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Posted in Uncategorized by jagajared on March 10, 2011

Jagasilk Academy of Tea




| March 10, 2011, 1:05 pm

Jagasilk owner Jared Nyberg leads a class on the finer points of tea.
Photo: Justus Lowry
Jagasilk co-owner Jared Nyberg leads a class on the finer points of tea.


You can learn a lot about tea in Victoria, British Columbia, and not just the Earl Grey variety. The city holds an annual tea festival each February and is also home to the Jagasilk Academy of Tea, a basement tea bar and education center in the city’s downtown.

Photo: Miyuki Nyberg
A maccha macchiato at Jagasilk.

Though located a tea bag’s throw from what was once the epicenter of British colonial pageantry, the place is rich with Japanese influences, from the wood-heavy interior to the selection of brews on offer — small, seasonal batches of loose leaf tea and a variety of matcha (or as the purists insist “maccha”), a Japanese green tea that has been ground into a fine powder in a small potted bowl called a chawan, then deftly mixed with hot water using a bamboo chasen whisk.

The owners, Jared and Miyuki Nyberg (the couple met while Nyberg taught English in Japan), perform their own version of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony: a five-course matcha tasting menu, with an emphasis on different “grades,” a term used to denote the fineness of powder. (Tea connoisseurs are every bit as granular in their description as aficionados of wine and coffee; Nyberg describes his “Dragonfly” matcha as “complex, with an earthen sweetness that hints at white chocolate as it cools.”)

Fortunately, the tea bar doubles as a classroom, with the Nybergs having recently introduced a series of hourlong seminars available to individuals or small groups. Students receive a crash course on brewing techniques, tea grades, regions and tastes, all the while sipping highly prized teas, including Hojicha, a roasted green tea from an award-winning estate, displaying robust flavors of cinnamon, hazelnuts and a malted roast quality reminiscent of fine coffee.

Individually packaged servings of matcha powder are sold to go, as are custom kettles, whisks, artisanal pottery and everything else you might need to make a seriously good cup of tea.

Jagasilk Academy of Tea, 633 Courtney Street, Victoria, British Columbia; jagasilk.com. The tea bar is open daily from 1 p.m. to  6 p.m.; the Academy of Tea is open by appointment.


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