BUSINESS BEAT: Tea business offers lifelong learning experience

JagaSilk offers products, experiences and knowledge of tea for consumers and resellers

Loose tea connoiseur Warren Stewart

Loose tea connoiseur Warren Stewart

Green tea is the new coffee for consumers seeking a healthy alternative. Maccha, then, is like green tea on steroids.

Since 2005, Jared Nyberg, who operates downtown Victoria tea retailer and wholesaler JagaSilk with wife Miyuki, has been doing his best to spread the word about the pleasures and benefits of this potent style of tea.

Nyberg describes maccha – micro-milled into a near powder – as “green tea that you eat.”

After watching him whip a hot-water-and-maccha combination on the counter into a frothy, green mixture, using a traditional bamboo whisk, one experiences consuming the tea rather than drinking steeped water.

The drinker is meant to savour the mixture for a few seconds before swallowing it, allowing the various flavours – much like the characteristics of wine – to come through in the palate.

From a health standpoint, Nyberg claims maccha is 120 times more powerful than regular green tea, in terms of the antioxidants contained within.

From a business angle, the move to retailing has been gradual for the couple, who met while Nyberg was living in Japan.

Nyberg began selling maccha wholesale as a 22-year-old University of Victoria student. Since then, he and his wife have become steeped in maccha and its traditions – studying the growing and preparation process, its properties and ideal preparation – and shared much of that knowledge with the public through JagaSilk’s Academy of Tea program.

“We didn’t want to start off winging it,” Nyberg says of waiting to open a retail café. “It can be very disappointing.”

The calming, Japanese-themed JagaSilk Teabar, which opened in 2009 in Nootka Court and was recently expanded, is considered the “slow bar,” he says. Their Spiced Water tea and coffee house, opened last fall with partner Stephen Lyons in the former Budget Rent-a-Car kiosk up Courtenay Street behind The Falls, is the “fast bar” catering to the “coffee culture.”

In a blossoming retail tea market – Nyberg calls it a “resurgence” – JagaSilk aims to differentiate itself by being able to trace its products from “seed to cup,” not homogenizing the preparation process and staying creative.

Their strategy has seen them cultivate a direct relationship with growers and gain knowledge of their production and storage practices, a point Nyberg calls “traceability.”

Rather than selling tea marked with a best-before date, their products reflect date of grinding. That, he says, guarantees hyper-fresh tea for consumers and commercial buyers.

Pop in for a bowl of maccha or a cup of maccha latte and prepare to be educated. While he clearly knows his stuff, Nyberg is the first one to admit there is far more to learn about this ancient cultural tradition. “We don’t consider ourselves experts; we consider ourselves students.”

JagaSilk Teabar is at A17-633 Courtenay St.; Spiced Water is at 727 Courtenay St. Visit jagasilk.com for hours and more information on Academy of Tea.

Thrifty’s warehouse offers more options

Thrifty Foods has opened its retail support centre on Victoria International Airport property.

The 152,000-square-foot facility, which cost about $31 million to complete, will allow the company to store meat, grocery, frozen food and dairy items and distribute them to their 40 stores on Vancouver Island and the mainland, as well as its independent wholesale customers.

The 50-employee facility is expected to add jobs as it ramps up operations.

CARE award finalists announced for 2012

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Vancouver Island scoured the entries and came up with its list of finalists for the 2012 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) awards.

The finalists are selected by a panel of industry professionals, using criteria such as architectural design, quality workmanship, creative use of space and energy efficiency. Categories include Residential Planning Design and Construction, Interior Design, Commercial Planning and Design, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing, Special Achievement and Special Interest.

Online public voting, available at www.careawards.com starting Aug. 6, will determine winner of the People’s Choice Award. The CARE winners will be announced at a gala event Sept. 14 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

More information can be found at www.chbavictoria.com.

Craigdarroch Castle introduces new website

The Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society has added some new features to its website, including a video page, photo gallery and an online membership sign-up form, as well as a rebuilt event calendar. The society hopes the moves will decrease “snail mail” and allow more of the public’s donations to go toward programs at the historic tourist attraction.

Names in the News

Victoria’s Sign of the Times won the Sign System category award at the 2012 National Sign Competition for its work at family respite facility Jeneece Place. Dan Hansen’s company fabricated and installed the signs, designed by Matthias Reineke of Lime Design in Alberta … High River, Alta.-based Western Financial Group acquired Sidney-based B.C. Yacht Insurance Brokers on July 1. The latter, founded by avid yachtsman Bob Raymond in 2006, will continue to operate out of its office at 105-2506 Beacon Ave. … Relationship and sex therapist Jayne Weatherbe is giving free talks for women on Unlocking your Libido. They happen Monday (July 30) downtown, Tuesday in Oak Bay and Thursday in Saanich. Call 250-388-6434 to register … Camosun College student Noele Barry is the 2012 recipient of a $2,500 scholarship from the Certified Management Accountant Society of B.C. Barry is pursuing her CMA designation through the college and can use the cash toward the CMA’s Strategic Leadership Program … Mike Seymour of MSR Solutions Inc., Jason Dales, water maintenance operator with the Capital Regional District, and Colwyn Sutherland, asset and demand management specialist with Kerr Wood Leidal Associates, have been elected as directors on the board of the B.C. Water & Waste Association, a not-for-profit association made up of 4,400 water and wastewater industry professionals … Dallas Gislason has joined the Greater Victoria Development Agency as economic development officer. He replaces Sasha Angus, who last month was named manager of policy and governmental affairs with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

To submit business story ideas, email editor@vicnews.com.

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read