Launch of the TEA SOMMELIER® Program at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute, Niagara College



We here at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College are very excited to share that we’re launching TEA 101 this May!  Join myself and your fellow tea students as we dive into an introduction to this ancient beverage.   We will be learning about the different types of teas, how the tea grading system works, the origins of tea, and of course tasting (or “cupping”, in the tea world).  This all takes place at the Glendale Campus sensory lab, located right in the heart of [what I refer to as] the “gastro-haven” of Ontario.

It’s a wonderful time to be expanding on all things sensory at the college.  We already have well established wine and culinary programs and have an unrivalled beer program – tea is a natural progression for us.  We’re looking forward to bringing the world of this beautiful beverage to the Niagara Region – hope to see you there!

Kristina Inman 

Kristina Inman

Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional/CAPS Sommelier

For more details, please visit us at:

Beat Diabetes: World Health Day

April 7th is “Beat Diabetes” World Health Day and WHO states that “A healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and saturated fats can help prevent Type 2 diabetes, and also help people to manage Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes if they have it.”

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Adding tea to your diet is a healthy choice as it is a zero calorie beverage that pairs well with a bounty of healthy foods .

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The legendary health benefits of tea for today’s tea lover

Tea is an ancient beverage loved by people around the world. Black tea is the brew of choice in North America and Western Europe while Green and Oolong teas are popular in Asian countries. All these teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant and are linked to the potential health benefits. The difference is in way the Camellia sinensis tea plant’s leaves are handled after harvesting. Green teas are not oxidized but are rolled after steaming prior to drying; oolong teas are partially oxidized resulting in a light green to amber brew and black teas are fully oxidized leading to a darker colored liquid. Here are some more fascinating facts on tea and health:


  • Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world next to water?
  • Tea was discovered by accident nearly 5,000 years ago?
  • Tea contains natural plant compounds called flavonoids that are good for your health?
  •  Tea can be a valuable addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  • Tea drinkers tend to have lower risk for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and many other chronic diseases according to hundreds of published research studies

teacup 2


Obesity is a major public health concern in the Canada, and few strategies provide long-term success. Several studies suggest drinking calorie free tea may aid weight management, helping people meet fluid requirements without the added calories of some other drink options. Preliminary research suggests that tea flavonoids may help increase metabolism and fat oxidation and improve blood sugar control.  Tea catechins (a type of flavonoid) may also provide modest shifts in metabolism that may promote weight loss and maintenance.

Tea Lover’s TIPS for March – NUTRITION MONTH 2016

Dietitians are food and nutrition experts who can help you make healthy eating/drinking changes. For Nutrition Month 2016 Dietitians encourage Canadians to make small changes that they can stick to over the long run.  You can feel good about enjoying tea as part of a healthy lifestyle. Consider these tips for your health and wellness that are related to tea:[2]

  • Unsweetened tea is calorie-free.
  • Drinking tea adds to your fluid intake and can help you satisfy your thirst.
  • Drink water or brewed unsweetened tea in place of sugary beverages
  • Try hot or iced black or green teas without added sugar or honey. Enjoy the taste of tea itself![3]
  • Taking a break with a soothing hot drink can help you relax and reduce stress.

[1] USA Tea Association

[2] ERO

[3] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Campaign

Halifax Tea Festival

By: Ashton Rodenhiser, Halifax Tea Festival

Halifax Tea Festival (1)

All welcome to the second annual Halifax Tea Festival. Steeped by World Tea House this event is sure not to be missed. Held at the Maritime Hall of the Halifax Forum on Windsor street in Halifax, NS welcome over 20 exhibitors from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. Festival attendees will have an amazing opportunity to meet tea growers, shop owners and artisans while they sip many samples and take in live music and learn from various workshops throughout the day.

World Tea House will be hosting a tea bar full of many goodies to try and taste. DAVIDsTEA, Satya Tea, Tea Geek’ery and many other tea experts will interact with folks and they teach and learn together. Ticket holders will also have the opportunity to get free henna design by Halifax Henna. Why not get a tea leaf reading while your there as well and purchase a pottery mug for your new tea? So many opportunities to share in the warmness that tea brings.

Halifax 2

For more information and to purchase advance tickets please visit:

Twitter: @halifaxteafest
FB: Halifax Tea Festival

Love Your Heart!

Valentine’s Day is a great time to celebrate love, but also can be a reminder to make healthy heart choices as part of your everyday life! An intricate part of this romantic holiday is, of course, chocolate. The Aztecs were among the first to use chocolate as gifts and believed it to be a source of spiritual wisdom, energy and to heighten sexual prowess. Richard Cadbury, whose famed British family manufactured chocolate, was the marketing genius who first packaged chocolate treats into the heart-shaped boxes in the 1860’s – the rest is history! Dark chocolate, which contains 70% cocoa mass, supplies the body with important amounts of polyphenols that are potentially capable of having beneficial effects on chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In a single leaf of tea, one third of it’s weight is comprised of flavonoids, which are released when the leaves come in contact with hot water. Flavonoids in foods have positive health effects that can help reduce the risk of heart disease through high antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits.


Tea and chocolate pairings

“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” – John Q. Tullius

Ever since the introduction of the British afternoon tea tradition, tea has been considered a beverage that is best accompanied by an assortment of delicate sandwiches and pastries. What may not be well known to many people is that chocolate and tea are absolutely made for each other! Here are some suggestions for pairing teas with various types of chocolate to create your very own tea tasting:

Perfect Match Tea & Chocolate Pairing (chalkboard)

Host a heart-healthy tea party

If you are hosting an afternoon tea party, you can create a health conscience menu by replacing some of the foods or ingredients that are high in fat and sugar. The Tea Association of Canada’s dietitian Lucia Weiler has a few suggestions for a healthful and delicious tea time! This Valentine’s Day, enjoy a heart-healthy tea party with these menu tips.

Heart-healthy tea party menu tips:

 Tier 1 – Tea Sandwiches:

  • Egg Salad with watercress (Vegetarian)
  • Hummus and alfalfa sprouts (Vegetarian)
  • Cucumber and radish with a light cream cheese (Vegetarian)
  • Smoked salmon with minced fresh dill, light cream cheese and cucumber
  • Beef and horseradish ( with a jar of roasted red pepper
  • Cheese (cheddar) with apple slices (leave on apple skin for colour and fibre)

Try cherry tomatoes for garnish.
Use different soft breads (look for whole grains with at least 2 grams fibre in each slice). Cut sandwiches in different shapes (square, finger, circle, moon – try cookie cutters).

Tier 2 – Sweets:

  • Grapes, berries and dried apricots
  • Biscotti or other lower calorie cookies (Skip the scones, cream, jam and rich pastries.)
  • Chocolate (a selection of fine thin slices of dark chocolate)

Easy Tea From A Teabag Versus Quality Brew


Serve in pots. Use your favourite set or mix and match a variety of tea pots and cups.

Best Brewing tips:

  • Green and Oolong – brew for 3 minutes in 80C degree water.
  • Black tea – brew for 5 minutes in boiling water (100C).

On the side:

  • Lemon slices
  • Sugar (brown and white)
  • Milk

Just a reminder: tea without milk or sugar is a zero calorie beverage!

Enjoy the month of February!


Hot Tea Month: Tea for Life

January is a time for new beginnings when it comes to work, home or health.  Did you know that January also happens to be Hot Tea Month in Canada and is one of the approved themes on Health Canada’s Health Promotion Calendar? What better way to kick off the New Year than to celebrate all the virtues of enjoying tea from its taste to its powerful health benefits!

Join the Hot Tea Month Festivities!

HTM Graphic 2016

  1. Instagram Contest

Share your favorite moments of enjoying tea for a chance to win! From January 5-31, 2016 we’d love to see photos of you with friends or family enjoying the benefits of tea or an original lifestyle shot that best represents your unique relationship with tea. Remember to tag the photo with the hashtags: #TeaForLife_Thepourlavie . Get creative and start sharing today! The top three shutterbugs will win some very cool tea accessories by Breville. Click here to join the Instagram fun and remember to ‘Instagram like’ your favourite submissions too. Contest rules

  1. Join the fun Twitter Party on January 13th 9 PM [ET] with Food Bloggers of Canada & tea experts. Chat with us about tea and you’ll have a chance to win awesome prizes.

    Cup Of Tea With Spoon On White Background

Co-Hosted by Tea Association of Canada and Food Bloggers of Canada to their 16,000 followers, Louise Roberge, President of Tea Association of Canada and Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional & Lucia Weiler Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist will host a fun time & dish out tips on tea and health.

Date:   Wednesday January 13th 9 pm (ET); 8 pm (CT); 7 pm (MT) 6 PM (PT); 10 PM (AT);

RSVP: Sign up here at Food Bloggers of Canada. #TeaForLife

  1. Millennials & Tea – 3 more hot tips on tea and Health.

According to a recent study completed by Nielsen, commissioned by the Tea Association of Canada, the millennial generation have a different relationship with tea than their contemporaries. Here are our top 3 tips on millennial’s take on tea and health

i. Fat burning wins over preventative health “We talked to Canadian millennials across the country and were surprised to find out that they would rather drink this hot beverage to help with the daily grind of life. Lowering stress levels, sleeping, keeping alert, staving off a cold and weight control is more important than tea’s preventative health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and maintaining overall heart health,” says Louise Roberge, President Tea Association of Canada.

ii. All tea from Camellia sinensis is created equal
“We were also surprised to uncover that millennial tea drinkers think that some tea varieties are healthier than others. In fact, all tea coming from the tea plant Camellia sinensis is created equal in terms of how good it is for your health. Black, green, white and oolong come from the tea bush called Camellia sinensis – hence have the same health benefits,” says Lucia Weiler, Tea Association Registered Dietitian.

iii. More flavours – more adventurous

Other findings from Nielsen about millennial tea drinkers include:

  • A larger number of females than males like the hot beverage;
  • Green is the flavor of choice on weekdays;
  • Variety is the spice of life (millennials collect tea at home; enjoy more flavors than rest of the population).

See more at

The Power of tea – 5 top tips on Tea and Health

1. Secret compound = flavonoids 

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Did you know that the tea plant is rich in antioxidant like compounds called flavonoids? Infact tea contains 750 times more flavonoids than coffee.  Flavonoids are active dietary compounds naturally found in plants – and tea has it in abundance. A diet rich in flavonoids can protect through antioxidant activity and provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Tea’s positive health effects have been linked to its high flavonoid content.

2. Green = Black for health

Green and black teas (as well as white and Oolong teas) come from the same plant – camellia sinensis. It’s an evergreen shrub that grows well in China, India and Kenya.  Tea farmers pluck tea leaves then dry them.  Tea leaves destined to become green tea are dried for a shorter length of time than the tea leaves that will become black tea. Researchers find that the health benefits from the tea leaves of the camellia sinensis plant are essentially the same whether they are dried to green or black teas.  Taste is the key difference between green and black teas. Remember to brew your green tea for about 3 min in 80C water, whereas black teas can be brewed at higher temperature water (100C) and a bit longer for 5 min. Enjoy!

3. What’s good for the heart is good for the brain

 Heart health is one of the most studied health benefits of tea.  Researchers are finding that tea’s natural plant compounds called flavonoids have powerful health benefits that help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn helps reduce the heart disease and stroke.   Tea flavonoid compounds can function as antioxidants, but researchers are finding benefits that go well beyond. While investigators are still exploring the various mechanisms by which tea flavonoids work, scientists in Australia found that regular consumption of 3 cups of black tea a day can result in significantly lower blood pressure.

4. Tea is a ZERO calorie natural beverages

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Tea beverages brewed from the dried camellia sinensis leaves produce a natural beverage that has no calories. Brewed tea is a simple drink made of tea leaves and water. No wonder it’s the second most consumed beverage around the world after water. Tea has been found to help promote weight loss in studies published in the December 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Several studies suggest drinking calorie-free tea may help with weight management.[1] Preliminary research suggests that tea flavonoids help elevate metabolic rate, increase fat oxidation and improve insulin activity. Tea catechins can also provide modest shifts in metabolism that may improve weight loss and maintenance.

5. Tea keeps caffeine in check

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Caffeine is a natural compound and is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation. Although tea contains some caffeine, it’s 66% less than found in an equal sized serving of coffee, but still enough to provide the cognitive benefits.  In a cup (250 ml) of tea there is about 45 mg of caffeine versus a cup of coffee which has 142 mg caffeine. Since Health Canada recommends that adults limit their caffeine intake to no more than 400 mg/day, this means you can enjoy about 8 cups tea a day OR 2 cups of coffee a day to stay within the limit. Enjoy herbal teas or decaffeinated teas if you want no caffeine in your beverages. For more information visit