Any tea expert will tell you that when you open a package of tea you should get a signature wisp of fragrance, a puff of air enticing you to get some water into that kettle. Just as a perfume allures and attracts, a good quality tea should do the same. Until I did some research on Sloane Tea Company, I had never considered the similarities between tea and perfume. Now I know that their purpose is one in the same…to delicately and deliberately elevate our senses.
Hoda Paripoush is the founder and head tea sommelier of Sloane Tea Merchants, a Canadian tea company with a most fashionable take on tea. Earlier this year, I visited Grasse, a city in France considered to be the heart of the world’s perfume industry. Perched atop a hill in the southern part of the country, flowers and blossoms thrive in Grasse and are later used to make irresistible fragrances. At each of these perfumeries, there is a very influential person called the “Maître Nez” or the “Head Nose,” a creator who sets trends in fragrance for the world to follow. There are only a handful of “Noses” in the world, and Hoda Paripoush has consulted with one in creating her fragrant line of artisan teas. She has taken the principles for blending scents and applied them to blending teas…how genius is that!?
I purchased my first lovely tins of Sloane Tea at a store called Red Letter in Toronto. This chic little gift shop is located in the Yorkville shopping area of Toronto, not far from the Windsor Arms Tea Room. Red Letter is truly tea lover’s dream. They have many modern tea cups, pedestals, tea accessories, and of course, some fantastic Canadian teas including Sloane Teas.
Heavenly Cream is the most popular of the Sloane Tea Blends. Think of it as an elegant, full-bodied Earl Grey where strong and proper flavors meet with soft and creamy ones. It’s a good quality classic tea with a few extra notes of deliciousness added in to make it extra special. This is a fantastic tea for autumn or winter, and is perfect with a splash of milk.
BREWING TIPS: 4 minutes @ 212 degrees F. Keep all the bright bergamot and creamy vanilla notes at their peak by not overbrewing.
THE LEAF: Dark tea leaves with beautiful violet petals.
THE SCENT: A strong fragrance of citrusy bergamot, with only a faint essence of vanilla…but wait until you taste!
THE STEEP: Coppery amber.
Love the citrusy spark of lemon in your tea? Then Sloane’s Jasmine Pink Lemonade is the tea for you! The flavor of lemonade lingers at the finish of each sip of this tea. This would make a great iced tea, especially with some sugar and fresh lemon slices. If served warm, Jasmine Pink Lemonade tea pairs well with sweet fruit flavored desserts and breads.
BREWING TIPS: 3- 4 minutes @ 165 degrees F. This tea has a tendency to become bitter easily, because it has a strong layer of lemon flavor in it. If overbrewed, it will begin to taste like the white pith of a citrus fruit, so time carefully when brewing.
THE LEAF: Light green tea leaves with flecks of flower buds tossed in.
THE SCENT: Pronounced lemon essence with vibrant flowery accents.
THE STEEP: A light amber.
Jade Halo is a very special and rare tea, perfect for the green tea aficionado. This is one of the best green teas I have ever tried because of its subtle yet pure qualities. The tea is very light and delicately honey-like, reminding me of sweet peas and fresh shoots of grass. Green ring teas like this Jade Halo are also called “wedding teas” in China because they are commonly given as gifts to couples getting married…if you look at the shape of the leaves, you will realize why.
BREWING TIPS: 4 minutes @ 165 degrees F. You can get 2 or 3 steeps out of this tea, which is good news since it is so rare to find. I recommend brewing about 5 rings of tea leaves for every cup of water.
THE LEAF: These tea leaves are very unique. The delicate green leaves are twisted around bamboo rods to create tightly compacted rings that slowly unravel when steeped. It’s the neatest thing to see your tea leaves unwinding into little loose spirals!
THE SCENT: A light fragrance reminding me of sweet blossoms.
THE STEEP: A very light ivory liquor.
What sets the teas at Sloane Tea Company apart is that they have both artistic and aesthetic appeal. I’ve had cups and cups of their teas already and still can’t get over how beautiful their tea tins are. If I were an interior decorator I would design rooms around these tea tin patterns.
Sloane Teas aren’t widely available in store shelves around the US, but are available via mail order. If you are ever visiting in Canada, be sure to pick some up. These teas make really special gifts for anyone wanting to treat themselves to a classic yet enhanced tea drinking experience.
Sloane Fine Tea Merchants: