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Every step of this journey reveals nuances of a thousand-year-old drink that embodies history, art, philosophy and spirituality.

From the refined green tea of China to the energising matcha of Japan, from the fragrant and spicy masala chai of India to the refreshing and healthy rooibos of Africa; from the sweet and fun bubble tea of Taiwan to the five o’clock tea time in Great Britain: every sip is an invitation to enjoy the present, to pause for a moment and reflect, to live life with awareness.

 

Prepare your favourite cup and let yourself be transported on this sensory journey through the world’s teas!

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The art of tea: traditions and innovations

 

Sipping tea, one can travel and discover cultures and traditions that time does not erase.

 

We owe the first cultivation and preparation of tea to the Hemudu culture, which flourished between 7000 and 6000 B.C. in China.

The origin of the infusion of its leaves is surrounded by a halo of legendary tales linking it to Emperor Shan Nong, considered the father of agriculture. He is said to have discovered by pure chance that the leaves accidentally dropped into his cup of hot water gave off interesting aromas, resulting in a drink with an irresistible flavour.

Since that legendary moment, much ground has been covered and the preparation of tea has become a true Art.

 

It was, however, from 758 onwards that a proper tea ceremony was codified.

 

“The Canon of Tea” (“Cha Ching”), the work of the young Buddhist monk Lu Yu, is the oldest book written on the preparation of tea, in which the botanical characteristics of the plant, the description of the different methods and the instruments used to prepare the hot drink are found. It reflects the Taoist faith’s approach to life according to which one must be able to grasp the beauty of the world in every detail in order to learn to live in balance and harmony.

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Camellia sinensis (sinensis means Chinese), so classified in 1735 by the Swedish botanist Linnaeus, is a plant of the Theaceae botanical family whose leaves and shoots are used.

It is the processing methods (harvesting, withering, rolling, oxidising, stabilising, drying and fermentation) that create different types of tea: white tea, green tea, yellow tea, red tea, black tea.

These varieties can be flavoured and the tea can be drunk hot or cold, sweet or bitter, with or without milk.

A simple leaf can be transformed into an extraordinary drink.

A time to relax, to share, to meditate.

A source of health, energy, pleasure.

A cup of tea is a special gift to enjoy life in awareness.

The Chinese ideogram , meaning tea, has different pronunciations depending on the dialect.

In southern dialects, it can be pronounced tê (tei), from which the names of tea in many European and Asian languages derive; in northern dialects, on the other hand, it is pronounced chá or chah: the name of tea in Japanese, for example, derives from this pronunciation: matcha, sencha, shincha and kukicha.

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The preparation of matcha: pulverised green tea is mixed with water using a bamboo whisk, the chasen.

茶の湯, (Cha No Yu, literally water tea) in Japanese means The Tea Ceremony: an ancient and still living practice that unites the social and the spiritual.

It can be performed in a short form or in a longer, elaborate and complex one in which every single gesture, (such as the turning of the cup while it is held in the palm of the hand), has a precise meaning and symbolic value. In both cases, what is used (in different quantities) is matcha tea, pulverised green tea, which is mixed with water using a bamboo whisk, the chasen.

This method of preparing suspension tea differs from infusion precisely because the tea is directly mixed with water.

Discover Caffè Florian’s new tea blends

 

In this sensory journey through the world of tea in Florian’s chosen blends, we start in Japan.

We have selected a Japanese sencha green tea to match the delicate sweetness of jasmine flower buds. We have dedicated an important name to it, the first name with which Floriano Francesconi christened his coffee shop in St Mark’s Square: ‘Venezia Trionfante’. A tribute to La Serenissima and its glory.

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We go to Sri Lanka to learn about Orange Peckoe, a Ceylon black tea with very long and slightly curly leaves. Orange indicates the quality of the leaves, established by a Dutch merchant (the first tea traders from Europe were the Dutch), to honour the royal D’Orange family, while Pekoe is the transcription of Pak-Ho, a Chinese word describing the white down that covers the tender spring tea buds.

At the Florian, we have created ‘Venezia 1720’ by combining Orange Peckoe with the spices that were so precious to the Serenissima: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves.

It is a tea generous with warming and enveloping notes, with an intriguing spirit due to the sensory stimuli that make it irresistible from the first whiff to the last sip.

 

From China, the ‘Tea Flowers’: perfect spring buds of Hunan and Fujian tea that are hand-tied by skilled craftsmen around a ‘heart’ of flowers: amaranth, jasmine or carnation. Dried in the form of pearls and spheres and immersed in hot water at 85° (possibly in a glass teapot to witness the magic), they unfurl in a slow bloom, transforming into a colourful bouquet that releases a suave perfume.

 

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Pressed teas originate from the Tang dynasty (618-907), and originated with the aim of avoiding damage to the tea during journeys along the Silk Road and were often used as a valuable currency. The ‘Tea Hearts’ symbolise a sincere gift that conveys the mystery of the long Oriental tea tradition.

It is more than tea: it is an invitation to share emotions, to create memories, to fall in love again.

A perfect gift to give to someone you love.

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Heart-shaped pressed sencha green tea with jasmine and marigold flowers

From India, the world’s second largest tea producer and one of the biggest consumers, comes a structured, elegant tea that conveys all its strength and character.

Cultivated on the slopes of the Himalayas, at an altitude of one thousand five hundred metres, Darjeeling is one of the world’s best black teas: it is no coincidence that it is called the ‘champagne of teas’.

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"Florian 'Darjeeling': a tea with a strong, structured character, a timeless classic

From southern Africa, an infusion with a distinctive and unforgettable red colour. It is made from a shrub whose leaves, when dried and fermented, turn an amber colour that releases velvety notes on the nose.

This is rooibos, which means ‘red bush’ in Afrikaans.

We have created two blends with rooibos:

‘Venetian Dream’: a blend enriched with pieces of almond and apple, with cinnamon and vanilla aromas, ideal for an afternoon cuddle or a relaxing, dreamlike interlude.

‘Rosso Veneziano: named after Venetian Renaissance painting, this blend with safflower petals, blueberries and raspberry pieces releases an intense citrus scent thanks to orange peel.

Both our blends are theine-free, making them suitable for everyone and at any time of day.

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In the Florian‘s blend “Sunset in Venice” we have created a harmony of flavours by combining karkadè with dog rose, orange, cinnamon and notes of vanilla.

Growing in Africa and the Caribbean, it produces extraordinarily beautiful flowers from which a thirst-quenching drink is made in summer and invigorating in winter.

In the Tacruri dialect, in Ethiopia, it is called karkadeb: it is the Hibiscus plant from whose flowers a slightly acidic infusion with an unmistakable deep red colour is made.

 

For a pleasant moment of regeneration, sipping a special infusion that is good for body and soul.

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Known since antiquity for their well-known therapeutic and beneficial properties, fennel and liquorice are combined in this Florian ‘Fennel and Liquorice Infusion’ for a herbal tea that is both healthy and appealing in taste.
Ancient Egyptians used fennel to improve digestion, liquorice for its calming and soothing properties; in India fennel was used to prepare aphrodisiac potions and in the Middle Ages it was an antidote against witchcraft. In Greece it was used as an antidote against the bite of venomous reptiles. In China, liquorice was used to treat coughs and liver disorders. Benedictine monks used it as a medicinal plant as early as the 10th century.

 

For a classic and traditional choice, for a perfect wake-up call in the morning with just the right amount of theine, the choice can only be an ‘English Breakfast’, a blend loved by Queen Victoria, first spread to England and then worldwide.

For a fine and aristocratic afternoon tea, you need an imperial blend: fine Indian black tea leaves fermented and rolled with an energising touch of bergamot. Dedicated to Earl Grey, Prime Minister of the British government in the late 1800s, ‘Imperial Earl Grey’ is an elegant and sophisticated choice.

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'Imperial Earl Grey': fine Indian black tea leaves fermented and rolled with an energising touch of bergamot

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A set to travel around the world using the porcelain cups and tempered glass infuser

Gourmet pairings: food and tea

 

Thanks to the knowledge of neurogastronomy, a whole universe can be revealed to our palates.

Tasting a tea in purity is the first step to experimenting with certain flavour pairings.
One can proceed, as with wines, with pairing by contrast, complementarity or similarity between the tea and the dish.

White or green teas will be happily paired with delicate dishes such as fish or dry pastries.

Black teas, on the other hand, are better suited to savoury, savoury dishes such as red meats, smoked foods and dark chocolate.

 

An Indian black tea, such as ‘Darjeeling’, or ‘Venezia 1720’ with a hint of wood enriched with precious spices goes well with hazelnut dragées on a cold winter afternoon.

 

Lovers of the scent of jasmine will want to pair ‘Venezia Trionfante’ tea with Esse biscuits made with traditional Venetian pastry: an elegant and sophisticated afternoon tea.

 

A more structured tea such as ‘Rosa Veneziana’, black tea, rose petals, lightly flavoured with bergamot, enhances the sensuality of the Chocolate Kiss Biscuit.

 

Appreciated by the most discerning palates, Imperial Earl Grey tea is ideal for the traditional five o’clock tea, perfect with biscuits and sweets in general. Its penetrating aroma pairs masterfully with chocolate and, surprisingly, with spicy dishes or particularly tasty cheeses to accompany your aperitifs or dinners.

What really matters is to practice and trust your senses.

Let yourself be captivated by the combination that most brings well-being to the spirit and mind.

The secret to start this journey: to taste, to savour, to experience!!!

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"Venetian rose: black tea with rose petals. Delicate and thirst-quenching, it is a revelation when also drunk cold in summer

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Caffè Florian, Tea Room, Senate Hall

Preparing the perfect tea: tips and techniques

 

Every cup of tea is an invitation to discover a culture, a history, a tradition: it is the fruit of a long and delicate process that determines its character and personality.

Tea is an ancient yet modern and versatile beverage. Tea processing is an art that requires experience, skill and passion.

 

The Chinese tea ceremony, or Gong fu cha, is the ancient Art that expresses respect and harmony between people and nature.

Gong fu cha means ‘tea prepared with care and attention’ and requires a careful choice of materials, steps and gestures.

 

The ideograms that make up the term Gong fu cha are:

– 工 (gōng): means work, skill, mastery.
– 夫 (fū): time, commitment, dedication.
– 茶 (chá): means tea, herb, plant.

 

While adapting to various cultures and the needs of an evolving society, tea preparation even in the West has remained an Art that follows several steps and requires little attention:

 

– The choice of tea, teapot, cups and other utensils.
– The heating of the teapot and cups with boiling water.
– The addition of the tea leaves into the teapot.
– The infusion of the tea, which varies according to the type and quality of the leaves.
– The tasting of the tea, which involves all the senses and is based on five criteria: appearance, aroma, mouthfeel, sweetness and smoothness.

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There are places, such as the Florian, that seek to continue to promote the art of letting oneself live: a philosophy that values time spent enjoying tea, alone or in company, to discover the flavour of the world while sipping tea.

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Tea as a cultural experience

 

Every country has its own history, culture and tradition related to tea. A uniqueness that is reflected in the different ways of preparing, serving and enjoying it.

From Japan through China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Africa and all the way to Argentina: tea is appreciated all over the world and, although following different methods, its preparation is equivalent to an artistic act that requires care and dedication, calm and concentration.

It becomes the moment that psychologically predisposes to sharing and meeting: a cultural experience!

Time, commitment, skill, acceptance and respect for others: although through different tea ceremonials, these principles are reflected in the different cultures of the world.

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Apart from a mention in Marco Polo‘s ‘Il Milione’, the first historically ascertained mention in the West of the existence of the tea drink comes from the chronicles of Giovan Battista Ramusio (1485-1557), secretary of the Council of Ten of the Venetian Republic. He tells of an Arab merchant who reported to him the existence of a medicinal plant in China called Chiai-Catai.

 

Tea travelled from China to India thanks to a theft of plants. From this act, and from political and economic circumstances, the conditions were created for the introduction of tea cultivation in the Darjeeling region in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company had a monopoly on the tea trade. This allowed the tea culture to spread to the Western world.

Indeed, it conquered the palate and soul of Europe in the 17th century: in England, a tradition developed around the canonical moment of the ‘five o’clock tea’ also called Low Tea, which also became a substitute for dinner with High Tea.

 

The rules of the art of tea preparation, while preserved in their original philosophy, are now adapted in our Western societies.

The introduction of tea bags has facilitated the preparation of tea and ensured hygiene in the service of public places.

 

The Art of Tea is an occasion to celebrate important moments, to welcome guests, to share the culture of tea, to lift spirits, to fortify relationships.

A time to relax, to share, to meditate.

A source of health, energy, pleasure.

A cup of tea is a special gift to pamper yourself and enjoy life in awareness.

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Le miscele di tè Florian

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