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Recent Tasting Notes
Steeping up a session of Quail’s Plume this afternoon! This roasted green tea is one of the Canadian grown teas I picked up from Westholme back in May!! It’s really intriguing to me how there are so many similarities in taste between this tea and White Mist, Westholme’s signature white tea. Both have a slight cocoa note and a crisp snow pea vegetal freshness. At the same time, there are of course striking differences; the gentle roast adds a really warm golden hazelnut note and I get an additional array of vegetal flavours like bean sprouts and blanched edamame. It’s a really smooth cup and, as someone who tends to stay a little more distanced from greener tasting teas, I found myself especially pulled towards the dominant notes of bean sprouts that were especially rich in the third and fourth steeps!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ct4nMOtOvyV/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF035q-oBYQ
This was the second tea we were served while at Westholme. Not one of the Canadian grown teas, but just one of straight teas they import from other places around the world. I thought that Victor brewed this one up quite intensely, and I actually loved how rich and tannic the infusion was with brisk and grizzly notes of malt, sweet potato and starch, leather, bitter baker’s chocolate, and plum skins.
However, I could see a few others in our tour group (including my mom) struggling with the astringency/bite of blend – especially comparatively to the white tea we had just drank. Thankfully, this tea was served with an assortment of pastries including a really delicious strawberry and apricot shortbread. The buttery pastry helped cup through some of those more intense notes, and I think it ended up making for a pleasant cup for all of us around.
Westholme describes this as “accessible”, which I can see since it’s smooth and fairly easy to drink. It doesn’t stand out as particularly good – brisk, slightly toasted, a sort of classic tea profile that I associate with Tetley teabags. I would expect more from names like “Royal” and “golden” but for me, this is just fine. Fun to try so thanks for sharing Sil!
When I was in Montreal I tried both smoked and spiced maple syrup and they were delicious. The spiced was packaged better for travel to bring it home so I got a jar. Today, I had woken up early as a friend swung by on her way to New York to ask me to a bridesmaid. Since I was awake, we decided to make French toast topped with bananas and whipped cream to go with the spiced maple syrup. It was sooo good and made even better by this tea, which Sil kindly gave me. Thank you!
This tea is mild and smooth. Slight smoke. Syrupy but with a darker depth as opposed to a caramel or honey sweetness.
Check out the pic of my breakfast here: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChPb-73umkG/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
This was the other tea from Westholme that my coworker brought back for us to try. She was a huge fan of this tea, but for me it made less of an impression that the white tea. I’d describe the taste as warming, woody, a little nutty and maybe just a smidge malty? However, overall I just felt like this was less flavourful than the white tea and a tiny bit flat/muted.
Continuing with the last chunk of vacation tasting notes.
One of the first tea centered activities we did after leaving Vancouver and heading to Victoria was going to tour Westholme, which is Canada’s first tea farm producing Camellia Sinensis. It’s been around for over a decade now, and I’ve actually been fortunate enough to try some of their tea before as well. However, I wanted to touch the leaves – and touch the leaves I did!
The tour itself didn’t take too long as the farm is fairly small, however the space is beautiful and it was really interesting talking to Victor (the tea producer) and Margit (the in house ceramicist) and learning how the farm had come to be and some of the trials and tribulations that had to be overcome in order to get the bushes producing. Canada is, after all, not the typical climate that Camellia Sinensis grows in.
In addition to plucking some of my own leaves from the bushes and seeing the previous day’s harvest in the process of withering, we also got to taste teas in our own yunomi cups that we were gifted as part of the experience. Victor started with White Mist, which is their white tea they produce, brewed it a very large French press style pot/carafe for our tour group to share. It had been produced just a few days prior to our visit.
The leaves were somewhat crude looking, without the polish you’d expect typically. However, the tea itself was just lovely. I definitely found our first infusion to be less traditional in its tasting notes – very nutty and toasty with a prominent note of milk chocolate that is pretty unlike other white teas I’ve ever had. Underneath those more forefront flavours was a bit of the vegetal, crisp notes I’d more likely expect from a white tea. The second infusion was still plenty flavourful, though significantly less chocolate tasting with more of an overt snap pea flavour to balance out the toasty rice-like flavours.
I did buy some of this tea to take home – crudeness aside, it’s just really interesting as a white tea and I’m excited to get to play around with it a little more with my own steeping parameters!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cs1MzSdx_Ka/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLRuporGK4Q
A coworker recently spent some months in BC and ended up visiting Westholme while she was out there – she brought back a couple of the teas for us to try, which was incredibly sweet and thoughtful of her. I’ve had Westholme’s Canadian grown tea before – but only in blends and never straight, so this was really interesting for me!
This white tea is very pretty looking with larger leaves and a beautiful spread of colours among the leaves. It tasted really good but also quite strange for a white tea – not the flavours I ever would have ever expected to taste from this leaf style. Very, very nutty with hints of darker honey and milk chocolate. I had to double take because I was sure that I was looking at the wrong leaf for what we’d brewed up.
If this tea weren’t so freaking expensive, I would totally buy more. It’s unique and tasty!