As beautiful as you might think, this island paradise and popular Korean vacation destination is just a few hours by ferry south of the mainland. We took the ferry from Mokpo and spent a week frolicking around sex museums, climbing South Korea’s highest mountain (with no water), eating delicious black pork belly, and visiting the O’Sulloc Tea Museum (which I was VERY excited for).
It is very satisfying to reach for a tin of tea, pop off the top, and be rewarded with the sight of fresh tea spilling out. That was the first thing I noticed about the samples I ordered from Adagio Teas—they were filled to the brim and aesthetically pleasing, like something I’d want to give a friend. By default I’m suspicious of fancy tea packaging, as too often it hides a less-than-superior product. I’m glad to report that’s not the case with Adagio Teas. The high quality of their product matches the thoughtfulness of their fine packaging, which even includes steeping instructions on the bottom.
When Kei Nishida from Japanese Green Tea IN reached out to ask if I’d like to try their product, I knew I couldn’t say no. Sweet and refreshing, Japanese green teas have been a weakness of mine since I was a teenager, drinking Canadian grocery-store brand greens and dreaming of someday traveling to Japan. Now as an adult with some tea experience, I drink a good, dark gyokuro or sencha on a near-daily basis. Japanese Green Tea IN’s teas are a classic example of high-quality, sweet and full-bodied Japanese green teas. That they keep up a close relationship with their tea farmers in Shizuoka prefecture near Mt. Fuji makes me like them all the more.