Sisters preserving their Chinese-Canadian heritage with ready-to-drink "cooling tea"

Aug 17 2021, 3:36 pm


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A pair of sisters are preserving a part of their Chinese-Canadian heritage by sharing a traditional herbal tea with the Calgary community.

Candy and Joyce Lam founded Parch in Calgary in the winter of 2020, bringing ready-to-drink “cooling teas” to Albertans.

The beverage has been traditionally consumed for over a hundred years as a part of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. The Chinese herbal tea 涼茶 (pronounced “leung cha” in Cantonese and “liang cha” in Mandarin) directly translates to “cooling tea.”

Growing up as Chinese-Canadians in Calgary, the Lam sister’s parents would give them leung cha to drink whenever their bodies felt off-balance. Cooling tea is the perfect beverage to consume after an indulgent meal or intensive physical activity.

When Candy and Joyce moved away from home as adults, the tea was not as accessible, and so they took matters into their own hands and launched Parch.

Parch offers a modern take on this traditional Chinese herbal tea. The company’s unique collection of cooling tea combines culture and wellness for a refreshing experience.

The sisters’ teas are crafted to the highest quality with no artificial preservatives, and are small-batch brewed in Canada. Currently, the teas are available in two flavours: original and cranberry.

Parch’s leung cha is brewed from an infusion of Chinese medicinal herbs designed to restore the body according to principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

According to Parch’s website, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body’s harmony and health are achieved by balancing the yin (cool) and yang (warm) energy in the body. Too much internal heat (yang) may manifest in inflammation, skin rashes and itchiness, dry mouth, nose bleeds, headaches, and other ailments.

“The cooling tea is traditionally consumed to offset excessive internal heat,” reads the company’s website.

Parch is not only an herbal tea company – it also offers a way for Candy and Joyce to share and preserve this small but significant part of their Chinese-Canadian heritage.

By bringing awareness to their culture through Parch, the sister duo hopes to encourage more people to share their own cultural heritage and to be proud of their traditions.

“The community in Calgary is so diverse,” says Candy, “and it is the mission of Parch to encourage these conversations to create a more inclusive and vibrant society.”

Parch teas are available online through the company’s website, as well as at 11 Calgary stores, including Blush Lane Organic Market, Mondays Plant Cafe, and Bite Grocer & Eatery. The beverage can also be found at the Blush Lane Organic Market on Whyte Ave in Edmonton and through four additional online retailers.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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