ABOUT US

CREATING THE PERFECT CUP OF TEA

this is our story

History

From Hotels to You
For two decades, Tealeaves has been recognized as the leading luxury tea blender of choice for five-star properties and Michelin chefs worldwide.

Craftsmanship

Procurement
Tealeaves uses the top 3 grades of tea. We search for the finest teas, flowers and herbs, bring them to Vancouver and meticulously cup out each ingredient, carefully selecting each element of the blend.
HAND BLENDING AND PACKAGING
Whether from a single-estate or a combination, we carefully source to curate blends that are the very best expression of terroir. Through meticulous cupping, we search for the ultimate palate and nuanced complexity.
CHADO
One of the most beautiful aspects of the world of tea is found within Chado - the Japanese Way of Tea. It exhibits the high art and technique of (o)temae, the performance, enshrining the influence of Zen Buddhism and tea appreciation

Innovation

RUDD RARE WHITE TEA
This innovative tea involves scenting white tea in an oak wine barrel. Enchanted by wine culture and by the similarities between that and tea culture, we are pushing the boundaries and exploring grounds never attempted before.
Royal Crown Derby
There are currently no teapots in the market that accomplish the tea-lover’s ultimate dream: to have a teapot that can deliver the perfect tea in strength, heat and taste in an individual 2-cup size, while simultaneously offering a striking visual appeal.
MAKING THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY
Our philosophy of continuous innovation has brought us fame for turning ordinary, classic teas into extraordinary blends. Organic English Breakfast, BC Forestea, Darjeeling Oolong, the “T” Blend and our Iced Teas are all examples of innovative blending.

Wellness

RIGOROUS QUALITY CONTROL PROCESSES
Tealeaves’ tea selection undergoes a meticulous tasting and procurement process.Tealeaves runs independent third-party lot testing on every single lot purchased from, adhering to extremely high standards, including strict testing for herbicides and pesticides. By following Japanese and EU standards in European or US certified labs for all of our testing processes, we meet international standards.
DECAFFEINATION METHOD
Our decaffeination method ensures that no chemicals are used in the process, leaving a flavorful (chemical-free) and pure tea taste.

Culinary

CUSTOM BLEND PROCESS
Custom-blending is a very time intensive program and necessitates a significant investment of time from our blenders, procurement specialists and tea sommeliers. Getting a blend right is important: to enshrine the client's culinary inspiration + ideas and explicate them into a complex flavour profile.

DAN OLSON

Owner & Chef at Railtown Cafe

Tealeaves ICONS
ICONS is a collective of culinary innovators, artists and visionaries. Although each person's expression is unique, they are united in creativity and the profound passion for what they do. Inspired by their philosophy of craftmanship, they have been our muses for many of our blends.
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From Hotels to You


For two decades, Tealeaves has been recognized as the leading luxury tea blender of choice for five-star properties and Michelin chefs worldwide.

Tealeaves embodies our freedom to choose the very best for ourselves.

We owe our start to notable culinary leaders like Ruy Paes-Braga of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Walking into our first tea room in Vancouver in 1995, he was intrigued by our innovations in blends and passion for creating high-quality versions of old classics. Under his mentorship, Tealeaves propelled itself to the highest level by learning service in the five-star hotel world: understanding the importance of detail-orientation, constant innovation and shaping trends from an industry leader in service.

PROCUREMENT

How to select the best tea

Tealeaves uses the top 3 grades of tea. We search for the finest teas, flowers and herbs, bring them to Vancouver and meticulously cup out each ingredient, carefully selecting each element of the blend. The best harvests are sent to us as samples.

Due to the variability in the environment, we choose our teas from over 90 countries in the world and select only the best tasting and highest quality teas. Our long-standing reputation as the best blender allows us to have access to the best secret gardens around the world.

With an extremely formal tasting process, our master blenders deeply understand how the raw ingredients that go into a blend impact the flavor experience.

HAND BLENDING AND PACKAGING


Whether from a single-estate or a combination, we carefully source to curate blends that are the very best expression of terroir. Through meticulous cupping, we search for the ultimate palate and nuanced complexity.

The quality of a leaf is highly affected by factors like climate, harvest timing and growing technique. Even a single lot from a single harvest can provide a lot of variability; identifying the cupping character of each raw ingredient is a key step in the artful combination. In blending, the job is not to maintain consistency over harvests.

A master blender has a deep understanding of how each ingredient influences the blend and adjusts each recipe, with taste as the final goal. This dynamic approach ensures that we consistently build the highest quality of tea. Within each varietal, there are characteristic notes that affect the resulting creation. We search for meaning in the blend; what is the ultimate palate? When our blenders look at quality, they are searching for nuanced complexity.

CHADO

Chado is our muse.

We are guided by the four principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony coded almost four hundred years ago: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. Chado is based upon the simple act of boiling water, making tea, offering it to others and drinking it ourselves. Served with a respectful heart and received with gratitude, a bowl of tea satisfies both physical and spiritual thirst. Incorporating them into daily life helps one to find that unassailable place of tranquility that is within each of us.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the world of tea is found within Chado - the Japanese Way of Tea. It exhibits the high art and technique of (o)temae, the performance, enshrining the influence of Zen Buddhism and tea appreciation.




The Principles of Chado

Chado incorporates an array of sensibilities: social etiquette, Asian artistic traditions and philosophy, attention to the seasons, and the essence of Zen Buddhism. This construct allows one to achieve the four principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

The emotion derived from Chado is conceptual: your focus naturally flows into the present, where the uniqueness of each moment can be savoured. The host focuses entirely on serving a cup of tea; the guest, entirely on receiving tea with gratitude. In doing so, the host and guest foster a true sense of tranquility.




Chado—The Way of Tea

Chado is based upon the simple act of boiling water, making tea, offering it to others, and drinking of it ourselves. Served with a respectful heart and received with gratitude, a bowl of tea satisfies both physical and spiritual thirst.

Form is everything in tea; but form is not valued simply as an end in itself. To the outside observer, the movements of the participants engaged in Tea activity look deceptively like an elaborate and arbitrary system of etiquette. Through the form one enters into a deeper understanding, which is not available by any intellectual process of verbal explanation.

The frenzied world and our myriad dilemmas leave our bodies and minds exhausted. It is then that we seek out a place where we can have a moment of peace and tranquility. In the discipline of Chado such a place can be found.

Learning Chado begins with a step-by-step process in which the body acquires the ability act in the tea environment without superfluous mental calculation, and as in any sport, dance or musical discipline, this means that it is learned by the body through repetition.




THE DOCTRINE OF SEN RIKYU
By Soshitsu Sen, Urasenke Grand Tea Master XV

Tea is nothing other than this: heat the water, prepare the tea, and drink it with propriety.
That is all you need to know.
Make a delicious bowl of tea; arrange the charcoal to heat the water;
arrange the flowers the way they are in the fields;
in summer suggest coolness, in the winter warmth;
anticipate everything; be ready for rain;
show the greatest possible consideration toward your guests.




PURITY HARMONY RESPECT & TRANQUILITY
By Keith Snyder of the Urasenke Foundation of Vancouver

The Way of Tea (Chado) developed in Japan out of a fusion of many elements: Zen, Chinese and Japanese aesthetics, Bushido (the Way of the Warrior), and the early of the beverage in temple and manor. The practice of tea is also known as Chanoyu.

Tea came to Japan in the 12th century by way of travelling Japanese monks. At first it was considered a medicine since it had the wonderful property of increasing the mental alertness of the imbiber. While it was used in temples as an offering and as a way for monks to remain alert during long periods of meditation, it was also served by the wealthy at large gatherings at which fine art works from the continent were displayed. In time, the tea utensils themselves came to be appreciated as objets d'art and tea was prepared before the guests according to prescribed rules.

By the 16th century, three dominating influences can be discerned: the Zen tradition of Ikkyu, the aesthetics of the so-called Higashiyama culture centred around the Ashikaga Shogunate, and the interest in tea of the merchant class. It can be said that these three elements came together in the tea of Sen Rikyu, who is regarded as the father of Chado as we know it today. To the outside observer, the movements of the participants engaged in tea activity look deceptively like an elaborate and arbitrary system of etiquette.

Form is everything in tea, but form is not valued simply as an end in itself. Through the form one enters into a deeper understanding, which is not available by any intellectual process or verbal explanation. Learning Chado begins with a step-by-step process in which the body acquires the ability to act in the tea environment without superfluous mental calculation, and as in any sport, dance, or discipline, this means that it is learned by the body through repetition. Though there are various levels of practice, increasing in complexity as the student advances, it is the elementary procedure first learned that is the most important, for it is with this basic procedure (hira-demae) that one makes and offers tea to others outside of the tea lesson. Not a ritual, not a ceremony, this is a pure act of the heart.

MAKING THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY

Tealeaves is an innovator in blending.

Our philosophy of continuous innovation has brought us fame for turning ordinary, classic teas into extraordinary blends. Organic English Breakfast, BC Forestea, Organic Long Life Green, the “T” Blend and our Iced Teas are all examples of innovative blending.




BC FORESTEA

First blended for the Canadian chefs competing in Bocuse D’Or, this tea pays homage to the historical classic, Lapsang Souchong: the first internationally traded black tea.

Early in the blending endeavours, Tealeaves questioned what made certain teas classics. To bring this classic tea to an extraordinary level, BC Forestea came to fruition through the harmony of high-grade Chinese teas like Yunnan, with inherent soft smoky notes and woods from our origin, the forests of British Columbia. This connoisseur’s tea born of an appreciation for a smoky palate is prized by leading chefs of the world for infusing dishes with full, smooth peat-smoke and earthy character.

The Master Blender personally supervises the slow, small batch hand-smoking process. Supplemented with cherry wood and oak broken down from whiskey casks, alder wood is the dominant note. This blend, along with the Pu-Erh is one of the rare, collectible teas that can age, with careful control of humidity and temperature.




Darjeeling Oolong

Darjeeling Oolong is a complex blend that harmonizes two distinctive, connoisseur grade teas with an innovative approach.

The innovation is involved in the inherent difficulty of attaining an optimal balance in the palate from two completely distinct connoisseur grade teas from widely different countries and traditions. Without overwhelming the established and discerning traditional palate, this blend aims to appeal to the aromatic experience sought by both the Oolong and the Darjeeling connoisseur.

Oolong, often the tea choice for seasoned experts, has orchid-like notes and particularly appeals to those who have a fondness for wines in the Bordeaux style. This semi-fermented tea is distinctly different than Darjeeling, known for its muscatel, wine-like character, which is the pre-eminent tea for black tea connoisseurs.

Setting out to marry these two distinct teas, the created blend would be successful only if the resulting infusion was significantly superior to consuming the teas separately. Attaining balance, particularly difficult due to the differences in relative densities, was possible only after multiple repeated trials and intricate calculations. The result yielded a fuller, smoother blend that has more nuanced, brighter notes.




“T” BLEND

Our signature connoisseur blend combines the best tea characteristics from every corner of the world: Ceylon, Darjeeling, Jasmine and Oolong. Aiming to create an experience for the palate through the marriage of distinct flavours, the blending philosophy inherent in this blend addresses Tealeaves’ understanding of the palate.

In the morning, when the Master Blenders’ palate is freshest, each chest of tea is carefully cupped and scrutinized. Carrying the memory of each sip, our blenders integrate the key notes of each tea ingredient so as to achieve the perfect balance.

The innovative skill lies in the proper integration of flavour and balancing deficiencies in one chest by masking or subsuming it with a flavour profile that has the desired positive attributes. Ultimately, all notes must be in harmony.

Royal Crown Derby

The Ultimate Teapot

There are currently no teapots in the market that accomplish the tea-lover’s ultimate dream: to have a teapot that can deliver the perfect tea in strength, heat and taste in an individual 2-cup size, while simultaneously offering a striking visual appeal.

Teapots in the market are not built for loose tea. There is trouble with green and black teas especially because of their specific infusion time, after which they become overly tannic and bitter.




The Creation of the Ultimate Teapot

Tealeaves, the leading luxury blender of Michelin-star chefs and Royal Crown Derby have joined forces to design the ultimate teapot made to serve the perfect cup of tea.

This teapot is the infusion of artisanal brewing knowledge of Tealeaves and the history and craftsmanship of Royal Crown Derby bone china to yield accessible luxury—modern and classical design that can translate into the perfect tea experience.

RUDD RARE WHITE TEA


At Tealeaves, we make teas and botanicals of the highest quality. We are inspired by art and beauty, guided by ancient technique and infuse this with modernity, embracing innovation and curiosity of greatness.


The world of wine is very interesting to us due to the shared importance of the terroir and the complexity of notes that the connoisseur looks for. We were gifted with a French oak barrel by the incredibly esteemed Rudd Winery for experimentation by our Master Blender. Receiving this unparalleled aged wine barrel, we challenged ourselves with the creation of a blend that has never been attempted before.

To pair with the wine derived from the gently harvested grapes grown in the prestigious terroir of Napa Valley, we selected our delicate white tea, grown and hand-harvested in the smallest lots in the secret tea gardens of China and scented in Imperial Tradition using golden jasmine blossoms.

Aging the white tea in the French oak barrel for 4 weeks, we created a blend that starts with the scent of jasmine and finishes with cabernet grape.

DECAFFEINATION METHOD

Infusing well-being with science

Decaffeination can be accomplished in a couple of ways. The first, which is quick, easy and therefore generally cheap, is to add liquid chemicals (ethyl acetate or methylene chloride) into a solvent (tea or coffee) and allow the chemical molecules to bind to and dissolved the caffeine. This process presents concerns as to the purity of your tea, as the un-dissolved chemicals are left behind for sipping.

With the Tealeaves decaffeination process, however, you can rest easy. We invest to keep your tea pure, using only clean, safe, carbon dioxide CO₂ fluid processing, known as Supercritical CO₂ processing. At high pressure and temperatures, the CO₂ is in a supercritical state and acts as both a liquid and gas. The liquid becomes water-soluble and its non-polar molecules bind to, and dissolve the caffeine. In turn, our delicious flavor molecules and desirable oils are too large in size for the CO₂ to dissolve and are left unaffected.

Sounds complicated? We know it is. The method is costly and time-consuming, but it’s the only way we decaffeinate our teas.

As a luxury tea company of the highest standards, we refuse to cut corners.

CUSTOM BLEND PROCESS

The Conception of Artisan Blending

The underlying philosophy behind TEALEAVES is simple: to meticulously and deliberately blend teas of exquisite character and refined complexity. Reflective of modernity, the days of tea companies blending teas is exceedingly rare. Blending is a lost art and there are only a few tea purveyors that hold fast to such techniques.

Our blend process aims to:


1 Accentuate the most desirable perfume notes

2 Amplify and bolster the underlying character

3 Render mute notes that are sharp or dull

4 Produce, through careful matching of ingredients, distinctive layers of flavour (which is how we define a liquid as being 'complex' versus 'simple')

5 Build structure for the palate by having appropriately bold flavour, yet not succumbing to the temptation of letting singular flavours overwhelm the tea




Lemon Verbena Blend

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, (one of the world’s most celebrated chefs), wanted to capture the flavor of fresh lemon verbena in a dried version, that tasted as if it was fresh. What made this challenge exceedingly difficult was the presence of specific volatile flavour oils in fresh verbena which are greatly reduced upon drying. Reaching out to Tealeaves with this difficult task, the challenge was to find ingredients that, in combination, could replicate the unique profile of fresh verbena.

After hundreds of trials that spanned over half a year, Tealeaves was able to replicate the light and sweet aroma by artfully blending lemongrass, lemon balm and lemon verbena.