Friday, February 15, 2013

Victoria Tea Festival Review: Old Faces Jagasilk & Chado Tea House

It was nice catching up with old tea exhibitors at the Victoria Tea Festival this year. One did not get a chance to chat with Peter & Fumi of Chado Tea House. This was due to the long lines at their booth were they were selling selling strait shooting Japanese Teas for uninflated Japanese tea prices. One did however get a chance to chat with anther long time Japanese tea exhibitor at the Victoria Tea Festival, Jared & Miyuki of Jagasilk.

Local favorite Jagasilk was the only exhibitor to have exhibited at every Victoria Tea Festival. Although they are an old face, they have their hands in many new innovative matcha related projects. They have developed a Hemp and Matcha Protein Powder teaming up with Canadian Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek who is now attempting a world record by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, a feet never completed by man. No doubt he has lots of this Matcha Protein Powder to keep him going! Jagasilk also has been working with The Edge Food Energy at developing matcha power bars which were also sampled at the festival.

The biggest change at Jagasilk is that they dropped their Organic matcha line from Harimaen Estate (see Crane Flies Over the Clouds, Nirvana, and Butterfly). One can only speculate that this was a business decision because that line of matcha was quite good and very popular here in Victoria. With a small no fuss announcement last spring on the Jagasilk blog, they launched their new line of single cultivar matcha. They now receive their matcha from tea farmer Mr. Fujioka of Wazuka, located in the traditional Uji growing region of Japan. Jagasilk claims that they are the first wholesale distributor of Mr. Fujioka's matcha.

Jagasilk has cleverly named the three matcha they now carry in their typical Westcoast fashion- Eagle, Raven, and Owl - all local wildlife that has special spiritual significance to the first nation peoples here on the West coast. One sampled Eagle and Raven at the festival. They were all whisked up in a traditional bowl then poured into Jagasilk's signature mini mason jar teacups- drawing influence off another popular Westcoast trend. The matcha was interesting, no doubt good matcha that seemed maybe a bit more vegetel, grassy, and maybe more heavy, but didn't seem to be filled with as much of the interesting high notes that gave their old line from Harimaen its character.

Hope to spend some time to get to know these teas in the near future and give them another chance with more controlled perimeters here at home. Either way it was nice to catch up with old faces at the Victoria Tea Festival.

Also see this review of Greg Demmons' Meditative Korean tea ceremony at this years Victoria Tea Festival if you missed it.



JagaSilk said...

Thanks for swinging by, man. As always, the Festival was quite the flurry of movement. A correction to your post: we have not discontinued our relationship with Harimaen estate. We have started to do more curating of teas and bringing in tea from various micro-regions, rather than only working with one estate and one estate alone. To date, Harimaen is still the best organic maccha we have found. Mr. Fujioka crafts the most complex maccha we have ever found (the fact that his is a one man show from seed to milling is pretty incredible). And I love the concept of single cultivar. The opportunity to taste something unblended can seem less familiar but it is a fantastic education for the palette (speaking from a personal level; I am not saying you are unfamiliar with single cultivar maccha). I encourage you to swing by the bar and have it from the maccha jawan (tastes so much better taht way!). We will be exploring more and more regions over the years at JagaSilk. Pedro over at 05 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver is doing a mind blowing single cultivar selection from Yame you should totally check out! Peace.

Matt said...


Hahaha... yeah you totally hit the nail on the head. Have no experience with single cultivar matcha! The matcha seemed simple and not as deep as previous experience with matcha (including the Harimaen organic line).

It is interesting the movement for more single cultivar matcha in Japan. This whole thing happened with puerh tea over the last 10 years but now there seems to be a movement back toward blended cakes.

Have already tried some of Pedro's single cultivar from Yame. Love that region in Japan- think Pedro just gave in to all ones constant babbling about how great Yame tea is... Hahahah

Would love to come in for a much needed education!

See you soon guys,