Tea & Food Pairing… what’s this about?

Combining tea and food is not new to the culinary scene, but is something that people have been playing with as long as we have been consuming tea. If you think about pairing tea and food there are some natural duos that come to mind, favoured by many is tea and chocolate, but there are some savory pairings that are pleasantly surprising.

Some basic concepts when approaching the combination of tea and food:

  1. Match delicate tastes with delicate teas.
  2. Moderately flavoured food with unassertive should be matched with medium bodied teas.
  3. Strong teas deserve food with a strong personality.

Look for a food or tea which can enhance or support one another and enhance the experience of the two taken together.

Perfect Match Tea & Chocolate Pairing (chalkboard)

If this sounds like something that peaks your interests, we have an upcoming webinar that is more in-depth and will walk you through the complexities behind matching flavours of tea and food and give you the confidence and principles to create unique pairings like a pro.


Material covered:

  • flavour profiles of the main tea categories
  • introduction to the concept of aroma compounds as found in tea and food
  • guidelines and best practices

Take away:

  • pdf of presentation
  • holiday tea inspired recipes

This course is for:

  • Graduates of the TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Program
  • Tea students
  • Culinary students
  • Cafe & restaurant owners
  • Wine & Beer enthusiasts
  • Curious minds

Presenter: Shabnam Weber

Shabnam Weber - Industry & Online InstructorBy the time Shabnam Weber was 24, the Toronto entrepreneur had opened restaurants in Bermuda and Germany. It was through her fascination with specialty tea shops across Europe that Shabnam decided to establish her own tea shop when she returned home to Toronto.

She is a big believer in tea education and has committed many years to the development of a variety of courses to further the knowledge of consumers and industry alike. Using her passion and knowledge of tea, Shabnam has created a place for herself in the tea industry by speaking at numerous tea events internationally and sitting on the Board of Directors of the Tea Association of Canada. In her Director role, she currently chairs several committees and is the author of the TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Program being taught at colleges across Canada, and now online through the Academy of Tea.

Registration Deadline: December 7 @ 11:30pm ET

We hope to see you there!

TEA SOMMELIER® Program Honoured with an Award of Distinction from CSAE

We are excited to announce that this month Michael Anderson from CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives) presented us with an Award of Distinction for our TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Program. THANK YOU!

img_1921Michael Anderson (CSAE Director & President), Shabnam Weber (Program Author & Director of Academy of Tea), Louise Roberge (THAC President)

As many of you know, this program was started over a decade ago by the Tea Association of Canada, with a goal to produce trained and knowledgeable consumers and tea professionals who are well versed on all aspects of tea as it affects the consumer and have a through understanding of tea and its history, processing methods and preparation. Since its inception we have worked with Canadian colleges and industry to educate thousands of students and have produced many Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professionals. More recently we have expanded  into the online education sphere with the Academy of Tea to deliver the course and Protea Academy in Italy (for Italian speakers).

Thank you to CSAE for this recognition and to all of our students, graduates and members who have helped contribute to the success of this program.


Are you a tea lover and want to learn more?


Our Top 5 Tips for Holiday Survival

In November cooler days come our way across Canada, and maybe some of you are starting to think about the winter holidays. As tea lovers we find so much pleasure in giving, sharing and enjoying tea, and we hope that some of our tips will prep you for holiday survival and set you up for a healthy and relaxing season.

Cup Of Tea And Branch With Christmas Lights

1. Choose your beverages wisely

Many of us forget to check our liquid calories which can add up quickly. Did you know that tea is 99% water and is an all-natural zero calorie beverage? Water is the perfect beverage recommended by health professionals as a healthy choice. Water, like tea, also helps your body stay hydrated, contributes to optimal physical and mental performance and most importantly, helps you eat less if you drink before and during meals! Thousands of published studies in leading medical journals support the potential health benefits of drinking tea. In fact, the December 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published 12 studies, including those showing that tea has been found to help promote weight loss.



2. Host a tea party

Did you know that When the word “tea” is used to describe a mealtime, it refers to the mid to late afternoon meal that is traditional in England and other countries with British roots.


A get-together with tea and friends brings out the best of both the worlds. Small sandwiches (cucumber, watercress, salmon etc.), and small dessert bites make for a wonderful departure from the regular heavy food focused party fare and offer the perfect pairing for food and friend enjoyment. And there are so many varieties of teas to choose from – whether it be black, green, oolong or white. Not only does tea taste great, but there is a large and growing body of research backing it as a healthy, good for you beverage. You can create a unique event by offering a selection of different teas. Visit http://www.tea.ca for recipe ideas and tea & food pairings to help in planning a TEArrific get-together.

3. Take time to relax and refresh


So put your worries aside and start sipping! Tea is a refreshing and relaxing drink and is considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. Taking a break with a soothing hot drink can help you relax and reduce stress. It’s easy to brew a terrific cup of tea, either from loose leaf tea or tea bags. Always bring water to a rolling boil. For black tea, use water that has just boiled and for green, oolong and white teas, use water that is 80°C (185° Fahrenheit) Then, pour water directly onto tea leaves or bag. Do not over-brew your tea which means removing the tea bag or infuser after 5 minutes of steeping for black teas, and after 1-3 minutes for green, oolong and white teas. You’re now ready to sit back and enjoy the best cup of tea. For full instructions visit our Tea Types & Steeping Instructions page.

4. Boost your mood and stay alert


Drinking tea can improve attention and some people find it allows them to be more focused on the task at hand. In a recent study, subjects who drank tea produced more accurate results during a task that required focused attention and also felt more alert than subjects who drank a placebo that did not contain tea. These effects were found for two to three cups of tea consumed within 90 minutes. It is thought that caffeine and the amino acid theanine, both present in tea, contribute to many of tea’s psychological benefits. [1]

5. Give a gift of tea and health

It’s November and with that the holiday season (and shopping) is right around the corner. Tea is a healthy beverage and who wouldn’t love to receive a gift of specially selected tea, tea pot or a lovely mug? Here are some terrific tea related gift ideas.

  • Teapot: Tea tastes better brewed in a teapot. Why not surprise someone special with a unique tea pot this season?
  • Tea table book: Any book about teas is sure to be well-received by tea lovers. Look for tips on different styles of teas, and interesting details for tea enthusiast to soak up while they enjoy their favourite cup of tea.
  • Tea box: These are a great way to store envelopes of tea. They’re sure to be a big hit for those that love their tea and want to have a variety on hand to use and share.
  • A beautiful tea cup: A new mug that is unique and personalized is sure to be favoured by any tea lover.

Easy Tea From A Teabag Versus Quality Brew

To shop, visit our Find a Retailer page to locate a tea shop near you or online.

I wish you all the best of the season and do feel good about enjoying and sharing tea as part of a healthy lifestyle.


[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/6/1700S.full

Sustainability Awards – Bronze

The number and quality of the submissions were high, but the judges had to choose the top three winners in each category. The bronze award winners were:


One Pre-School per year and One Cup Porridge per child
Submitted by: Sorwathe Ltd., Rwanda

›In 2012, Sorwathe identified the necessity of improving of Early Childhood Education around the factory and plantation. There was only one good pre-school which was run by Sorwathe (St Josephs Gako) and was overcrowded with around 100 children. Children used to walk long distances to attend this school. Hence, Sorwathe decided on building “One Pre-School per Year” and since 2012, has built another 3 pre-schools (2013/2014/2015). Currently the 4 pre-schools attract around 420 children per day. We also observed that most of the children were tired and hungry and sometimes fall asleep in class. In order to address this important issue of Nutrition, we commenced on providing “One Cup of Porridge per child” and currently we provide around 420 cups a day. The “One Cup Porridge per child” program has been supported in part by a grant of 2000 Euro from one of our buyers.



Environmental Sustainability & Biodiversity Program
Submitted by: Kabepe Chakra, Indonesia

›In 1997 CHAKRA management have identified the potential site on a visit to the estate.

›In 1999 Chakra conducting a full feasibility study.

›In 2000 decision was taken by the management of the estate to implement the project. A soft loan covering 50% of he investment was provided by USAID in cooperation with a local NGO active in renewable energy development

›The project fully implemented in 2002.





Sustainability Awards – Silver

All of the initiatives entered into the North American Sustainability Awards were of a great caliber, which made it challenging for the judges to determine the winners. One conference delegate said of the awards:

“It was truly amazing to see the reaction from the audience when the nominees were presented and the winners announced. Of course all of them are winners in their own right. It certainly opened the eyes of so many people who have been in the industry for many years and had no idea of the great work carried out by so many producers in their communities.”

As we carry forward from this event, the tea industry is reminded to continue to work together and bring forward more of these stories to celebrate.


Goodricke School for Special Education
Submitted by: Goodricke Group Ltd, India

›Goodricke Group Ltd’s initiative comes from the parent company Camellia Plc’s deeply held principle of operating with a human face and being responsible for our impacts on the environment, on society and the economy at large.

›We follow the vision of our parent company Camellia Plc. in pledging – we’ll continue to make positive contributions to the communities in the passionate belief that the well-being of the community has a positive impact on our operations.

›The community connect initiatives are through social inclusiveness, corporate philanthropy and CSR activities.




Climate Change Adaptation in the Kenyan Tea Sector
Submitted by: Ethical Tea Partnership, Kenya

›The project aimed to give Kenyan smallholder tea farmers improved access to knowledge on climate change and enhance their capacities to adopt appropriate adaptation techniques. In order to achieve this, the project built the capacity of the Kenyan Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and other local institutions to directly train and support smallholder tea farmers on the issues of climate change, its impacts on tea production, and appropriate techniques for adaptation. Ultimately the training enabled smallholders to put measures in place to secure their future livelihoods, reduce their vulnerability to climatic impacts, and most critically, to continue growing tea. Initially focusing on the 5 KTDA factories and 50,000 smallholder farmers most heavily impacted by climate change, additional partnerships increased the project’s reach to over 100,000 farmers across 10 factories, and the learnings have now been spread across the whole of KTDA by embedding the knowledge in pre-existing training structures – potentially reaching all 560,000 smallholders.


If you can’t wait to read about each of the projects over the next few weeks, you can see all of them here.


Celebrate Diwali: October 30, 2016


On October 30, Diwali will be celebrated by millions of people in India and around the world. Diwali is known as the “festival of lights” and is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in the autumn.

This would be the perfect time to visit your local Tea Retailer and try out some different types of tea from India or indulge in a Chai Latte.


This drink is rumoured to have been around for over 5,000 years. The name “chai” means tea, and “Masala Chai” means spicy tea.In the main market places of Indian cities you will find Chai vendors who are known as “chai wallahs” (meaning “tea persons”).



  • 1 cinnamon stick, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 2 whole cloves (optional)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons loose black tea, or 4 black tea bags
  • granulated sugar or sweetener of choice (flavour to your sweetness preference)


  1. Lightly crush cardamom pods and cinnamon in a mortar.
  2. Put water in a pan. Add crushed cardamom, cinnamon, ground ginger, black pepper and cloves to water. Bring the mixture to boil. Let it simmer for few minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from fire and let the spices infuse their flavour for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar and milk to the pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat and add tea leaves. Cover the pan, remove from heat and let it steep for 4-5 minutes.

Take a picture of yourself enjoying some tea from India and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #DiwaliTeaCanada



More information on India’s tea can be found at the Tea Board of India.

Sustainability Awards – Winners

This year marked the first year of the North American Sustainability Awards  which were presented at the NA Tea Conference (September 2016). These Awards are to recognize the hard work being put forth globally across the tea industry to further the goals of sustainability. While gold, silver and bronze were awarded in both the environmental and social categories, we want to recognize all of the entries.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing the 27 projects that were entered, starting with the recipients of the Gold Medal for Environmental and Social.


Emrok Ngererit School World Reader Program
Submitted by: Emrok Tea Canada, Kenya

›Ngererit Primary School was built and opened in 2011 entirely from the financial assistance of the Emrok Tea operation along with other private donations raised to serve the greater community through enhanced education. Located near Kericho, Kenya, there are approximately 600 students with an equal mix of boys and girls. Emrok Tea partnered with Worldreader to raise $20,000 to provide e-reading as a solution for the students of Ngererit. In May 2016, Worldreader sent two BLUE (Building Literacy Using E-Books) Boxes to the school, which provided 100 Kindles each loaded with 100 culturally relevant e-books. BLUE Boxes contain everything needed to bring digital reading to a school, which includes the e-readers, books (schools can choose from our library of 40,000 books in 43 different languages), accessories, and Worldreader’s 7+ years of expertise in the field.



Metropolitan’s Environment Action Program/Carbon
Submitted by: Metropolitan Tea Company

Metropolitan’s main factory in Toronto, Canada has implemented numerous modifications to its plant and equipment over the last 10 years. As a result, we have accomplished a 66% reduction in utility usage (per work unit) while tripling our output over the same period. Future projects are in the planning stages that will reduce utility usage a further 12% (per work unit).




If you can’t wait to read about each of the projects of the next few weeks, you can see all of them here.