New Teas!

New Teas! by Ayala Moriel
New Teas!, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
At long last, I've re-launched my entire tea collection at the inaugural Vancouver Tea Festival this past weekend - including the long-time favourites Immortelle l'Amour and Roses et Chocolat teas, which were both out of stock for longer than we could tolerate... It's been a long, painstaking process of sourcing, sampling and testing teas and various fragrant botanicals from different origins, comparing them, formulating, tasting and fine tuning my vision for each one of the teas, complete with the tea label design, French translation, and printing... The entire process took 4 years!

Each of the 4 teas in my collection was inspired by a distinctive perfume from Ayala Moriel Parfums' line of all-natural, artisanal fragrances that are handcrafted to perfection from the finest flower extracts in the world. The teas themselves are a blend of carefully selected perfumed teas (read: not-aromatized, but rather fragranced with the real whole fresh flowers such as jasmine, rose, etc.) and further perfumed with top-quality, freshly dried and organic or wild-harvested botanicals.

Charisma tea was Ayala's first tea blend, and the house blend she served only to guests at her West End perfume studio during the summer months, it was blended from fresh lemon verbena and spearmint leaves mixed with premium jasmine green tea. It is now available in its dry loose leaf tea form for your enjoyment year around! Charisma can be re-infused 4 times, and makes for an excellent chilled tea or add a splash of rum and a slice of lime to turn it into a tea mojito!
The tea was inspired by Charisma perfume: a fresh floriental fragrance based on the contrast between cool and warm notes: jasmine sambac, gardenia, tonk a bean, kewda, green tea, sandalwood, spearmint and bergamot.

Zangvil tea was created in 2011, to coincide with the Zangvil fragrance launch and our White Potion fragrant chocolate bar we collaborated on with CocoaNymph (you can read more about our amazing tea party we hosted to celebrate this triple accomplishment). Zangvil is all about ginger - a note that is comforting, warming and sexy. The perfume is a honeyed amber-and-ginger fragrance that is as cozy as a cashmere sweater; and the tea reflects that with delicate silver needle jasmine white tea, infused by rare botanical musk seeds, vanilla beans and of course - crystallized ginger. It can be infused up to 7 times to produce a clear, shimmery liquor that is a delight to all the senses!

Immortelle l'Amour tea is an elixir of love, and full of anti-oxidants yet caffeine free. This rooibos-based tea is perfumed with vanilla bean slices, organic orange peel and Ceylon cinnamon bark. Calendula petals add a stunning visual effect - like threads of sunshine within the beautiful red-maple hue of rooibos. Immortelle l'Amour perfume was inspired by a love story, and the Quebecoise tradition of making Tire sur le neighs (taffee on the snow). It has notes of immortelle, maple syrup, rooibos, cinnamon, orange and an overdose of vanilla. The tea is wonderfully sweet on its own, and can be re-steeped twice (which is very unusual for a rooibos tea!). It is particularly luxurious when served with pure maple syrup, and makes a wonderful accompaniment for a brunch of cinnamon waffles :-)

Roses et Chocolat tea is arguably the most luxurious and seductive of all 4 blends. It also was the most challenging one to blend and took Ayala 4 years to perfect: it required an expert patience and masterful blending of China black tea, rose petals, fine Darjeeling,  cacao nibs and exotic spices to create the perfect balance between the smooth, rich, floral and spicy elements. This tea is a message of romance and seduction in a cup. Enjoy this whenever you have a chocolate craving (but don't want the calories ;-) Or if that's not your concern - it may very well be served with a square of dark chocolate or Rahat Loukum (Turkish delight). Roses et Chocolat perfume, which inspired it was originally created for Valentine's Day 2005 as a limited edition. We could not keep it on the shelves long enough ever since. It is also available as a chocolate bar (72% cocoa with rose otto, saffron and chilli, which we've developed with CocoaNymph) and a scented candle made of organic soy wax (designed in collaboration with Gabriel's Aunt).  

Vancouver Tea Festival

Alicia at our booth at the Vancovuer Tea Festival (November 2nd, 2013).

Playing With Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange
The tree I planted 15 years ago and thought to be sweet orange, turns out to be bitter orange, or some other kind of unidentified-yet citrus... The fruit looks like a hybrid between orange and lemon - orange in colour but with a little lemony "nipple". The flesh itself is more sour than that of lemon and with a peculiar sour-tangerine-like taste.

The best part though, is the scent of it's peel: fragrant and vibrant, somewhat like that of Meyer lemon's, orange and yellow mandarin. Spontaneously, I've decided to use the fruit of my own tree (grown organically, sans pesticide, herbicides, etc.) to be used in my next version of Immortelle l'Amour tea.

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Zangvil Tea Mystery Ingredient Revealed!

Mature seedpod and seeds in side ....Trái Bụp Vang đã khô và hạt ...

Zangvil's mystery ingredient is...
Ambrette seed!
The seeds of Abelmoschus moschatus (an evergreen shrub from the hibiscus family, with yellow flowers with purplish-pink centre) are known for being the most similar plant aroma to that of the deer musk!
Because of its beautiful, musky odour, floral, wine-like, nutty, reminiscent of overripe fruit or even lychee. It is very rich in ambrettolide, which smells like what we learned to call "white musk" (yup, the one by The Body Shop!). Ambrette seed is considered an aphrodisiac. It is also used as spice in the East, and is used by Arabs to flavour coffee (much like they do with cardamom seeds). The tincture is used to flavour tobacco as well as liquors. Ambrette also has medicinal benefits (mostly used to ease indigestion, cramps and nervous dyspepsia.

Ambrette Seeds 7832

Zangvil tea can be re-steeped as many as 6-7 times, with the woodsy, musky vanillic notes of the hand-sliced vanilla beans and aromatic ambrette seeds and hints of spicy sweetness from the organic candied ginger lingering on and on even beyond the tea leaves themselves (which still emit their subtle, peachy-jasminey aroma till the 4th steeping).

Congratulations to ahsu for guessing correctly (the 2nd time around...).
You will be receiving a 50gr tin of Zangvil tea (value of $30), which will be sent to you when Zangvil perfume & tea are launching - 20.11.2011.
Until than, you can pre-order it online!

Zangvil Tea Scale Up + Contest

Scale Up of Zangvil Tea

Yesterday I've decided on the final formula for my Zangvil perfumed tea blend, and did the first trial scale-up. And of course, now comes the less fun aspect of the process - which is pricing the tea and doing all the necessary calculations, not to mention label design. Each tin, as it turnes out, contains 2 full-length vanilla beans, and the white tea itself is on the pricier side - so the tea is not going to be cheap to produce, that's for sure... However, the good news is, that this tea can be resteeped up to 6 times with a very beautiful, fragrant results all the way till the 6th steeping. Very unusual for such a delicate tea, but it has a lot to do with the other ingredients there too.

The new line of teas (as some of you may have already gathered from the pages of this blog, I'm re-doing all of my tea collection, and they will all re-launch in larger, 50gr tins, as they become ready). New labels are necessary as well, because not only will the list of ingredients will change, but also the size and shape of the tins. And while I'm at it - I'm thinking that little splashes of colours would be nice, similarly to what my amazing graphic designers have done for the scented chocolate bars.

Scale Up of Zangvil Tea
I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of creating the new perfumed teas, so it will take a while before the other teas (Roses et Chocolat, Immortelle l'Amour) will be ready. Charisma formula is ready (it all began as a house blend I made for studio guests), so it's just a matter of sourcing the materials myself.

It is such an interesting medium to create in, and testing it is very different from testing perfumes - it requires brewing many pots of tea in the right temperature, analyzing the aroma and flavour, and seeing how many steepings can be achieved with each blend. So it's giving me many excuses for throwing little spontaneous tea parties for family and friends and get their opinions and observe their response to the tea, which is lots of fun on its own.

Also, each material having a different colour, shape and texture that is visible even more than with the essences I work with for my perfumes. The visual and tactile aspect is a lot more obvious than with liquid essences. The fuzziness of the silver hairs on the white tea leaves and buds. Yellow jasmine flowers. Crystallized ginger looking like chunky gemstones. Long and plump vanilla beans, which I slice by hand, a process that inevitably squeezes out the black seeds from within, leaving their fragrant specs on my fingers and having a rich woody aroma. And the surprise ingredient - are you ready yet? Hmm... I think I will leave this as a secret and will run a contest instead for the person who guesses it! It adds a very luxurious and special effect in the perfume and is totally unexpected - a little nutty and very sweet and soft... Look at the picture and let's see who might be able to guess! The person who does, will receive the 1st tin of Zangvil Tea when it launches November 20th.

White Tea Tasting

Playing with Peonies

Playing With Peonies
This morning was dedicated to tea - white tea, to be exact. Taking advantage of the olfactory and palate's acute and sharp sensations, it was perfect to brew some white tea right after an invigorating swim in the ocean...

This time, I wanted to try a fresh sample of Pai Mu Tan (White Peony Tea) along with the exquisite, or shall I say - sensational - silver needle jasmine tea I used for all my recent Zangvil tea experiments. My first tea blend for this concept relied entirely on white peony. It was a little peppery, and surprisingly strong. I wanted this tea to be a little more delicate, so I used only little of the white peony tea (only about 10th of the entire formula). It added a slightly grassy notes that I did not care for, and so I decided to stick with only one type of tea for my tea, which is special on its own, and lends an extraordinary quality to the tea, with the jasmine harmonizing really beautifully all the other elements - even if it's not too obviously noticeable.
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