Tag Archives: tea blends

A White Tiger Tea Moment

I admit it. I’ve been in a tea rut. For the past several months, I’ve been mindlessly boiling the water, pouring it over a very mediocre Irish Breakfast tea bag in my favorite red rooster coffee mug. Thankfully, the greater tea community staged an intervention and I received the help I so desperately needed.

On Tuesday I received a package of 3 teas from the lovely gentlemen of DAVIDsTEA. You’ll understand my tiniest twinge of apprehension when I looked inside and found 2 white tea blends and 1 green. If you’ve read my previous tea moments, you’ll remember that I abandoned my foray into white teas last year and have been largely unsuccessful in finding a green tea to write home about, but I trusted my mentor and did my best to keep an open mind.

Oh Happy Day! I started with White Tiger (the tea, not the animal), and I have to say, “I believe!”  My previous complaint about white tea is the lack of body, its overall thinness. But this white peony tea was different. 1.5 teaspoons of tea steeped for 3 minutes, and the lovely, light amber liquid awaited me.  As I was jotting down notes of the color, the clarity, the lack of dust particles, I was trying to figure out how to describe the incredible aroma – and that’s when Gene wandered by and said, “Hey! What smells like blueberry muffins?”  I couldn’t have described it better myself. 

I am White Tiger. Hear me roar!

I am White Tiger. Hear me roar!

The first sip – always my favorite – surprised me with just enough body to keep my palate interested. The blueberry and pomegranate were just noticeable enough to make me aware of their presence but without the overly sweet aftertaste that turns me off of most berry or fruity teas and infusions. And not only did it taste heavenly, it’s good for me too – antioxidants on top of antioxidants!
One cup, frankly, was not enough. I put the kettle back on, brewed an entire pot, and that kept me company throughout the morning. It even inspired me enough to go out back for a few minutes to stop and smell the roses.
Jen in full recovery. Notice she has already progressed to using a real tea cup

Jen in full recovery. Notice she has already progressed to using a real tea cup

To David and Jeremy at DAVIDsTEA, I say, “Merci beaucoup! Je l’aime bien!” I greatly anticipate tasting the 2 other blends my new mentors have sent me.  Intervention: Successful! I am on the road to tea recovery!
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Filed under Education, Tea, Tea Blending

A Tea Lounge Moment

There was a summer that I became serious about the idea of opening a tea room. I had just left my first corporate jobby job and was finishing my Master’s degree. In between working on my thesis and working on my thesis, I began researching local tea rooms with serious focus. I would take covert photos of how the tea / goodies were presented and take copious notes rating the tea, the food, the service, what I liked and disliked about the ambience, etc. 

Lovely presentation, too many sweets

Lovely presentation, too many sweets

After a couple of months of this process, I realized that despite my numerous observations and experience as a customer, I had no experience or knowledge ‘behind the apron.’ Having the title of ‘student’ allowed me to consider taking on a part-time job and get that much needed experience. And so the job search began. After several rejections, and after having a lovely chat with the owner of a tea lounge one day as I was ‘researching,’ I (in a fit of slight desparation) wrote a heart-felt email to that tea lounge owner expressing my desire to work in a tea house, why it was important to me, what I hoped to accomplish, what I felt I could bring to the table, and more. It was a lengthy communication. Lo and behold, she took me seriously and I soon found myself on the schedule of the Lavender Lounge Tea Company in San Clemente, CA.  What I loved about Desiree, the owner, and the lounge she had created was her complete and total tea nerdiness, which met and even exceeded my own. She had single-handedly created multitudes of specialty blends. They were loose leaf blends: black blends, greens, whites, rooibos, and even some herbal blends. Nearly everything was blended, packaged, shipped or served from this tiny space in the second floor of an historic building. Here was my chance to learn from a pro!

While my stint in the lounge was cut short (my pie-in-the-sky consulting biz suddenly  had 3 major clients), I came to acquire a tremendous respect for the patience, multi-tasking and ultimate customer service skills necessary to be a successful tea shop owner. More on that in another post…  Also, deep admiration for the creative and incredibly delicious tea blends Desiree continued to produce. Some of my favorites:

1. San Clemen Tea – The Lavendar Lounge’s signature blend. A black tea/peach/apricot blend with surprising, yet subtle, notes of caramel and cinnamon. The fruit flavor is distinct but not overly fruity, which makes the blend delightful whether hot or over ice.

2. French Blend – While ’tis true I love all things French, this blend stands on its own merit. A black tea blend, this could aptly be named ‘Earl Grey goes to Paris.’ Tones of bergamot, jasmine and vanilla are enhanced even more if cream is added.

3. Jaded Julip – I’ve tried numerous times to appreciate green tea, and this is one blend that makes it easy. Granted, the black tea base helps the process, but the surprise of Matcha (liquid jade) and peppermint could induce New York’s most cynical stock broker to take pause and serve friends this refreshing cuppa on a verandah beneath magnolia trees in a heartbeat.

Give my regards to Desiree and her fabulous tea trade at the Lavendar Lounge Tea Company!

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Filed under Tea, Tea Blending, Tea Room