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Dalvay Breeze

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton
Dalvay Breeze Tea
Dalvay by the Sea is a wonderful beach area just north of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. Shirley and I love it so much, we had our wedding reception in 1986 at the famous Dalvay-by-the-Sea Inn.  Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco and is truly one of the world’s great tea blends. Tea itself was introduced to Morocco in the mid 19th century by the British. The addition of mint is believed to have first happened in the bazaar at Tangiers a short while thereafter. Merchants discovered that infusing the blend produced a drink that was at once vigorous and soothing, thanks to the therapeutic qualities of mint. If you have ever been to Morocco and haggled over a rug you can appreciate the importance of those two qualities! True to the spirit of the original blend our tea is flavoured with a pungent and refreshing mint. This bright and invigorating tea is perfect any time of day.

Ideal Brewing Temperature: 100ºC/212ºF. Minimum Brewing Temperature: 90ºC/194ºF.


Peppermint Herbal Tea

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton

Peppermint is known for its soothing, aromatic, refreshing and distinctive colours and tastes. The Chinese drink hot peppermint tea to cool off, as the diaphoretic properties open pores to let our access heat. It contains menthol, thymol, and other volatile oils with antiseptic properties. Peppermint is the most widely used herb in the world and is known to stimulate the circulation and a strong remedy for digestive problems. Peppermint tisane is safe for children.

Peppermint is a herb and contains no caffeine. Quite often peppermint is consumed after meals as the oils stimulate the flow of bile to the stomach and helps relieve gas pains. Additionally,  it has been reported and written that peppermint sweetens the breath and calms the digestive system, plus it helps heartburn, stomach ache and nausea.

An interesting and tingling way to use peppermint is to place a handful of peppermint leaves in your bath water which will lower your body temperature - perfect for cooling fevered skin or after working on a hot summer’s day.

Peppermint is believed to be a hybrid species that evolved from spearmint and watermint. However, peppermint has been around so long its genealogy is obscure. It has been reported as a stewing herb by ancient Hebrews and it has been found in 3000 year old Egyptian tombs. 2000 years ago the Japanese cultivated peppermint as a source of menthol.  Peppermint is a primary ingredient in remedies used in the relief of gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, and local aches and pains. Because of it’s bright, pungent flavor, peppermint is often used to mask the unpleasant taste of various medicines. Peppermint tea is made from both the leaves and the flowers. As a hot tea it is cool and refreshing, as an iced tea the menthol content produces a pleasantly chilling taste sensation.


What is China Black Tea?

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton


China’s best known black teas, fall into two main categories, North China Congou and South China Congou. Of the varieties in the former category, Keemun is the most famous, and is also widely considered the finest of all Chinese black teas. In China you will hear Chinese referring to Keemun as a “red” tea rather than the category of black tea, due to the red colour upon infusion. This is one reason Keemun has the name the “burgundies” of teas and another reason is due to its’ wine-like quality. At their best Keemuns unquestionably rank among the great teas of the world. Keemuns are also among the longest-keeping of all black teas; if properly stored, they last literally for years. While Keemun is delicious plain it goes perfectly with milk and/or sugar. Because of its wine-like quality, lemon should not be offered.

Keemun Black tea or Keemun for short is produced in the Huangshan mountains of Qimen county in the Anhui province and is China’s prized black tea (though the Chinese refer to it as Qihong - meaning “red” tea.). The rolling ranges of the Huangshan Mountains, luxuriant with forests, towers over crisscrossed rivers and streams where tea gardens stud the valleys and hills at 200 - 400 metres above sea level. The tea gardens are often shrouded in fog that bathe the hills in great humidity, a condition most beneficial for the growth of leaf buds resulting in the leaves being soft and tender. The congenial natural environment endows the Keemun tea with a unique aroma and rich taste.

Qimen County produced only green tea until the 1870's. It owes the change to a young civil official who lost his position when his superior fell into disgrace. Then he remembered his father’s advice, - “a skill is a better guarantor of a living than precarious officialdom”. The young man went to the Fujian province and learned the black tea process. On his return to Qimen he set up three factories using the new technique on the same leaves his neighbours were making into green tea. The method was perfectly suited to the leaves, produced by the loose, easily drained soil and the area’s warm, moist climate. His first product in 1875, fine, dark tea leaves with distinctive flavour, hit a wave of popularity in England. Soon after, other local factories switched to black tea production. Keemun is originally one of the congou-type teas. That is, it requires a great deal of gnogfu (disciplined skill) to make the fine, taut, sometimes irregular strips without breaking the leaves. Choice Keemun has an exquisitely complex, subtle, mellow flavour that may grow winey with age and depending upon how the tea is brewed, can be quite strong without being unpleasantly bitter. The aroma, at its best, is equally penetrating, and may be reminiscent of orchids or incense, while the liquor is reddish and thick-bodied. 

Keemuns were once an essential ingredient in English Breakfast blends which, however, are now often made without any Chinese teas at all. Despite the sometimes irregular appearance of the dried black leaves, choice Keemun has an exquisitely complex, subtle, mellow, sometimes delicately sweet flavour that may grow winy with age and eventually unpleasantly bitter. The aroma, at its best, is equally complex, wonderfully penetrating, and reminiscent of orchids and/or incense. The liquor is reddish and outstandingly thick-bodied. Keemuns of lesser quality have a simpler flavour and lack the intriguing aroma of the finest Keemuns.

We do use Organic Chinese Keemun in our Prince Edward Island Breakfast Blend


Our China Black Teas

Victoria Garden Tea

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton
Victoria Garden

Half and half of Ceylon leaf and China green gunpowder form the basis of this glorious gentle blend with vanilla flavouring and pieces and lavender flowers and rose petals added. 

Ideal Brewing Temperature: 100ºC/212ºF. Minimum Brewing Temperature: 90ºC/194ºF.




Black Tea Blends

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton


After the manufacturing process teas are either packed and marketed as ‘specialty’ teas (also referred to as ‘single source’ or ‘garden’ teas) OR they are blended with teas from other gardens or other producing areas or countries. The reason for this is that teas from single estates can vary in flavour and quality from year to year – just like wine – due to differing weather conditions and sometimes production processes. Some tea connoisseurs prefer single source tea and enjoy the yearly variations however many others like to know that every time they buy a particular tea it will taste exactly the same. By blending different teas packaging teas and retail companies can guarentee the flavor and quality of that tea from year to year. Tea blending is a difficult process and tea tasters try hundreds of teas each day to find the right components for particular blends.

Our Black Tea Blends

English Breakfast

Originally made up solely of black teas from northern China (particularly Keemuns).  English Breakfast is now usually a Ceylon or Indian based blend though China teas are still used occasionally as well as Indonesian and Kenyan varieties. All the teas are black. Quality is sometimes well below that of first-rate Keemuns, but the very best English Breakfast blends still have what’s loosely called the “China character”; True to its name this blend is especially popular as a breakfast tea. It can be enjoyed with or without milk and is available both in specialty stores and supermarkets. Though the tea is blended and sold by British firms (Twinnings, Ridgeways, Tetley) the term “English Breakfast” was coined as an English blend for the North American market.

Prince Edward Island Breakfast


What is Darjeeling Tea?

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton


Legend has it that Lord Indra's (the Hindu King of Heaven) thunderbolt fell at the place where now stands the Observatory hill. The Tibetan words "Dorje, the thunderbolt of Indra, and Ling” meaning a place, from Dorje-Ling, or the Land of the Thunderbolt. 

Amidst the many splendiferous mountains at an altitude of 7,000 feet, where Heaven meets Earth, you can encounter breathtaking beauty, mystery and magic. Here the hills are emerald and lush. The earth is rich and yielding. The mountain mists moisture-laden and mellow. In this rarefied air, monks and simple folk spin enthralling legends and tell tales of how Darjeeling tea was born.

The tea gardens planted in these regions over a century ago, with pedigreed bushes from China, have gifted the world the finest of teas.

So rare and unique is the flavour that it cannot be replicated anywhere else. Two leaves and a bud, hand picked and processed to release a sun burst of flavour.  Flavour that has been described as "muscatel." 

The distinctive, elusive and rare character of Darjeeling tea is the result of several factors. The tea gardens are situated at elevations of 750 - 2,000 meters and gardens up to 70 degrees provide ideal natural drainage for the generous rainfall the district receives. Coupled with this, the intermittent cloud and sunshine combine to impart the unique character of Darjeeling tea

The finest Darjeelings, particularly those plucked in June and October are among the most prized of all teas. They are unforgettably rich and complex in flavour and aroma, lingering yet delicate and mellow, with a distinctive quality that is sometimes nutlike and sometimes reminiscent of muscatel and black currants. Lower quality Darjeelings are not nearly as memorable but can still be thoroughly delicious

Darjeelings are generally full-bodied, with a light gold to reddish gold or brown liquor. The dried leaves vary from greenish to black to brown to grayish-black, depending on the season; some have white or golden tips, though ones that do not may be just as high, or higher in quality. Peak-season Darjeelings picked in end of March and typically April form the first flush which tend to be lighter in body. The exceptional ones show wonderful complexity and rich muscatel flavour. Second flush tea season begins typically in July. The leaf tends to be browner to grayish, grayish-black, wiry with golden tips, proof of high quality production of the prized second flush leaves (as opposed to mixed greenish, greenish-brown leaves of first flush).

Our Darjeeling Teas

Ringtong - Darjeeling 

Second flush of typical Darjeelings grown at altitude of approx. 3000’ - 3500' in the southern Himalayan’s. Even greyish leaf with mellow, faintly nutty cup. The Darjeeling character is very obvious and enjoyed plain or with milk.

Sakura Cherry Green Tea

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton

Sakura Cherry Green Tea

Shop Sakura Cherry Green Tea

Hunan Province produces some excellent Japanese style green teas. Early in the new season the tea is a bright emerald green and has the best flavor noted by a spring fresh character with pungency and body. In Hunan the tea starts growing about March 15th, and between then and the end of April the quality is very good. Once you pass April, the quality plummets on account of the volume of leaf taken in and the bushes growing too quickly. Our policy is that we only buy our China tea requirements from tea grown between March 15 and April 15 - you will taste our quality and dedication to better tea when you compare our tea with similarly graded teas. Sencha is commonly used in Japanese tea ceremonies marking events of personal importance. In this type of ceremony it is the ritual that is of paramount importance as the individual is being acknowledged. Flavored tea is a relatively new phenomena and combining flavors with roses and Japanese style green tea is almost considered ‘Avant Garde’ by our Japanese friends.

Kyoto is the cultural center of Japan. Several centuries ago Kyoto was the religious capital of Japan. The relics of this past are evident throughout the city. Beside the multitude of temples that dot the city, and the wonderful parks where religious scholars once walked, the city has more the 1000 Torjii - those typical gate/arch structures that one associates with Japan. The Torjii are large with the top shaped like a curved samurai sword (respect) and the two pillars are solid and stately (well-being). During the springtime this area of Japan is ablaze with the new season cherry blossoms and the air is filled with sweet aroma. (The rose petals in this blend are intended to simulate these delicate cherry blossoms. The flavor is reminiscent of the beautiful smells that waft on the springtime breezes.) It is little wonder that this ancient city has a very high ratio of tearooms and this tea was created to honor (very important in Japan) this wonderful time of the year.

The tea tends light liquoring, fresh and smooth with reasonable depth and body. The cherry flavoring and subtle rose hints give the tea a wonderful exotic character. 

Ideal Brewing Temperature: 100ºC/212ºF. Minimum Brewing Temperature: 90ºC/194ºF.