Tag Archives: Dragonwell

A Green Tea Wrap Party Moment

With elections completed (thank heavens), and tea partiers having made their statement – whatever it is (frankly I haven’t paid attention) – I thought I’d wind down my own Green Tea Party movement with a fond remembrance of all I’ve learned and experienced.

For those of you who wonder who won, well, Green Tea did.

I began my Green Tea Party with the objective of exploring green teas and trying to develop any kind of appreciation for them at all. What I discovered was an incredibly vast spectrum of flavors, colors, and intensities that surprised and delighted.  I have been won over.  Here’s a walk down memory lane:

I started with my Green Tea Exploration Moment. Part of my motivation was the feeling that my family had been sick too much for too long. Began my journey with Wen Shan Bao Zhong from Naivetea and Genmaicha from American Tea Room.

Next  was A Long Jing (Dragonwell) Moment. David from American Tea Room recommended I begin with Chinese green teas to ease my way into the greens. Along the way I discovered fun legends involving dragons and village wells. (Thus the name…)

Ceylon Vithanakanda, FOPA House Green Moment happened next. A visit to Bill Waddington’s TeaSource in Minnesota provided a fascinating insight into another person’s tea obsession, with the bonus of acquiring some exquisite teas.

An Empress Jasmine Moment was next, with my introduction to a green tea blend from Lindsay’s Teas. My love for Chinese green teas was growing. I was beginning to see what all the buzz was about!

A Summer Morning Moment led me to explore a “greener” Chinese green tea from Two Leaves and a Bud, called Tamayokucha. The deeper you dive into this world of tea, the more fascinating facts you uncover, such as this particular style of tea is covered for the last few weeks before harvest to bring out a specific flavor!

My first tentative steps into Japanese greens was facilitated by MyTeaShelf in A Refreshing Sencha Moment. This introduction transformed my view of Japanese teas from scary Samurai to engaging Geisha.

In An Ashland, Oregon Tea Moment, I got to do what I most enjoy – share my tea discoveries with some of my favorite people. One of these teas was Immortal Green, a Japanese sencha with peach and passion fruit from American Tea Room.

Feeling braver, I decided to go right for the unadulterated stuff in A Who Sencha Moment. DAVIDsTEA provided some lovely Organic Japanese Sencha, and my newfound love of green tea took strong root.

In A Letting Go Moment, American Tea Room’s Marrakesh (a Chinese green with spearmint!) helped drive me to find clarity in what was truly important in my life and what needed to be tossed aside.

There have been other green tea moments, of course. The green tea samples I brought to a routine doctor appointment because I remembered she had said most green teas don’t agree with her and I thought she might like to try just one more (Marrakesh). The Harney and Sons Pan Asia tea bags I carry with me on all business trips because they are easy – though apparently they look like baggies of weed, which may explain why my carry on bag has been hand searched more than once. The Green Peony tea from Peet’s Tea given to me as a gift from a friend – the tea is hand crafted so that you place it in your tea cup, pour hot water over it and it looks like a blooming peony in your cup. Beautiful! 

It’s been a transforming journey, this Green Tea Party. I have fallen in love with something that less than a year ago would “gag me with a spoon.”  Thanks to all my tea friends and gurus who helped me see the light on this one!

As we approach the holidays, some of you may be dreaming of a White Christmas. Well, I’ll be dreaming of White Teas. I feel a new obsession coming on…

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A Refreshing Sencha Moment

I’ve been nervous about stepping into the Japanese green teas. Sencha seems like the next logical phase of my journey, but I’ve kind of been putting it off. I’ve made excuses to make time with my other new friends, Dragonwell and a house green tea.

Leave it to MyTeaShelf to make the introduction go oh-so-smoothly. Well, helloooooo Refreshing Sencha! The description alone breaks down the barriers and dispenses with the formalities:

“Nice summer days call for something mellow after eating all those hot dogs. Try this refreshing tea that has a sencha base blended with aromatic herbs and the slightest hint of real dried mangoes. Hot or cold, Refreshing Sencha will give you a boost to get you through another bbq.”

Ah yes. That’s a tea I’d like to hang out with.

So, fears pushed aside, I brought out my official “cupping” set and tried to show this tea that I knew what I was doing. It politely smiled at my show. So tactful, this blend is.

It’s warm yellow hues lightened me up considerably. It’s fragrance was a bit grassy, but there was a fruity sweetness to it. Here we go. The first sip.

Now this is how one should be eased into green teas. Summer-y tones of mint and fruit create the lightest backdrop of sweetness that mellow the grassiness that wants to overpower. Within a couple of sips, I got distracted and then even forgot that I was drinking green tea. It was like making a new friend that was so easy and natural they blend seamlessly into your family, it’s a no brainer to invite them to the family reunion.

And so, I ease into Japanese green teas – fearing the samurai but encountering the geisha. I’m pleasantly surprised and relieved. Who knew this tea journey could be so fraught with peril! (In my imagination, that is.)

Shall we meet again tomorrow?

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An American Tea Room Moment

I’ve lived in Southern California for 10 years: 3 months after Gene and I got married in our home town of Boise, Idaho, packed up both our cars and headed to the land of perpetual sunshine. People often ask, don’t you miss having four seasons? What are they talking about? We have four seasons: Nice, really nice, beautiful, and gorgeous! And right now, we’re experiencing the 5th Season – El Nino – just to mix things up a bit.

So, it was great fun to take a drive up to Beverly Hills on a really nice January day, where the thermometer rose just above 70, and stop in to meet the masterminds behind the American Tea Room. Randy, co-mastermind, greeted me as Gene and I entered the tea room. His warm, high energy enthusiasm is contagious! He immediately provided our choice of samples: their Earl Grey Sterling (which they should just call Earl Great), and Extreme Vanilla Organic Green Tea, which was 3 years in the making and incorporates three types of hand cut vanilla beans.

Then, I was introduced to David, who has been a key figure in my tea exploration this year. His suggestions, along with accompanying samples, have opened my mind and palate to worlds of black tea I have never even known to exist! What a pleasure to finally meet him live and in person!

Just seconds before my introduction to Milk Oolong

David ushered us to the tea bar, where he offered to brew a pot of tea for us to share. I have been hearing great things about their Milk Oolong, so it was an obvious choice.  As the tea was prepared, David began explaining how this oolong was processed. He presented the large tin of the Milk Oolong and pointed out its creamy aroma – a result of the processing, not anything that is added. The tea was steeped in a most beautiful tea pot – designed specifically for American Tea Room. (It has sold out of both colors (black and white), and has been a smash-hit  among the Hollywood elite.)

Once the tea had steeped, we were shown how large the bright green tea leaves were once they unfurled from their tight twists. Then the first sip. Tasting Milk Oolong for the first time was exquisite! The creaminess translates nicely into the flavor of this tea. It is light, but full, and hits every point on your palate. To accompany this marvelous discovery, we were provided with some small and delicate tea cookies. One, covered in matcha, and the other harmless looking cookies were described as “crack cookies” because of their tendency to leave consumers wanting more and more. (I found this to be disturbingly true. How can I get my hands on more?!?!)

And this was just the first course. The second course was the visual feast of the space itself. Gene and I wandered around, examining the large and beautiful selection of unique teapots in both cast iron and Japanese porcelain. There were walls of tea to be explored, each tea with a small pot of leaves to be sniffed and examined. Gift boxes, tea cups, so many amazing things, and all displayed with an artist’s touch.

The third course was trying to decide what to take home with me. I had asked David what his favorite tea for the moment was and he talked about various green teas, particularly those from Japan. While I shy away from the grassiness of many green teas, that is what he most enjoys. Feeling brave and also inspired by his passion, I asked for his recommendation on where I should start in my green exploration. He walked me through some Chinese greens (less “grassy” than Japanese greens) and brought down tin after tin from his wall of tea. I was thrilled to end my adventure with a parcel filled with a couple of old favorites, my new-found treat of Milk Oolong, and some Long Jing (also known as Dragonwell) as a re-introduction to green tea.

The cherry on top was getting to know David and how the idea of this tea room came about, his travels, his knowledge, recommendations, commentary, and even an inside scoop to some exciting changes coming very soon to their beautiful space. Randy and David have a perfectly balanced partnership with each filling in the blanks for the other when it comes to operations, tea tasting and testing, organization, displays… the list goes on and on. It even goes as far as David keeping Twitter updated (@AmericanTeaRoom), and Randy focusing on Facebook (Become a Fan).

I look forward to my next trip to this Tea Destination and my continued tea adventures encouraged by David and Randy.

American Tea Room
401 N Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 271-7922

Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM and Sunday 12 PM – 5PM

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