Afternoon tea during the Downton Abbey times

I watched the last episode of the acclaimed Downton Abbey show feeling nostalgic. I wished we could have had more and more! The six series were such a pleasure to watch! My favorite moments were, of course, afternoon teas, and the many receptions centered on tea.


An institution created by the British elite

Tea etiquette at the times had already been established well into the 1860s, in fact, afternoon tea is a veritable institution created by the ruling elites of the United Kingdom. An institution which has since lost its gravitas. The charm and lavishness of this tradition was, and still is, at the center of social events such as anniversaries, wedding receptions, and family receptions.

A way of displaying wealth, refinement, and social status

During the period of Downton Abbey, custom for occasions involving only few guests was to serve tea in the drawing room or boudoir. For larger events however, the ball room, great hall, or garden was preferred. Banquet tables were dressed in immaculate white, perfectly ironed cloths.

During afternoon tea, everything would stop; it was an important pause in the day, the time was not for business discussions, politics, and money matters, but rather for lighthearted chatter, friendly conversation, and perhaps the odd pieces of gossip.

Worthy ladies and gentlemen took it upon themselves to have a household properly furnished and equipped with all the necessary dishes, cutlery, serving wares and accessories required for tea. The more becoming dish sets were made of delicate porcelain, often adorned with intricate gold-leaf patterns, and the serving wares usually made of sterling silver, along with the delicate spoons, and sugar tongs. Much importance was placed on the make, and quality of the dishes and serving cloths, especially for those seeking recognition from the higher classes. It was a way of demonstrating one’s wealth and refinement, as well as social hierarchy. 
Special attention was given to table settings and ornaments, often chosen to please guests, or to create a theme of ambience for the occasion. The choice of accessories, decorations, and often of furniture, as wells as food had to reflect the style and refinement of the hosts and create an unforgettable event and project the grandeur of the estate. Servants were rigorously trained in preparing and serving tea, having to follow rigorous etiquette and rituals, the reputation of their employers being dependent on it.

Tango tea dances

Early in the 1900, dance and entertainment such as music and poetry recitals were often included in events. The arrival of Tango to London in 1910 revolutionised afternoon tea, creating the “Thés Dansant”. Rapidly adopted by the more eccentric, tea dances multiplied through to the chic residences and hotels. Professional tango dancers were hired to entertain the un-accompanied, all were expected to master the dance. Tango became an important influence, to the point purpose made dancing clothes became a symbol of status and elegance.

A bygone era

This era is long over, but has afternoon tea become in modern times? A simpler occasion.

The faster pace of modern life has led to the downfall of this ritual. Taking time for tea has become a privileged moment rather than a formal luxury. I like to believe we have brought tea back to its original virtue, without the needless show and opulence. Tea is a gift from Mother Nature, a product of hard labour from humble and courageous people. It doesn’t have to be accompanied by luxury and formality, to appreciate it requires only the simplicity of the moment, the quality of the leaves, the purity of the water, and some time to enjoy the taste!

Posted on April 24, 2017 and filed under About tea.

Find your nirvana while drinking green tea

tea nirvana

The science behind meditation, is it really beneficial for you?

Meditation is like brain fitness. It strengthens your thinking muscle! Its purpose is to train your brain to focus and relax, that's it.  The concept originates in ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Chinese traditions. Mindfulness is less about spirituality and more about concentration; it is the ability to quiet your mind, focus your attention on the present, and dismiss any distractions that come your way. All it really takes is the ability to intentionally not think about anything for a little while.

Only recently have we started to see studies that actually reflect the common wisdom. The University of Washington has recently published a study showing that meditation can increase productivity and help you focus, another study published in Brain Research Bulletin suggests meditation can reduce stress.  The University of Massachusetts Medical School also published a study on how meditation boost the overall brain power.  

What is in tea that helps you concentrate?

Thousands of years ago, Buddhist monks discovered that tea clarifies the mind and helps people feel happy.  But what explains that?  The ''magic molecule'' or theanine.  I'm not joking!  The theanine is a unique amino acid found only in tea (Camellia Sinensis).  Evidence from human electroencephalograph (EEG) studies show it modulates aspects of brain function; they found that theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness. These data indicate that theanine has a significant effect on the general state of mental alertness or sharpness. Furthermore, alpha activity is known to play an important role in critical aspects of attention, and further research is therefore focused on understanding the effect of theanine on attention processes.

Find your nirvana while drinking green tea

Theanine has also been found to induce the release of dopamine in the brain, which is primarily a neuro-chemical associated with feelings of pleasure and well-being.   The American Botanical Council has just recently released a new report claiming that theanine in green tea can enhance reward learning and decrease symptoms of depression. Reward learning is the conditioning response of positive behavior following a positive event. Positive reward learning is thought of as a way to counter depression.

Posted on April 13, 2017 and filed under Benefits of drinking tea.

What is Gong Fu Cha tea?

Gong Fu Tea Brewing became popular during China’s Ming Dynasty around the year 1500. The difference between the Western method and the Gong Fu Cha method is in the ratio of tea leaves to the quantity of water used, and the steeping duration of the tea. The Gong Fu Cha method involves using more leaves, but the infusion duration is shorter. This allows for multiple infusions.  It generally involves using a clay teapot called Yixing, or a ceramic or glass small vessel called Gaiwan.  This method of brewing requires practice and the term “Gong Fu style” literally means the art of brewing tea skilfully. Gong Fu Cha is great for Oolong teas, and Pu'erh teas, but can also works for other types of tea.  The following video describes the steps in brewing tea Gong Fu Cha style.

Posted on April 9, 2017 and filed under Tea how to.

Tea flight: a new trend

A tea flight, a sort of sampling plate as shown above, is a nice way to compare and appreciate the subtlety of fine teas of same type.  They can be from different gardens, country, or sometimes the same crop, but plucked at a different season.  The idea is to compare teas with similar characteristics to expand your palate.  Usually you will be offered three teas, but there is no absolute rule on this.  

This art of tasting tea is an opportunity to learn about the teas you taste.  The tea expert or Tea Sommelier who guides you through the tasting will introduce you to the history and origin of the specific flight you have chosen.  He will also teach you the proper method of preparation for these teas, and valuable tips on food pairing.  He may also share some information about health benefits linked to these teas!

The teas are generally served in small white porcelain cup of one or two ounces, or in a professional tea cupping set.  When done in the state of the art, the teas are brewed in front of you, and the infusion (steeped leaves) is introduced first.  Like in wine tastings, assess each tea on the nose first, and then on the palate.  Sometimes, you will receive a card to record your notes and findings.

This type of tasting is not only for connoisseurs, tea lovers of all levels can enjoy it!  It is a great opportunity to discover and enjoy a selection of different teas.

If you had a chance to experience a tea flight, we would love to hear about your experience!


Posted on March 15, 2017 and filed under About tea.

Tea hits five favorite beverage trends in North America

According to Technomic (a trustworthy survey consultant in the Food Industry) tea has ranked fourth of the five beverage trends in North America in 2015.   In 2017, tea is still on the rise worldwide.  In its first annual Tea Report, British tea company Tetley examines the out-of-home tea market.  Most notably, the report highlights a significant uplift in out-of-home tea consumption with a 2% growth over the 12-month period, when out-of-home coffee consumption dropped from 6.7% to 1.2%, according to the report.  

According to Packaged Facts (another leading source of market research on the consumer goods and services industries) the U.S. packaged tea market is a freight train that remains on the rails, climbing 5% in 2016.  Consumers are also turning to premium specialty tea brands, which are growing at a faster rate than mass market brands, according to the report.  It also shows a declines in commodity tea which do not signal the market is cooling. It is apparent that consumers are simply buying less tea in grocery stores and more tea online and at specialty retail outlets. 

An Agriculture Canada food-trends study is projecting that tea consumption will grow by 40 per cent by 2020. That trend is also confirmed by U.S. Tea Association seeing a dramatic rise in tea imports since 2010. 

Another very interesting 2017 Food and Drink Trends report by Mintel Group Ltd., describes consumer preferences for products that are “recognizable rather than revolutionary.”   The report shows consumers seeking comfort from modernized updates of age-old formulations, flavors, and formats. The tendency is to natural, simple, and flexible diets such as vegetarian, vegan, and other plant-focused formulations.  There are many interest in functional food and drink formulations. The increasingly hectic pace of modern life leads people to food and drink that helps them calm down before bedtime, sleep better, and restore the body while they rest.

Tea aligns perfectly with consumers' expectations.  It is associated with great history and ceremony. Its origins date back to Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, 2737 B.C., where it is reported that a leaf from a nearby tree blew into a pot of water he was boiling.  Tea is associated with comfort, slowing down the pace, and with tradition and ritual.  It is becoming a staple of the health-conscious as well with its antioxidants providing a healthy boost to the cardiovascular system and cancer prevention.   It is an ideal complement to today’s well-being movement.  Tea generally has a long and rich healing history in most cultures.  Tisanes (herbal blends) address a wide range of health concerns such as sleep problems, weight loss, and stress relief, to name only a few.

Branding consultant Bruce Philp stated that everyone can find a way to engage and introduce tea into their lives. “Tea is intimately social, it’s contemplative and the experience you have is enlightening. That’s rarefied air — I don’t think there are many other beverages that can compete.”

I strongly agree with him, and apparently I am not alone; just think about celebrities like Opra, Angelina Jolie and Simon Baker who endorse tea as their favorite hot beverage.   And what about you?  Are you in the 2017 tea trends?

Posted on February 1, 2017 and filed under About tea.

Maple Salmon paired with Tea Monde English Breakfast Blend

The malty and smoky notes of our English Breakfast blend make this tea the perfect complement to salmon dish. 

In this recipe, we used maple syrup which pair very well with the tea.

All together, this pairing has everything to please your palate!

English Breakfast and maple syrup salmon.jpg

Recipe: Maple Salmon, recipe by STARFLOWER in

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound salmon

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.  Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a  fork.  


My personal touch tho this recipe

Put the salmon in a warmed serving plate and deg-laze the cooking pan with 1/2 cup of hot English Breakfast tea.  Add one tablespoon of maple syrup and one teaspoon of soy sauce.   Let boil for a few minutes, until it has thicken a little.  Pour over the salmon and serve with a cup of Tea Monde English Breakfast House Blend.

Bon Appétit!


English Breakfast - House Signature Blend
from 8.05

A blend of premiums black teas from India, Ceylon and China.  Brisk and energizing but still smooth, this blend will gives you a satisfying cup with a right dose of malty taste and a surprising subtle smokiness.


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Posted on January 24, 2017 and filed under Tea and food pairing, Recipes.

Anti-aging Matcha Smoothie

Smoothies are great to load up on fruits and vegetables.  When adding matcha green tea to them they become super food with added powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Try this delicious anti-aging smoothie!

Anti-aging Matcha Smoothie

1 cup frozen mixed organic berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 cup organic cashew milk

1/4 cup organic liquid egg whites (or 1 egg white)

1 tsp flax-seed oil

1/2 tsp Matcha Chef's green tea

Put all ingredients in a food processor.  Set to ice crush and blend until liquefied.


Posted on January 17, 2017 and filed under Recipes.

Matcha Soooo Good!

Matcha Soooo Good

I am so excited about that new Matcha recipe I just created!  It is addictive believe me!


3/4 cup  cashew milk

1/2 orange, zest and juice

2 dark chocolate squares (about 20g) 70% or more

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp Matcha Chef's Choice


Heat the cashew milk up to boiling point.

In the blender pour:

     Orange juice and zest

     Chocolate pieces

     Maple syrup

     Matcha Chef's Choice

     Hot cashew milk

Blend until chocolate has melted completely.


Matcha Kogashima

Matcha Kogashima is a great choice of high quality every day matcha, as well as ingredient to add to your recipes that call for tea. Its smooth taste and silky texture will delight you, and they will blend perfectly with the other ingredients in your favorite dishes, adding a touch of colour, flavour, antioxidants, and vitamins.

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Posted on March 22, 2016 and filed under Recipes.

The truth about Teatox


The word “teatox” is inspired from well-known naturopathic detox cure which imply the elimination of certain food and life style habits such as refined sugar, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco for a period of time that can vary from ten days to three weeks.  The purpose of it being energy improvement and immune system enhancement. When adding tea and herbal blends to support a detox cure, the benefits are widely increased.  A detox cure is not a weight loss diet

Many people wrongfully link weight loss and detox program.  Even if losing weight often come along with it, a detox cure is a system cleansing method to get rid of toxins, to rejuvenate and re-energize the body.  Don’t get mistaken by shameless marketing techniques.  Before spending your money on miracle promising, expensive products, take the time to research serious and valid information, and to educate yourself on the topic.  Then, determine what you want to achieve, fix your goals and make the right choice to suit your objectives.  

What tea to choose and why?

The American Botanical Council has published a study result that has proven that drinking four cups of green tea daily coupled with three times per week resistance training, promote changes in body composition, weight loss, the maintenance of lean body mass, loss of body fat, decreased waist circumference, and lowered body fat percentage.  That phenomenon was explained by a study conducted by scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who have found that catechins combined with the caffeine contained in green tea can increase energy expenditure by 4 to 5 percent and fat oxidation by 10 to 16 percent.

Another study from the American Botanical Council has proved that polyphenols contained in green tea and hibiscus tea help to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  The study recommend to drink three to four cups of green or hibiscus tea per day to help with high blood pressure control.

Pu’erh tea gain to be known.  Like other fermented food such as miso, yogurt and kefir, this fermented tea contain a surprising beneficial bacteria.  The lactobasillus gasseri is a type of probiotic that improves liver functions and helps to metabolism and to eliminate fat and to balance intestines’ flora.  This bacteria is also known to lower bad cholesterol, to reduce inflammation, to enhance immune functions, to ease asthma, allergies, diarrhea, and menstrual pain, and to promote weight loss by reducing belly fat.

In 2003, Chinese researchers have found in Pu’erh tea traces of lovastatin, a biochemical treasure that helps keeping our cholesterol level down.
However, Pu’erh tea has become well known for its ability to inhibit an enzyme complex called fatty acid synthase (FAS) which is linked not only to obesity but also to cancer.  This suggest that regular consumption of Pu’erh tea can help prevent cancer and help with weight control, especially when used in conjunction with a low glycemic-index diet and a regular exercise program.

Pu’erh tea also contain gaba which is recognized to act as relaxant and mood disorders stabilizer.  Gaba is believed to have a number of other effects, including regulation of vascular functions and modulation of renal functions.

The father of medicine Hippocrates said

–‘’Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’’-

Herbal teas can do much more than quench your thirst.  They are drug less alternative to increase natural energy and to provide effective defenses against disease.  They are natural solution for people who want to get protective health benefits in their daily diet without taking handfuls of supplements and pills for minor discomforts and ills.

You can have complete and powerful blends such as Tea Monde’s White Ginseng Detox to improve your mood, energy and immune system, or our 10 day teatox program.  But you can also choose a functional wellness blend that works especially to improve one aspect of your system dysfunction.  Each person has different needs and there are multitude of choices.

Keep in mind that you should always consult a physician or other qualified health professional regarding treatment of any health problem, and that nothing you read in that blog post or any other web or book publication take the place of medical advice from trained medical professional.  It is advised to consult your pharmacist about drinking tea and herbal blends to ensure there are no interaction with your medication.

To learn more about our 10 days teatox program, whatch this video:

Posted on March 8, 2016 and filed under Benefits of drinking tea.

Fight the cold and flu before they knock you down

This morning I woke up with an itchy throat and a kind of runny nose. I don’t want to be sick; so I whipped up my secret weapon to fight whatever is going on in my system:   my Power Booster Green Tea Special Flu and Cold Fighter.

Right after I had a first cup, I felt a change.  My sinuses unblocked and my throat stopped itching. I’ll keep drinking this special potion for the next three or four days and I’m sure no virus is going to survive.

If you would like to try it, here is the recipe:

4 tsp       Power Booster green ginger powdered tea, certified organic
1                 Lemon freshly pressed juice
1 tbsp     Fresh ginger root grated
1 tbsp     Honey
750 ml   Filtered hot water (85°C)

In a Filter-In Hario Tea bottle, or any teapot, pour together the lemon, ginger and honey.   Cover with hot water and let dissolve.
Add powdered tea, and pour the rest of the water.
Mix well and serve.
This drink is good hot, cool or cold. You can keep it at room temperature once it has cooled down, or put it in the refrigerator.

If you ever try it, I’d like to get comment.

Posted on October 31, 2015 and filed under Benefits of drinking tea, Recipes, Tea how to.

Green tea helps keep the flu away

Green tea helps keep flu away

A recent medical study indicates that simply drinking a cup of green tea daily could prevent influenza infection, especially for school-aged children.  Japanese researchers studied 2,663 students aged 6 to 13 who drink tea daily and found 40 percent were less likely to get the flu.  Those who drank up to five cups a day were the least likely to become ill. Even just one cup of green tea per day also had significantly fewer absences due to flu.  Researchers concluded that regular consumption of green tea is protective against influenza infections.

Other researchers at the Yonsei University’s Department of Biotechnology at the College of LifeScience and Biotechnology in Seoul, South Korea, tested green tea solutions in variousconcentrations and discovered tea killed the influenza virus on skin.  All concentrations were effective against the flu virus, including the one with the lowestconcentration. Skin was exposed to one green tea bag per 120 ml of hot water low concentration and two to three bags per 120 ml to test higher concentrations. Even weak green tea solutionsproved effective. Researchers concluded that using a green tea solution as a hand disinfectant, gargling with tea and drinking tea could be a useful way to prevent transmission of the flu virus.

Source: World Tea News and Research published in the October edition of the Journal of Nutrition, and study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry of Japan Science and Technology Agency
Posted on October 16, 2015 and filed under Benefits of drinking tea.

Green Tea’s EGCG to prevent Alzheimer disease


I cannot avoid thinking ”if my Dad had drunk green tea…”

EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate) one of the main ingredients in green tea, has shown to increase production of neural progenitor cells.  Animal studies testing mice’s ability to run a maze, showing that an active ingredient in green tea boosts production of neural progenitor cells aiding long and short-term memory.

Researchers at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing China, report EGCG helped mice with object recognition and spatial memory, as well as enhanced learning. This property of green tea may also help humans fight the onset of degenerative diseases and memory loss.

My father died from Alzheimer disease in January 2012. My father-in-law is presently hospitalized with Alzheimer, and my mother is also affected by it. Health authorities don’t talk about worldwide epidemic. Without being alarmist, I sincerely believe that there is one.
How many of you know someone affected by this disease? Have you ever thought that you could be affected by Alzheimer by the end of your life?

And if the simple action of drinking two to four cups of green tea per day could help you to prevent from losing your brain functions?  Would you take or keep the habit of drinking green tea?

I value your opinion, please share your thoughts…

Hojicha Japanese green tea and Sundried tomatoes cheesecrakers


This month’s pairing is Hojicha Japanese roasted green tea with one of our delicious Canadian Cheeses.

Finely cut dried tomatoes and sizzled basil, mixtogether. Take aplain unsalted cracker put a thin piece of St-Honoré triple cream cheese and top with the tomato mixture.   Serve with Hojicha Japanese green tea. A surprising delicious pairing! The nutty and roasted taste of the tea brings out the roasted flavour from the tomatoes; the cheese smooths the basil and the acidity from the tomato and balances everything perfectly.


You can buy an excellent high grade hand crafted Hojicha from Shizuoka Tea Garden on our website.  For those who prefer the quick solution, you can buy a powdered Hojicha very convenient and good for baking.

If you try it, please share your appreciation with us…

Posted on August 30, 2015 and filed under Recipes, Tea and food pairing.

Highlight on Japanese green tea


To link with my earlier post, I’d like to highlight Japanese teas. In Japan tea consuming is more than just an everyday thing, it is a life style and a spiritual ideal known as ‘’Cha Do’’ (The Way of Tea). Through their challenging and sophisticated culture, they created a ceremony ritual that considers tea as a unique product and its consumption is an Art in itself.

Brief historic of Japanese tea industry:
For a long time the Japanese tea industry was focusing on exportation and the international demand. Japan has export black tea until the 70s. Since then, the tea market has changed, and today most of Japanese rare black tea production remains for national consumption and less than 1% of the total production is to exportation.  Japan is now 7th world wide green tea producer, and its industry is still growing. A large part of its success is due to many tea base by-products such as toothpaste, pharmaceutical products, pasta, ice tea, polyphenol extract and more…

It is hard to find English information on Japan economical data. The following statistics are from 2007 and are from Tea Board of Japan.

Total area cultivated: 48,000 hectares
Total annual production: 92,000 ton (green tea only)
Annual exportation: 1,600 ton
Main purchasing country: United States

Tea Monde offers high-grade Japanese green teas, hand-crafted in small or micro batches from small family tea Estates. You can shop our Japanese teas here.

Posted on August 30, 2015 and filed under About tea.

Tea and food pairing is as easy as 1, 2, 3


Pairing tea and food is easier that you think.  My best advice is to trust your palate.
Two common questions are:

1. Where should I start?
2. How do I proceed?

My answer is:  Keep it as simple as 1, 2, 3!


  1. Taste the tea and find the primary note that stands out on your palate
  2. Find a matching note in the food you want to pair the tea with
  3. Taste both together and focus on what is happening on your palate

Sometimes it’s going to work out well at the first attempt or you may have to try other experiments until the perfect pairing is created.

Once you have acquired some experience and your skill has developedstart experimenting with notes that are more complimentary enhancing to each other.  For example, try spicy food with Jasmine green tea, or goat cheese with Chinese green tea, or Chorizo sausage and smoked black tea…

There are infinite combinations to try.  It is fun to develop your palate.

Posted on August 30, 2015 and filed under Tea how to, Tea and food pairing.

Tea may help raising your RHI


The tannins found in green tea induces the release of dopamine in the brain, which is primarily neuro-chemical associated with feelings of pleasure and well-being. (Source: Daniel Reid ”the Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea”)

According to this statement, should we believe that people who drink green tea regularly can improve their capacity to be happy? If so, we should add this moment to our day, by putting green tea on the top our list of RHI (relative happiness index).

Posted on August 30, 2015 and filed under Benefits of drinking tea.

Tea along the day


In the morning:
If you are one of those who needs a lively wake up along with a little boost, black teas will help starting up your day:

China, Kenya, India (especially from Assam), the morning blends (breakfast tea), Earl Grey.
These teas pair well with protein and sweet rich breakfast such as: egg, bacon, toast and jam.
If you prefer a smooth and quiet wake up, green teas are more appropriate:

Chinese (more robust and mellow), Japanese (slightly acid and brisk, especially Matcha).
These teas pair well with milky and fruity breakfast such as: cereal, fresh fruit, berries muffins.

Break time:
Blended and scented teas, fruity or flowery, are always good choices for a gourmet break along with tea cookies, Madeleines, short bread. This can be perfectly convenientfor the office.

At home, alone or with friends, to savour a quiet and peaceful moment, while you are taking your time, to go along with meditation or simply to enjoy yourself:

Gong fu Cha with oolong (wulong) or Pu’erh

After meal:
Prefer low tannin teas, especially after heavy protein and fatty meal.

Oolong (wulong) lightly oxidized, Hojicha (Japanese roasted green tea, low in tannin with a roasted nutty taste, smooth, but well structured. Perfect following up a light meal), Jasmine green tea, Pu’erh.

The last tow are recognized for their digestive properties. Pu’erh can be drink along, or after meal.

Posted on August 30, 2015 and filed under Tea how to.