Tuesday, October 17, 2017

An NYC Afternoon of Tea and Friendship


I live in a quiet little corner of New Jersey. It's not always perfect but it does have the advantage of easy travel to NYC. I am also lucky enough to have a small tribe of wonderful women there who all love the leaf as much as I do. From time to time an email will go out like the Bat-Signal, gathering us all together for tea.


We started our day off at La Colombe Coffee Roasters' Chelsea location. Alexis from Teaspoons & Petals is their tea consultant and we were all excited to see the debut of their newest tea offering, Silverton pour over Matcha Gyokyro! The Silverton pour over brewers they had in the cafe are seriously drool-worthy. I don't need one...but I definitely want one after seeing them in action. My cup was expertly brewed, a perfect blend of everything that I love about both matcha and gyokuro. This is definitely one to check out if you are ever in one of their cafes that offer it. Once we had all gotten our fix at La Colombe, it was time to hop in an Uber to the International Culinary Center.

Pour Over Matcha Gyokuro at La Colombe

The International Culinary Center was kind enough to allow us to hold a small tea party in their library. Surrounded by beautiful books and wonderful friends, my senses were quite overwhelmed. Keiko from Rishi Tea put together an incredible exploration of Japanese green teas. I was particularly excited to have the chance to compare different teas. Yabukita is by far the most prevalent cultivar so my not-so-inner tea nerd was ready to really dig into teas made with Okumidori, Saemidori, and Machiko.

So many delicious teas to taste!

One thing that our group has in common other than tea is that we all have a bit of a sweet tooth. Not only did she lay out a beautiful table but Keiko also tempted us with delicious mochi and macarons. Darlene also surprised us all with raspberry flavored Kit Kats, a perfect accompaniment for all of the matcha that we were drinking. The black lilies made for a really striking visual and I'm still admiring one in a vase on my kitchen table as I'm writing this post.




The Shincha Machiko was a definite standout for me. I tried it at a previous tasting and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Machiko is a cultivar known for its unique cherry blossom aroma. Although the entire tasting consisted only of Japanese green teas, they were each distinctive and unique. Vertical and horizontal comparisons help to increase our understanding of tea. I highly recommend putting together a similar menu of your own if the opportunity ever presents itself.


Needless to say, I was more than a bit tea drunk by the time we were finished. That didn't stop me from wandering over to T Shop afterward with Jo. After sharing many sips of Yu Shan oolong (anything but green tea!), I was ready for the train ride(s) home.

I'll be sure to link to other blog posts about our gathering here:

Flights of Fancy - Tea Happiness
Rishi Tea, Rediscovering a Brand - Scandalous Tea
Rishi Tea Flight Tasting - Notes on Tea

Do you have a favorite kind of Japanese green tea? Let me know about it in the comments!