Tag Archives: Tea Tasting

An Event-ful Moment

Thank You, Sponsors!

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!

Fabulous prizes!

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!



Filed under Drawings, Tea

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