Thursday, October 31, 2013

David’s Tea

I just had a David'sTea experience!  I’d been hearing about this Canadian tea company for a while and I’ve even passed it a few times in the mall.  I had been pretty disdainful about going in because I suspected it was something of an irreverent fast food nation version of a tea shop.  David’s is a retail store selling only dry leaf tea and it is a fast growing chain from Canada with about 100 stores there and over 10 stores in the U.S. so far, in California, Massachusetts, New York , Connecticut and Illinois.[1] The company was founded in 2008 by a 28 year old tea lover and his business retailer cousin.[2]

David’s tea is tea shop with white and blue decor and brightly lit display shelves.  This and even the unusual names of their teas seemed a little odd to me.  But it happened that I was passing by the store and the staff handed me a sample.  I tasted it and it wasn't bad at all, not at all. Then what really caught my attention was their Red Velvet which I saw in an open container someone next to me was smelling.  I took a smell, too.  It reminded me of a birthday party.  So I spoke to the sales clerk a little and she asked me about what teas I liked.  I was still skeptical as I was telling her about my favorites.  She brought out a few different dry leaf mixes in tins for me to sniff.  I was impressed that a pretty high percentage of what they have is organic.  The tea mixes also smelled good.

Actually, they smelled sooo good I kind of got carried away with smelling different mixes.  They had the Red Velvet which smells like cake; they had a Pumpkin Chai; they had a Very Berry that had dried super berries in it; they had a roibus; they had a yuerba mate with chocolate in it; they had another flavor that had tiny balls of sugar that looked like gold but dissolved in water.  What a surprising number of creative ideas!
The Cream of Earl Grey, which is heavy on the bergomat and with essence of vanilla, caught my fancy.  I was sold…I couldn't resist buying.  My tea was packed for me in a little plastic satchel.   I think what really reels people in is you can buy any amount you want.  It’s sold as loose tea by the weight, not in tea bags.  I just bought a small amount which I'm going to have at breakfast.  I can tell already I'll be won over… we'll see how it goes in the morning.

…time passes…

It’s now the morning and I’m ready to report my findings.  The Cream of Earl Grey had layers of flavors and was more sweet than I’d expected.  It had a long lingering after taste.  Maybe a little too much personality for a morning wake-me-up, my more meditative, introspective moment.  It seems perfect, though, for a more social time, like after a lunch with friends or a celebration.  With so many tea options, David’s Tea just may have a flavor for every occasion.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tea in a Genie Bottle

I always imagined that a genie lived in comfort with plush pillows, vibrant colors, ornate patterns, and warm lighting. My tea experience at SiTea was like having tea in the intimate and relaxing ambiance of a genie bottle. SiTea is a spice boutique and a vegetarian and vegan tea cafe in Takoma Park, a town on the border of the U.S. Capitol and the state of Maryland.

SiTea is a true tea lounge, a place where I wanted to spend hours just sipping my tea and indulging. SiTea smelled of exotic spiced tea and the décor was just as exotic. The ambiance is designed to whisk the customers away to a realm of imagination or maybe the days of ancient royalty in Eastern countries. Rich soothing colors of gold and eggplant adorned the walls. The lounge was filled with a pleasing plethora of colors in the carpets, tapestries, drapes and even in the large bouquet of roses that were peach, purple, yellow, red and white. There were intricately carved teak wood sofas, chairs and panels and alluring stone Hindu statutes. There were lavish ottomans and stuffed cushions with playful patterns and textures, including faux leopard skin. Music of beloved classic jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong played softly in the background adding to the soothing mix of colors, smells, sounds and sensations.

And the tea service! Our tea was beautifully presented on a wooden tray in gorgeous cast iron tea kettles, each warmed by matching small cast iron burners containing tea light candles. Delicate small tea cups in shining white porcelain were arranged on the tea tray along with our food order of vegetable samosas (stuffed pastry snack from India) and a potato curry soup. I had the house recommended tea of the day, almond milk chai. The tea and food were delicious. While there was ample seating, there was a noticeable lack of tables and our order was served on an ottoman.

SiTea sells its own blend of dry loose leaf teas that its customers can take home. SiTea loose leaf blends to watch out for include “Sweet Georgia Brown,” which is peach-ginger black tea, and “Idris,” which is chocolate chai tea.  The cast iron kettles and burners are sold along with other tea accessories and seasonings inspired by Middle East and the Caribbean.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Whimsical Tea at T-We Tea

Have you ever had a tea cocktail?  The night I stopped by T-We Tea for its monthly after-work happy hour, I had an iced tea called “Scandalous Manfriend” mixed with actual moonshine liquor. [1]  This blend of darjeeling, spearmint and peppercorn combined with moonshine, made the best iced tea I’ve ever had.  Scandalous indeed!

It was just a week ago that I came across T-We Tea, a small startup business in downtown San Francisco, created by tea specialist Christopher Coccagna.  Coccagna is a self described “TEA Gentlemen,” according to his website, whose goal is to bring “charm and whimsy into this world one pot at a time.” [2]   He does that at T-We Tea creating small batch hand blended tea mixes.

T-We Tea’s blends are as unique as the names - Oolong Rouge, Hipsters in Wonderland, Flailing Princess, Cuddle Bug. I bought a few to try at home and they tasted great.  They included surprising ingredients like carrot chips and even coconut.  I found the flavors complemented the tea, not overwhelmed it.  At the shop in the center of the space is an interactive display…no, not digital!  It’s where customers can browse samples of the product to see what the blends look like and smell them, too.  There’s no seating as the product is sold as dry blends for use at home.

T-We Tea stands out for its ability to share a sense of adventure.  Playful names, unique and tastey teas, and yummy cocktails at an after-work tea social…I was charmed.
[1] Legal nowadays and also known as un-aged white whiskey.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...