Maccha green tea – whether you’re a veteran, or a curious first-timer, JagaSilk is where it’s at.
A few weeks ago, I bumped into a friend at 2% Jazz. She was delighting over a green frothy drink. “Maccha latté”, she explained. She then went on to tell me how some folks spell it with a “tch” while others spell it with a “cch” – the latter, the more authentic of the two, she said. “Matcha is a bit like calling espresso, expresso”, she added.
There was no stopping her. She got quite animated. Talked, at length, about green tea, JagaSilk, where it comes from, and how amazing their maccha is – noting their “cch” spelling. Inspired by her enthusiasm, I decided to investigate. Turns out, it’s just as cool as she said.
7 Incredibly Cool Things You Should Know About JagaSilk
1. The product – Owners, Miyuki and Jared Nyberg, believe in beauty, balance, and ethical business. They import a precise, quality product from Japan, unmatched in Canadian markets, and they do it well. They package their teas in 20 g sealed bags. The small package size minimizes exposure to oxygen and maintains freshness. JagaSilk also tracks the harvest and stone grinding dates of their teas – another measure that ensures a quality product.
2. Location, location, location – Tucked away in the brick-walled oasis of Nootka Court, JagaSilk’s location is perfect. A quiet hub of gentle production, the space has a rustic purity about it that matches Jared’s style. Different levels, big old windows, wooden shelves, pottery, brick walls, and a handcrafted wood-slab bar all radiate character. Daidoco, a jewel of a Japanese restaurant serving locally grown food, is located just next door – a symbiotic neighbour.
3. Jared brews amazing tea! – Watching Jared make tea is like watching a master chef, an alchemist, and a technician all rolled into one. He weighs, measures, pours, and notes temperatures, all the while using poetic language to describe intricacies of flavour. Flavours he meticulously controls through his consistent preparation process. He talks about how the “tea jumps”, “the agony of the leaves”, and the way chlorophyll “melts weariness from the body” – enchanting stuff.
4. Chasen – tools or art? – Chasen are the traditional whisk-like bamboo tools used to prepare maccha. JagaSilk carries a variety – from basic tools to works of art. Yes, art. They sell chasen handcrafted from smoke-licked wood by a certified living treasure. Yes, the Japanese government certifies living treasures. Masaki Kubo is one of 13 chasen artisans certified as a living treasure. His father cut chasen for the Japanese Emperor, his work sits in the Louvre, in Paris, and you can buy one at the JagaSilk Teabar – impressive.
5. Embracing cyclical products – JagaSilk sells some pretty cool tea related tools. Inspiring examples of traditional products made from local materials. Chasen’naoshi – rounded wooden stands that hold the chasen – are crafted out of reclaimed Gary Oak by a local supplier. It gets better. Sets of maccha tools – all the instruments you need to make maccha well – are sold in wooden boxes. Boxes designed and crafted by a local tradesman out of cedar driftwood harvested from the Esquimalt Lagoon. Outdated tea? You guessed it, green tea bath salts.
6. Sharing knowledge – Education is a big part of what they do at JagaSilk. The Tea Academy offers one-on-one training to tea professionals, baristas, and the interested public. Jared and Miyuki imagine the space as a node of knowledge transfer. They see themselves as students, always learning new ways to share what they know about crafting a precise, meticulous product.
7. And so much more – You can learn more about JagaSilk – their story, their products, and their philosophy – from their website. But, if you really want to get a feel for them, stop by Nootka Court and experience it yourself. The tea bar is open 1-6, Tuesday through Saturday.
You can also try their teas at a bunch of different cafés and restaurants around town.
Let me know what you think!