About Thé ou Café?
An avant-garde café & fine tea & specialty coffee boutique proudly serving Mariage Frères. We welcome you to our lounge. We are happy to serve you in English and French.
Discover the world's finest teas in our Haute Couture selelction.
A Remarkable Savoir Faire
We serve true coffee, carefully roasted and manually prepared to the highest Specialty Coffee Association standards. For tea, our high technology water filtration and temperature specific water heaters ensure that your choice of fine tea is made to exacting standards.
Discover Local Luxury
We seek and encourage local suppliers with exceptional products.
Proud to be an accredited member of the Specialty Coffee Association
The Specialty Coffee Association is an international association of coffee professionals. The SCA offers the highest industry standards for training of personnel in all corners of the coffee industry, and is responsible for the official certification of “Specialty Coffee”.
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What is the difference between white / yellow / green / oolong / black tea and pu-erh Tea?
The Tea plant (technical name Camellia Sinensis) is used to produce all types of tea. The difference between the types of tea is due to the different processing steps and methods that are used:
Mariage Frères was the first to bring white tea across the frontier, introducing it to the French. It is harvested before the tea plant’s leaves open fully, when the young buds are still covered by fine white hairs, hence the name “white” tea.
White tea is minimally processed, involving only the harvesting, withering, and drying the leaves. The buds and unfurled leaves from the newest growth on the tea plant are hand picked and withered for 72 hours in direct sunlight or in a room with a controlled climate. They are then dried to prevent oxidation from occurring. This minimal processing and low oxidation results in some of the most delicate and freshest tea available.
Yellow tea has been a Chinese speciality since the sixteenth century. The process for making yellow tea is similar to that of green tea: with the added steps of storing and steaming the tea. The leaves are placed in storage once the oxidation process has been halted, and the phenol they contain automatically oxidises at a slow rate for a brief period before the tea is heated fully to denature the oxidising enzymes. This gives the leaves a slightly yellow colouring during the drying process. Yellow tea and its liquor have a mild, savoury bouquet. This is a far more mellow taste than is found in most green teas and the process removes the characteristic grassy smell of green tea. These teas can be difficult to find and Thé ou Café? is continuously sourcing yellow teas to offer in our boutique.
For green tea, the tea leaves are harvested from the tea plant and are then quickly heated so the activity of fresh enzymes and the oxidation of polyphenols in the fresh leaves are stopped. This can be done by pan firing or steaming. Generally speaking, pan-firing is typical of many Chinese green teas and steaming is typical of teas like Sencha. The heating process is a key determinant in the tea’s flavour, aroma and colour.
Before drying they are rolled: green tea leaves are not allowed to oxidise after rolling, which is why they remain light colour and flavour. After this they are dried to prevent too much oxidation from occurring that would turn the green leaves brown and alter their fresh-picked flavour. The moisture content of the green tea leaves should be 4% once all these processes are complete.
Oolong tea (Thé Bleu by Mariage Frères)
Oolong tea falls between green tea and black tea and is often described as a partially oxidised tea. The flavour of oolongs may lean more toward a fresh green tea (less oxidised) and others toward a malty black tea (more oxidised).
After being picked the tea is spread on a flat surface and exposed to the sun for about an hour. Afterwards they are gathered and placed on drying racks in an air-conditioned drying house. At this stage of the tea production the leaves are shaken every hour so that the edges of the tea leaves bruise and oxidise. The tea leaves will lose approximately 20% of their moisture content during step in producing oolong tea. They also begin to turn brown due to the oxidation process.
To halt the oxidation the tea is pan-roasted. The decision of when to roast the leaves depends on the objectives of the tea master. Oxidation levels in oolong can vary greatly between 8% to 80%. The next step after pan-roasting is to roll the tea leaves
Oolong teas are traditionally rolled, twisted or curled into tight balls or thin strands. This is an important aspect of oolong processing that alters the appearance, colour and aroma of the final tea leaves. Depending on how and when the leaves are rolled, the entire direction of the tea’s final flavour can subtly alter.
Black tea is a fully oxidised tea. This results in a dark, rich cup of tea that is high in caffeine. Black teas are often macerated during the oxidation process, allowing the tea leaves to be exposed to air and fully darken. Black teas have noticeable tannins, and brew a reddish-amber colour.
After being harvested, the leaves are spread out onto racks to wither until they are soft enough to be rolled. The withered leaves are rolled to release organic compounds which occur naturally in the plant. This contributes to the tea’s final colour and flavour. Rolling also determines the shape of the leaves and also impacts the tea’s flavour and pungency. The rolled leaves are spread out in cool and humid rooms, exposed to oxygen for about 8-12 hours. This causes chemical changes in the leaves and turns them from green to coppery red. Finally, the completely oxidised leaves are dried to stop oxidation. Drying can be done by panning-firing, sunning, air drying, smoking or baking. Smoked-dried tea produces Lapsang Souchong. Caution is always used to not over-cook the tea leaves.
Pu-erh tea is fermented and aged. These teas are post-fermented, referring to the microbial fermentation (called wet piling) that is applied after the tea leaves have been dried and rolled. This causes the leaves to darken and change in flavour.
While oxidation refers to exposure of the tea to air, this fermentation refers to an ageing process where tea leaves are broken down by the microbial activity. Pu-erh teas may be aged anywhere from a few months to several years, and develop a distinctive rich, earthy taste through this process. Pu-erh teas are often sold in vintages and are compressed into a variety of different shapes such as disks or bricks.
What is specialty coffee?
Specialty coffee must be able to pass aspect grading and cupping tests. As green coffee beans, specialty grade samples must have zero category 1 defects and no more than five category 2 defects. Specialty Coffee is graded 80 points or above out of 100 points by a SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) certified coffee taster or by a licensed CQI (Coffee Quality Institute) Q Grader. Ordinary commercial coffee is not subjected to these quality controls and is usually roasted and packed in large plants with an industrial chain of custody. Specialty coffee is usually roasted in small stores or factories, using traditional methods and technology. Specialty coffees are coffees at their peak and differ from other coffees by having been grown at an ideal altitude at the correct time of year, in the best soil, and then picked at the best time for the coffee’s quality.
What is matcha and can matcha have flavours?
Our matcha is ceremonial grade. It is a pure, very finely ground green tea made from specially grown young leaves (taken from the top of the plant) which are ground in a matcha mill. The tea plants used for matcha are shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest; the stems and veins are removed during processing. True matcha is different from powdered green tea, which while cheaper has more of the tea plant in it than the specially grown and prepared young leaves used in a matcha preparation. Some powdered green teas are wrongly labelled as matcha. Because of it’s high quality and labour-intensive production, true matchas are not sold mixed with sugar, with additives nor processed in the matcha mill with other substances. When serving matcha as a latté, it is possible to add flavours at this stage. To appreciate matcha’s distinct flavour the only flavour Thé ou Café? suggests be added is bourbon vanilla. The other grades of matcha are “premium” and “culinary”. Older leaves are used for these categories of matcha and their price and flavour profile drop accordingly.
What is the difference between light / medium / dark roast coffee?
Roasting is the final stage of treating the coffee beans before they are packaged and ready for the consumer in a café or at home. Thé ou Café? offers a choice of roast allowing guests to choose their preferred level of fruitiness.
Light roasts are heated for a shorter period of time than darker roasts. They appear the palest shade of brown out of all roasts. In this roast the oils are still inside the bean, so they are dry with no visible oil.
The coffee beans begin to reach their final roasted form around 350°F – 400°F. This is called “first crack”, indicating when the moisture being extracted from beans is signaled by its first bits of cracking. Generally, light beans are released into the cooling sieve a couple of minutes after the first crack occurs.
Their flavour may be toasted, grain-like or earthy with a fruity smell. Because the roasting process reduces caffeine, light roasts have the most powerful level of caffeine.
Lighter roasts have the most acidic taste. This acidity reflects how close the bean is to it’s green or fruit state.
Medium roast beans have been roasted for a longer period of time. They are heated to 410°F – 430°F. After the first series of cracks, they are heated until they reach the “second crack”. The beans enter the cooling sieve right before the second crack.
They are a darker brown with minimal oil visible on their surface. The flavour and colour of the coffee will have more body than lighter roasts. This roast results in a flavour slightly sugary and less acidic than light roasts. These beans contain slightly less caffeine than lighter roasts.
These beans have been roasted for the longest period of time. Dark roast beans have an oily and shiny exterior from the length of roasting. They are dark to almost black in colour. These beans are roasted longer than lighter roasts and are heated at the highest range: more than 100°F higher than light roasts. They will be roasted to the end of the second crack or longer.
Their flavours are smokier, fuller and bolder, almost burnt. The flavours of the coffee fruit have been eliminated because of the higher temperature and roast duration. The flavours left are the flavours created by roasting. Coffee connoisseurs consider this flavour too intense and find it masks the taste of the coffee bean.
This roast is commonly found in industrial coffees. Specialty coffees are rarely roasted to this level. For many of our clients accustomed to dark roasts, our espressos are a pleasant, flavourful introduction to medium roast coffee where the flavour of the bean can still be appreciated. We always have a choice, by the provenance of the coffee, to have as little or as much fruitiness as desired.
What is a Tisane?
A tisane is an infusion made with plants that are not Camellia Sinensis (tea). Tisanes do not have theanine that occurs in tea and while most have no caffeine, there are certain plants used for infusion that have naturally occurring caffeine like yerba maté and coffee leaf.
What milk is the best for coffee?
Espresso-based coffee beverages are traditionally prepared with steamed whole milk. To provide the highest quality beverages, our SCA-trained baristas do not steam other types of dairy. There are now several plant-based alternatives to dairy that also compliment coffee very well. Among the wide selection available at Thé ou Café? we find oat milk to have a wonderful body and neutral flavour. We use organic milks.
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Terms and Conditions
Last updated: 15 April 2022
Please read these terms and conditions carefully before using Our Service.
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The words of which the initial letter is capitalized have meanings defined under the following conditions. The following definitions shall have the same meaning regardless of whether they appear in singular or in plural.
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These are the Terms and Conditions governing the use of this Service and the agreement that operates between You and the Company. These Terms and Conditions set out the rights and obligations of all users regarding the use of the Service.
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