Neither rain nor sleet nor flooded roadways could keep these women away from my first tea event of the New Year (thank goodness!), An International Tea Moment’s Best of 2009 Tea Event. Torrential rains have hit Southern California with a vengeance not seen since 1995, so while tea may seem the perfect antidote to gloomy weather, I was a little concerned that hurricane-force gusts of wind may deter my guests. Luck was on my side, though, and the rain stopped just long enough for the guests to arrive.
Some were new to the different varieties of tea, some had some old stand-by’s in their cupboards, and all of them were more than happy to have an excuse to step away from their places of work and enjoy a tea party of any kind. Here, they would be introduced to my favorite discoveries of 2009, including:
Best of 2009 Black Tea: Mokalbari Estates, by American Tea Room
Best of 2009 Black Tea Blend: Tangier, by American Tea Room
Best of 2009 White Tea Blend: White Tiger, by DAVIDsTEA
Best of 2009 Oolong: Rose Violet Calendula, by Naivetea
Best of 2009 Green Tea Blend: Jaded Julip, by Lavender Lounge Tea Company/Pangea Tea Company
Best of 2009 Herbal Infusion: Andes Breeze, by MyTeaShelf.com
Upon arrival, guests were met with score cards and asked to step into the tasting room. Each of the 6 award winning teas was laid out with small tasting cups. Everyone made their way through each station, jotting notes and asking questions about the differences between teas: white, oolong, green and black, and why an herbal tea was usually not really considered “tea.” (There are no actual tea leaves in most of what we refer to as “herbal teas.”) Cards were collected – during lunch, guests would be served the tea they chose as their favorite.
The rain fell during lunch, and then came the hail! Everyone commented they were glad to be inside with a hot cup of tea rather than dealing with the weather outside. Conversations ranged from the effects of tea on teeth, to birthday makeovers, to academics, to teapots, tea cups, collections and my lovely experiences with each of the event’s wonderful sponsors and award winners. The lunch menu included roasted red pepper and tomato soup with basil; four sandwiches: cucumber, tuna salad, egg salad, and pear and brie; a savory ham and cheese-filled puff pastry, an orange and cranberry scone to be topped with fruit preserves and Devonshire cream, strawberries and blueberries, and assorted chocolates.
Before the end of our time together, we tallied the cards and identified the “Fan Favorite” of all the award winners. Now, you all know my bent toward black teas and tea blends. So when it comes to tea parties that involve finger sandwiches, the obvious accompanying tea is always a black one, right? To my surprise, there was not one Fan Favorite, but two. And neither were black teas!
Congratulations to Naivetea for Fan Favorite #1, Rose Violet Calendula Oolong, and to DAVIDsTEA for Fan Favorite #2, White Tiger!
And then, the icing on the cake, each guest got to take the tea party home with them! Due to the generosity of the award winners, everyone left with a sample of each of the six award winning teas, a tea cup with infuser, a discount code for MyTeaShelf.com for 10% off (Enter code TEAMOMENT at checkout), and an assortment of tea samples from DAVIDsTEA to further explore some exciting and creative tea blends.
As I wrapped up this event, I reflected on what this moment was all about. Yes, I have been introduced to a plethora of amazing, exciting, unique and nuanced teas, each with their own distinct personality. But even better, I got to share a select few with a collection of amazing, exciting, unique and nuanced women who have become treasured friends over the last 10 years since Gene and I moved here. For me, that is what made this moment most successful.
Are you an existing fan of any of these award-winning teas? If so, you are invited to submit your own ‘tea moments’ through photos, videos or written note!