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Kate in Sri Lanka Part 3

by on April 8th, 2015

Sri Lanka is famous for tea, the country’s former title, Ceylon, gave its name to the island’s most famous crop. But it is little known that before tea, Sri Lanka was primarily famous for cinnamon and coffee, not tea. From 1825 to around 1867, the country experienced a ‘coffee rush’ – deforesting enormous areas in the mountains to plant the crop – and nothing else. This created a monoculture of coffee plants, and in 1869 pretty much all the coffee crop was destroyed by a coffee leaf disease, nicknamed “Devastating Emily”. By this time, tea had been growing in the country for about 45 years – and was ready to... Read more

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Kate in Sri Lanka Part 2

by on April 8th, 2015


Beverly and Neil came to Amba four years ago. When Beverly arrived, there were no tea processing facilities or procedures. The estate simply grew the leaves and sold them to nearby factories for processing. For the first nine months, Beverly mainly lived alone, sometimes with the Amba partners, in Amba’s turn-of-the-century bungalow and made tea by hand….her own hand, and nothing else. In the bungalow’s covered courtyard she withered and rolled the leaves, using an old-fashioned wicker-seated bed to dry out the leaves, waking at 3am sometimes to get the wither just right. Eighty hour weeks were her norm, working in the fields learning how to pluck and spending three... Read more

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Sri Lanka Train

Kate in Sri Lanka Part 1

by on April 8th, 2015

Arriving in Colombo after travelling without sleep for over 24 hours, you won´t be surprised to hear that I was pretty desperate for a cup of tea. I was delighted, then, to find that the little sim-card bundle I was given at the airport contained a sample of “Single Garden Premium Tea”. A teabag – but at that moment anything would have sufficed. Or so I thought.


“I´ll make it for you” said the receptionist at the hostel we stumbled into 2 hours later, melting from the heat. He could see me sleepily bumbling around the kitchen trying to find the kettle, and not having much luck. Then he did something... Read more

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Kate introduces Silver Needle

by on August 8th, 2014

Canton Tea Club Week 97: Silver Needle

If you have been in the Tea Club since the early days (I know there are a few of you) – you might be getting two flashbacks here. The first is that this tea featured in the very early weeks of the club – so please forgive us for wanting to share this true classic of a Chinese white tea with as many tea-lovers as possible.


The second blast from the past is…well, me.  In early 2012 we started working on the club – something that Edgar had always wanted to do. But he left me in charge. “This is your baby” he would say,... Read more

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Our second Japanese tea is a top quality Sencha from Uji

Sencha Midori No Kaori Japanese tea

by on August 9th, 2013

Canton Tea Club Week 45: Sencha Midori No Kaori

This week we have one of the most special teas from our Japanese range, Sencha Midori No Kaori. An extremely high quality Sencha from the Sugimoto Family.

The Japanese tea industry is totally geared towards the domestic green tea market (other types of tea make up only a tiny proportion of the industry). Sencha is arguably the most important tea for the Japanese industry, making up 80% of production. There is huge variation in quality of Sencha available, from the very cheap to the very, very expensive.

Sencha appeared on the market in the seventeenth century, around about the same time that Shohokuen, from... Read more

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Why is wild-grown tea so highly valued? And is this week's tea actually wild?

The Story of Wild Grown Tea

by on July 19th, 2013

Canton Tea Club Week 42: Wild-Grown Long Jing (Dragon Well)

This week’s Long Jing tea is made of leaves picked from trees growing wild on an abandoned tea farm in Zhejiang province. The arrival of this tea got us thinking about wild tea in general: why was this tea farm abandoned? Why is wild tea so revered? And, is this tea really wild?

Let’s start with a bit more information about our abandoned tea field. The trees here are over 100 years old but have been left to their own devices for the past 30. Xiao Yen, our partner in China, explained that there are two main reasons that a... Read more

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Jane Pettigrew introduces this wonderful, long-leaf green tea.

Jane Pettigrew: Taiping Houkui Monkey King tea

by on July 12th, 2013

This blog was originally written by Jane Pettigrew for Canton Tea Club back in 2013

With its instantly recognizable long, thin, flat, sword-like leaves, Taiping tea comes from Taiping county in the stunning Huangshan Mountains of Anhui province and is one of China’s Top Ten Teas. It is thought to have first been made around 1900 and in 1915 it was awarded the Gold Medal at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. The long blades of leaf are from the local ‘shidaye’ varietal (also spelt Shi Da Cha and in Chinese 柿大茶) of the Camellia sinensis and can measure up to 6cm in length. The beautiful, clear, yellow-green liquor has an amazing... Read more

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There are places available on an exclusive Hawaii tea tour in November...

Fancy a tea trip to Hawaii?

by on July 9th, 2013

Our friend Eva is offering Canton Tea Co followers the chance to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime tea trip.

Last year we were introduced to Eva Lee, a Hawaiian tea artisan. She was deeply involved in the renaissance of tea cultivation in Hawaii taking advantage of its unpolluted air and clean water to grow unique quality teas. Tea was recently reintroduced to the exotic island in 2000 making a very fresh terroir for tea growing. Using research from World Tea Expo to the College of Tropical Agriculture she is growing both tea and the interest towards it within the country. Eva previously presented to us Hawaii Volcano Green tea and Forest White... Read more

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View a video of tea-production in Ilam, Nepal

Improving the conditions of Nepalese tea farms

by on May 31st, 2013

Canton Tea Club Week 35: Nepal Roasted Green

We thought we'd take a break from the written word this week and take a look at a video instead.

The video is about a USAID project to improve the conditions and productivity of tea farms in Ilam, from where our three Nepalese teas originate. We're not posting this to endorse USAID, rather to give an idea of where these teas have come from. It is interesting that the Nepali tea industry, whilst geographically in the same position as Darjeeling has been, and is still, relatively undeveloped.

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Back to Nepalese tea, and we learn more about the Sandakphu Estate from where our Nepal teas originate.

Nepal Snow Mountain White Tea

by on May 24th, 2013

Canton Tea Club Week 34: Nepal Snow Mountain White

As you sip this week's robust and sweet white tea, you can read about the luscious surroundings from which it originated.

Sandakphu is the highest peak in Ilam, a Nepalese province famed for its biodiversity. Ilam is located in eastern Nepal, bordering the Darjeeling area of India. In fact, because the eastern slope of the Sandakphu technically lies partly in India, the peak is often claimed as Darjeeling territory - Wikipedia describes it 'the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India'. But we're not here to debate on border disputes, let's talk tea...

The Sandakphu Estate was (unsurprisingly) named after the spectacular mountain which... Read more

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