Fresh Charisma

Lemon Verbena by Ayala Moriel
Lemon Verbena, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
After a long retirement, my teas are finally being gradually re-stocked. It's been a long journey - and I'm still walking the last few steps of it - getting all my ducks in a row so to speak. Tea blending is a whole other world, and its similarities to perfume development are also the culprit of this endeavor. Tea requires TIME. Time to source, evaluate, steep, re-steep, take notes, blend, make errors, re-blend, steep, re-steep, re-steep again... You get my drift.

As for Charisma tea, the formula or recipe was developed long time ago. In fact, it was the first tea I've designed by myself. The challenge now was acquiring lemon verbena. I'm a bit sentimental, but I am incredibly partial to the lemon verbena that grows in my home village of Clil. I've told you about it and how much I enjoyed the fresh leaves this summer. Whenever possible, I prefer to source from small grower and harvesters, or harvest myself. Verbena only grows in the summer, and is dried late summer and early fall. Which means that once the supplies run out, you'll have to wait another full year to enjoy it again.

This is true to most if not all tea types. Some are harvested only once a year (such as the white teas), and therefore once they're sold out, it requires taking the product off the shelves for a while. This is perfectly fine by me, and part of the beauty of nature's cycles. However, it did take me a bit of time to learn these cycles - and I still am learning. Which means that my teas are not available year-around, but only while quantities last and until the next harvest is ready.

The other ingredients in Charisma also had to be top quality: fragrant jasmine sambac tea, organic spearming, and the most luscious, apricot-y and velvety osmanthus blossoms available.

I love the new packaging for my teas, and each tin holds different weight of each tea (but the volume is, roughly 2oz). Some leaves are larger and looser than others (i.e.: the silver needle that makes most of Zangvil tea), and some are more dense (i.e.: Immortelle l'Amour, which is based on rooibos tea, is like tiny packed red twigs).

I'll be releasing more teas as the winter holidays approach and the packaging is ready for my full collection to be re-instated: Charisma, Immortelle l'Amour, Roses et Chocolate and Zangvil.

And next year, prepare to enjoy some more innovative teas, some featuring wild-harvested botanical from the Pacific Northwest rainforests!


Montserrat Orange is a strange shade of orange: depending on the light and context, it can appear rosy, like the pink glow of dawn, or turn into a pale, warm apricot in sunset.

Likewise, the fragrance Bruno Fazzolari named Monserrat walks the fine line between dewy violet and green tea, and dusky leather and dusty old books.

Monserrat begins on a very bright, airy notes of green tea, iso-E super and violet leaves. Slowly but surely, a raspy yet aloof voice of wet leather and whitewashed walls sneaks in, and Monserrat becomes more musky and melancholy than fresh.

Top notes: Pink Grapefruit, Carrot Seed, Apricot
Heart notes: Violet Leaves, Jasmine, Green Tea
Base notes: White Musk

Far East Candle

Far East Candle, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

This week clearly has the mark of tea - beginning with the High-Tea on Sunday and continuing on to today, where I am lighting Gabriel's Aunt new Far East Candle, scented with white tea, green tea and honey.

Just like a cup of green tea, this candle is subtle and gentle and probably "hard to get" at first. But once you get it - you're hooked to the serenity of a more neutral home scent that is not overpowering.

Note the candle's minimal packaging - label, candle cover (with instructions, printed on recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds). You can further recycle the paper by burying it in soil and watching the wildflowers grow...

The glass container can be recycled as well - visit Gabriel's Aunt for ideas and tips as well as her recycling program.

Tea Time on the North Shore

On a somewhat rainy and not particularly cold afternoon, three ladies of varying ages sat to have some tea at the stuffy Mariage Frères boutique/tea house in West Vancouver (Park Royal).
Tea service included cheescake with stilton and rhubarb and strawberries, pistacchio and sour cherries, and almond and pear tart. This was accompanied by the Sakura 2000 green tea, scented with cherry blossom and rose petals.
I have to say that while I enjoyed the company
And the scent for the day is Terre d'Hermes.

Mental Note: Green Powder Addiction

sencha in blue, originally uploaded by pzed.

I am willing to admit of having one addiction.
Perhaps the only thing I drink (almost) every day.

Today's mental note is for the scent of green tea. There are many types and grades. But I'm particularly smitten with the ones grown in Japan. The other day, my friend Junichi gave me a couple of tea bags that are a non-traditional alternative (shall I say sacrilege? But since it was given to him by his mother, who is Japanese through and through I think it can be trusted) for a loose-leaf brewed tea. It's a blend of sencha leaves and matcha powder. I couldn't help but deelpy inhale this green goodness (only to find some suspicious green powder residue up my nostrils a bit later...). What a way to start the day.
The brand I believe to be Kirkland and it is quite good actually. I particularly like the fact that the tea bag is not made of paper but of some kind of sheer fabric of sorts, through which the appearance and aroma of the leaves and the matcha powder comes across quite invitingly.

And throughout the day I was sipping not matcha, but my own (first) tea invention: jasmine tea with lemon verbena leaves (the latter are organically grown at my mother's garden, harvested, dried and packed with plenty of love which makes it taste all the more magnificent).

Today was an ode to tea. Of the green kind.
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