WHY WE SOURCE SPECIALTY TEA
We source “specialty tea”, as opposed to “commodity tea”. This supports small lot farmers who produce tea with complex flavours through careful craftsmanship and often ancient know-how. This also means that the tea has not come through massive brokers and instead has travelled simply from the farm, to JagaSilk, to us and then to you. Traceability, freshness, reduced carbon footprint and accountability make for a more meaningful approach to commerce.
WHY OUR SELECTIONS ROTATE
Tea is a perishable good and does not stay good forever. There are also yearly changes and new relationships we like to highlight. Supply and demand, variability in weather and production techniques, mean that even if we chose to order the same thing every year, the flavours and dynamics would be changing regardless. We have decided to bring attention to the joy of change and its infinite flavour potential. (And just because we are rotating out of your favourite tea, does not mean it will never come back!)
WHY IT’S MADE BEHIND THE BAR
For consistency and precision purposes, our tea is made behind the bar.
This allows us to control the 4 major variables in tea preparation:
1. weight of leaves, 2. temperature of water, 3. volume of water, 4. steeping time
(That being said, any variable change suggestions we take to heart and help us grow.)
WHY WE THINK TEA BAGS ARE NOT THE ANSWER
Teabags do not allow for “jumping”, a critical action tea takes in its steeping journey. They also prevent the tea from expanding, allowing only for leaves on the outside of the “ball” of leaves to steep. Paper absorbs tea oils. In fact, teabags were invented by accident. Tea samples from English colonists in China were sent to England in sachets. These sachets were mistakenly just dunked in hot water. Teabags, tea cylinders, tea balls, are all restrictive technologies that can easily be replaced by two cups and a sieve. Friends don’t let friends use teabags. 😉
WHY SMALL VOLUME
The biggest reason inaccurately made tea tastes flat is that there is too much water in the brew. This is likely due to the mistaken conception that if you leave tea to steep long enough, it will fill up any vacuum of water. In reality, the flavour disintegrates and becomes two dimensional. Volume control allows us to use extremely high quality leaves rarely seen outside production countries, at a price that is affordable. We use even less volume for teas that allow for multiple infusions. 180ml x 6 infusions is still 36 oz!
WHY WE BREW IN GLASS OR CERAMIC
Glass and ceramic are the most neutral materials for brewing your tea. Metal can cause the leaves to “sweat” (we prefer controlled thermal loss) while ceramic is easily scratched and therefore takes on the flavours of the teas before it. Glazed ceramic is like glass in that it is incredibly neutral and gives you a “purer” sense of the tea. Unglazed ceramic is also a fascinating rabbit hole in how good clays can accentuate different characteristics in your tea while tempering others.