Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The staff was very attentive and our food came out fairly quickly. The tea arrived in a plain white, no frills pot. They also gave us three miniature chocolate chip cookies on a tea bag holder which I thought was cute. The food was delicious and not spicy as I had feared. The portions were so large that we both brought home quite a bit. The tea was perfectly brewed and paired perfectly with the food. This is the kind of place where the meal lingers in a pleasant way. The atmosphere, food and tea all convince you to stay longer than you had planned. The pictures I snapped are terrible since I took with my blackberry but you can get the idea. If you are every in my neck of the woods, this charming restaurant is definitively recommended.
Monday, January 25, 2010
In the convenience store by work I had a neat tea find. It is basically a flowering tea on a string. So you get the benefits of the beauty these teas have with the convenience of a tea bag. It didn’t exactly bloom, it just sort of puffed up. Flowering teas are how I started my own tea journey so I have a special soft spot for me. That being said, they are never made out of very good quality tea since that would sort of be a waste. While not super great tasting (way more rose than green tea), it was worth it just for the sake of my co-workers’ reactions. I manage a pet boutique so it was compared to the various things that come out of dogs. We all had a good laugh and I got some tea out of it too. These are made by Teance. Their shop is Berkley, CA has long been on my list of must-see tea places.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I have a confession to make. One of my guilty pleasures in life is a tall chai latte from Starbucks. This can be controversial in certain circles as Starbucks is sometimes assigned a level of corporate evil reserved only for Wal-Mart and Teavana. But I was intrigued when I found out that they would be releasing a new line of Tazo full leaf tea bags. There happens to be a location by my job so I picked up a cup of the China Green Tips. And the verdict is…”meh”. It wasn’t spectacular or special in any way. That being said, it also wasn’t terrible. I also tried the Awake black tea and that was decent as well.
I can definitely see them being a gateway drug to this addicting beverage we call tea. It’s also nice that since I live so close to NYC, I can now pretty much find a decent cuppa on every street corner. I’ve heard the coffee folks aren’t fans but then I really wouldn’t expect them to be. Monday I plan on trying to Darjeeling because I am wondering what the difference is between their full leaf and filter bags.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I don’t often use infusers but they are useful when I’m feeling lazy or need to make a cup on the run. I was recently contacted by Copco to test out one of their products. The Lily Pad Tea Ball they sent me consisted of a stainless steel steeping basket that connected to a silicone lily pad. The idea of the lily pad is to collect excess water to help keep surfaces clean and dry. Not only was it adorable but it was also quite functional and easier to use than other infusers I have encountered. I don’t recommend using it with small leaf particle teas like Irish breakfast but otherwise it works perfectly. It was easy to clean after use as well. I love the modern look of this line and I find myself wanting all of it, especially their personal tea pots.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I haven’t tasted anything quite like this tea. The tulsi lends a very unique flavor. It was just the right amount of spicy without being overbearing. Teatulia’s black teas are some of the best I have had and this one is no exception. I am glad that my sample consisted of several tea bags so that I can enjoy it a few more times. I plan to try it iced and I am sure that it will be just as delicious. I would definitely recommend this tea.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The leaves of this tea were long and needle shaped with various shades of brown. They had a sweet and malty aroma typical of yunnan teas. I prepared this tea gong fu style, with a gaiwan and boiling water. According to Norbu, the whole leaf and bud were hand picked, processed, and rolled by hand in the Spring Harvest period of 2009. The resulting tea maintained the same aroma and had a light mahogany color.
I struggled to describe this tea because it had a depth that I have not often found in black teas. It had a thick and creamy mouth feeling but went down smoothly. The taste was pleasantly rich and complex. It lasted several infusions, each one a little less astringent than the last. The leaves took some time to completely unfurl, reminding me of a dan cong oolong. I have been impressed by every Norbu offering I have tried thus far. I am not much of a black tea drinker but I would definitely recommend this tea.
It seems I’ve gotten lucky with this recent batch of samples, I don’t think there has been a single one that I didn’t enjoy.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The leaves expand quite a bit and it’s a bit surreal watching a bright green triangle floating in my cup. This tea is sweet and vegetal with a pleasant aftertaste. The only complaint that I might have is that this tea gives me caffeine jitters if I have more than one cuppa. I found that a bit odd since I often consume copious amounts of strong black tea without having that affect. I would definitely recommend this tea and plan to try some of their other selections the next time I need to restock.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
My main reason for wanting to go is that Ito En operates a kiosk inside. Their green tea ice cream seemed very popular despite the freezing weather we had that day. The store in NYC is a much better option if you are actually looking to make something other than an impulse purchase. I was hoping to get a good cuppa oolong after dinner but was a little disappointed to see that they served bagged tea. It wasn’t terrible but I was at least expecting loose leaf in a filter bag. While I was there I picked up a tin of lavender sencha, a review of it will follow soon.
I loved the housewares store here and drove my boyfriend crazy wandering in circles with a silly grin on my face. Amazingly I managed to resist the urge to buy any teaware, though there was a lot to choose from. If it was Japanese they had it, kimonos to Hello Kitty. They also had some really nice furniture. If I ever win the lottery I plan to return with a bucket full of money so that I can finally convert a corner of my home to a mini tea house. The book store didn’t have too much for me since most of the books were in Japanese but I did find a book on Japanese tea ceremonies (again, review on its way).
All in all I am glad that I finally made the trek. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was still pretty awesome. It’s actually closer to home than I thought it was so I may become a more frequent shopper, much to the chagrin on my wallet.
Ana Beall’s Tea Room. I’ve always admired the charming little pots that they serve their tea in. My favorite one is a really deep midnight blue. They have recently added a gift shop and I was giddy to see that they had one for sale. The picture doesn’t quite get it the shade of blue right. It really is more of a very dark cobalt color. It was an inexpensive little set and I decided it was time I actually own a tea cup that has handles . They are all made by Old Amsterday Porcelain Works.