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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Southwest Tea Fest to Debut in Downtown Las Vegas

Have you heard about this?

This year’s SW Tea Fest will be held at the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market on Saturday, February 27th, 2016, from 10:00am – 5:00pm. 

If you are in the area I recommend you attend!

Tealet and Joy’s Teaspoon, both of Las Vegas, are proud to announce the debut of the Southwest Tea Fest. It is the cities first and only tea festival, focusing on quality tea and tea culture. “When people think tea culture and tea happenings, they think New York, Chicago, and Seattle. The SW Tea Fest gives us a chance to showcase all of the great businesses and cultural groups that are bringing tea right to our own backyard,” says Joy’s Teaspoon owner, Naomi Rosen. The SW Tea Fest will kick-off at 10:00am on Saturday, February 27th, 2016, at the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market, right in the heart of vibrant Downtown Las Vegas.  “We are excited to showcase the tea and art culture of the Southwest and hope Vegas locals and travelers come check out what Downtown has to offer,” says Tealet’s CEO, Elyse Petersen.

Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased ahead of the event at www.swteafest.com.
Aside from the many cuppings, samplings, and tastings, the SW Tea Fest will also feature:
  • Wu Wo Tea Ceremony
  • Gong Fu Tea Ceremony
  • Blind Tea Tasting
  • Cupping Championship
  • Art Walk
  • Live Music and Food Trucks

Special presentations will be offered throughout the day and include:
  • The Sensuality of Tea (presented by Writer/Producer/Director James Orr)
  • US Grown Tea (presented by Rie Tulali of the US League of Tea Growers)
  • Direct Trade Tea (presented by Elyse Petersen of Tealet)
  • Matcha – Fact or Fiction (presented by Noli Ergas of Sugimoto America)
The first 500 attendees through the doors will receive Swag Bags that have been provided by PlumDeluxe.com, home to an on-line magazine, web community, and monthly tea subscription box.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

Friday, January 1, 2016

Park Hyatt Washington’s Tea Cellar

Park Hyatt Washington’s Tea Cellar
1201 24th St NW, Washington, DC 20037

Park Hyatt Washington’s Tea Table is available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. To make a reservation for afternoon tea please call +1 202 419 6620 or visit www.parkhyattwashington.com.

I heard about the Park Hyatt Washington’s Tea Cellar - and went with my grade school friends in September 2010. We were having a gathering. We sat in a glass enclosed area which was great for chattering while we ate without interrupting or being interrupted.

There were many tea assorted sandwiches on bread, and an assortment of sweets.

For a fixed price you could eat as many sandwiches and sweets from the buffet as you like, and get a pot of tea to share. I remember enjoying the sandwiches and sweets alike.

I had issue with the teapots. Which I will get into more later. But suffice it to say it was a lovely time with friends, but disappointing that they were out of macrons.

A nice tea service but not so remarkable I would recommend it or greatly desire to go back.

Pictures 2010



2015 - I hear they have re-launched and have a tea specialist Christian Eck, so I decide to try again.

I told a friend about it, and he took his wife a few weeks before we went. They unfortunately had a bad experience.

The complaints he had were that when they went the buffet price didn't include tea, and they were charged extra. When we attended together a few weeks later we were informed tea up to 12$ was included after that we had to pay. I wonder what went wrong with that during his visit?

He also indicated they had poor service in general, two examples being they had to stack plates as they were not cleared between buffet trips, and they were not offered water for a resteep of their puerh.

Well then he and I get our chance to go - a Saturday afternoon in December.

We got an Freak of Nature Oolong, Barrel Aged Lapsang Souchong.

The Freak of Nature tasted like a typical Wuyi oolong - but I didn't have much control over the steeping.

The Lapsang Souchong had nice caramel and woody notes from the barrel to finish and was a fun thing to have, I recommend it.

We tried a resteep of each, luckily this time we were offered more water unlike his prior visit with the puerh.

The lapsang did resteep but lost the barrel aged qualities. The oolong opened up nicely, still smooth, more floral. The oolong could certainly have had more steeps but we had other things we had to get to.

The complaints I had about the tea itself are as follows:

They indicate they have some very special teas. I own a tea company so perhaps I am biased but I didn't see much unusual in the tea menu beside some assorted older purerh. There were single origin (from a single estate), aged in barrels, aged in fruits, and other things that are fairly common in the tea world currently.

"Park Hyatt Washington’s Tea Cellar is home to one of the most unique and expansive collections of tea in the United States, with over 37 rare and limited-production, single-estates teas. Featuring teas from remote regions of China, Japan, Sri Lanka and the Himalayas, as well as herbal selections from Egypt, France and Argentina, the Tea Cellar’s sophisticated offerings introduce guests to the highest quality of tea, similar to the level of flavor and complexity of fine wines. The tea experience includes White, Chinese Green, Japanese Green, Black, Herbal, Oolong, and the deepest selection of Pu-Erh teas in the country with vintages ranging from 1949 to 2003. The Tea Cellar showcases a glass tea humidor to age and store vintage tea, in addition to a lit display of tea blossoms that flower when steeped in water."

The preparations of the tea is lacking, and even if they use nice teas I bet people don't fully get to experience or enjoy them!

Specifically they do not seem to measure, by weight, the proper amount of leaves for the teapots.
My friend and his wife indicated there was very, very little puerh.
On our trip there was way too much oolong, and about the right amount of lapsang souchong.

All the water seemed equally hot, I would have expected cooler water for the oolong. I fear what would happen if I ordered a white.

In addition they bring the tea to the table, after and unknown steep time, with no way to remove the basket, and nothing to put it on if you did. This resulted in an over steeped lapsang.

I would think, to best handle guests of all levels, they might want to steep the tea the proper temperature, and time, and leaves then remove the basket and bring both to the table and explain the leaves can be made into a second pot of tea when they are ready. This would educate and make it such that each tea was prepared well and could be enjoyed without extra tannins.

I understand the aesthetic of the glass teapots, although not ideal for all teas look nice and could settle for that since they offer tea warmers - if we could better steep the tea initially and were just trying to keep it warm.

The presentation of the foods was nicer than the 2010 visit, and still the same approximate number of selections. An adequate amount I believe.

The savories are now assorted instead of all white bread sandwiches. They are tasty but skew heavily to seafood which left one poor guest with only two options of savory to eat.
I believe when we went it was lobster sandwiches, oysters, pumpkin quiche, chicken wraps and deviled eggs (which one waitstaff seemed to indicate had seafood in it).

The sweets had two kind of scones, red velvet cupcakes (which were very dry), very boring cookies (two kinds), tasty macrons (assorted flavors), some kind of lemon merange tart, a chocolate raspberry mousse cup, and there may have been something else I missed. On the whole I most enjoyed the mousse and macrons.



If I had not seen the bit about the tea specialist, I would have been pleased by the improvements. However I got my hopes up.

Overall it was a nice afternoon out with my friend, an improvement on the buffet since 2010, but still disappointing tea preparation.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tea Rose Garden - Pasadena, CA

Tea Rose Garden
70 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
http://www.tearosegarden.com/

My mother and I went to the Tea Rose Garden for the Christmas Tea.
The location was adorable - an indoor garden setting with water fountain, rose trellis, hedges and a gazebo where a bridal shower was occurring. The place was all trussed up for Christmas and was very festive.

The three layered tea tray came with
butternut squash soup - thick and spiced like a sweet potato pie
Petal salad - just spring greens with a vinaigrette
2 baked ham, brie and cranberry tea sandwich
2 chicken almond tea sandwich
2 goat cheese and sun dried tomato tea sandwich
1 mini shepards pie
1 lemon raspberry scone with clotted cream and raspberry jam.
fresh fruit
1 petit four
red velvet, gingerbread and peppermint macaroons
eggnog mousse cake
a pot of Christmas blend black tea which we resteeped twice
about 40$ for both of us

Service was a bit slow and frazzeled but very pleasant.
The food was mostly unremarkable, not bad but not great.
We both very much enjoyed the red velvet macaroon, the butternut squash soup, the baked ham and brie sandwich, and found the scone amazingly moist and tasty. Everything else was uneventful.

Many of the items there were only one of so you had to share, which is no problem as my mother and I are happy to share food but something to be aware of for those who might not.

The teabag (tsac) was left in the teapot, leading to oversteeping if you aren't careful. this is becoming a peeve of mine in afternoon teas. Please steep the tea properly, or bring out a timer and dish and tongs to remove the tea!

I forgot to note what the christmas tea was spice with, but it mainly came out cardamom, but was enjoyable.

We had to go to the register to pay, it was a little awkward as no one said anything and perhaps we should have waited on a check?




American Tea Room - Los Angeles, CA

American Tea Room
909 S Santa Fe Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90021
http://www.americantearoom.com/pages/los-angeles#0

My sister was displeased with the area it was located in, she said if she had known where we were going we would not have gone after dark.

The building and interior itself were gorgeous, high ceilings, exposed woodwork, very crisp and modern tables and chairs.

I loved the test tube smelling area. You could scan then and a screen would tell you all about them.

The staff was friendly, helpful, but not pushy.

I got the Himalayan Butter Tea (Nepalese Black, Oolong & Pu Er Tea, Butter, Salt, Milk, Honey)

It tasted spiced, I liked the texture of the butter, but I would have sworn there were spices in it and it was interesting but not something I would get again.

There were an assortment of gold mylar bags, gift boxes, and tea ware one could buy and take home, in the outdoor seating area there was a living wall.

I enjoyed the visit and would gladly go back, apparently only before dark.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lipton Tea Teabag Herbal Tisane 'Cinnamon Apple'

Tea Information:
Tea: Cinnamon Apple
Type: Herbal Tisane (Tea is technically only from the camellia sinensis plant)
Packaging: Teabag
Company: Lipton Tea
Purchase: Local grocery store
Ingredients: Cinnamon, hibiscus flowers, chamomile flowers, roasted chicory root, allspice, orange peel, roasted carob, natural cinnamon and apple flavors with other natural flavors (soy)

Steep Information:
Amount: 2 bags
Water: ~500ml at 212°F
Steep Time: a little over # minutes https://www.teaity.com/
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: cinnamon, paper
Steeped Tea Smell: apple, cinnamon, fall
Flavor: sweet apple, cinnamon
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: cinnamon
Liquor: translucent dark orange brown

yummm, fall

Rating: 3/4 leaves

Leaf system:
1=Bleh! not again if it were free
2=Acceptable, if it were free or there were limited other tea options
3=I might purchase this tea from time to time, or select it while out
4=A staple in our cupboard from now on, I will purchase and keep purchasing


I purchased this product. All my reviews are as unbiased as possible, whether I buy or receive free product. I accept no other compensation other than free product.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Annual Lady Devotea Day

A few days late, time got away from me, but let us celebrate Lady Devotea, also known as Anne.

Thanks to my adventures in tea, and the tea blogging community I have gotten the opportunity to work with and meet in person many amazing people, among them the not not often seen Lady Devotea (Anne) and her husband the infamous Robert Godden.

Not only is she his partner, but his editor too (you have read his book The Infusiast haven't you?)

Anne is a kind and cheerful woman with a knack for understanding both people and trends.

She can and will do anything she set her mind to.

Last year she opened a tea cafe in the United Kingdom, sadly she had to close it to move back to Australia - but she did it in a amazingly short amount of time.

In the past she also successfully ran a service assisting many Onkaparinga council residents to manage anxiety/panic disorder and depression in order to enter or re-enter the workforce. You can read more about the attempts to pick that project up again here: http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/ideas/anxiety-to-work-project

So raise a cup to this amazing woman, Happy Birthday Anne!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tea of the United States first annual awards

From http://www.totus1awards.com/

"Tea of the United States - also known as "TOTUS" is the first national tea competition specifically for USA grown tea.  The TOTUS Awards is open to all tea farms, researchers and beginning growers whose tea crop origin is cultivated in US soil.

The TOTUS Awards will be held November 2015, headquartered in Hawaii, hosted by the Hawaii Tea Society in partnership with the Volcano Art Center, The Kohala Center,  Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council  and Hawaii Farmers Union United."


Any grower can participate and they would love bloggers to write about it!
They are hoping to encourage origin pride of US based tea growers.

 

Sip Alert

Check out this prototype of the @sip_alert #sipsafe a device that alerts you when the water gets cool enough to drink without scalding (or reminds you you have tea getting cold)

Sign up for the mailing list to find out more as updates come before the kickstarter begins! http://eepurl.com/bjBzF5



Myths & Legends of Tea

Gary, of TeaWithGary has published a book!
Myths & Legends of Tea

This first volume in the series features six stories, each accompanied by a profile of the tea featured in the story, and a prologue that sets the stage.
  • Prologue: The Origin of Tea
  • The Japanese Tea Ceremony: Tea, Serenity & Death
  • The Iron Goddess of Mercy
  • Earl Grey: This Water Sucks!
  • Teatime in Georgia: The Birth of Southern Sweet Tea
  • Oriental Beauty: The Braggart’s Tea
  • Post-apocalyptic Earl Grey
You should go check it out
http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Legends-Tea-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B00X0FI7UM

you can read a summary of his book here: http://teawithgary.com/2015/05/01/myths-legends-at-last/

World Tea Expo Tea Blogger Roundtable

Time for the tea blogger round table (third annual)

Today's moderator is @TeaWithGary http://teawithgary.com/

Panelists are
@joysteaspoon https://www.joysteaspoon.com/blog/
@chrisagiddings http://www.tea-guy.com/
@scandaloustea http://scandaloustea.teatra.de/
@lazy_literatus http://steepstories.com/
@teamoment http://internationalteamoment.blogspot.com/
@RachelKCarter http://iheartteas.teatra.de/
@teaformeplease http://teaformeplease.com/

Panelist @joysteaspoon also is on the board of the US league of tea growers

Next panelist is @chrisagiddings of @Teaity http://teaity.com/ - with a new tea device being announced soon!

Enjoy stories and tales? check out panelist @lazy_literatus

Jen talks about tea in her life and those moments @teamoment

blogger @RachelKCarter  writes about things that interest and inspire her and owns @iHeartTeas

panelist @teaformeplease is a tea reviewer who does podcasts, videos and more - amazing information

final panelist @scandaloustea  writes about anything tea

Blogging is not a zero sum game, one blog doesn't "steal" readers from another blog.

Q: how do people find your blog?

A: @joysteaspoon  other blogs, social media, reshares  @chrisagiddings  echos that with an addition of searches online
A: @scandaloustea echos majority from other bloggers though  @lazy_literatus echo plus companies he has reviewed resharing
A: @teamoment a lot of incoming traffic from other bloggers that have her blog listed on theirs on the sidebar
A: @RachelKCarter  b/c of our varied interests there is a lot of cross promotion - that expands out to each others friends
A: @teaformeplease majority of her traffic is searches finding reviews of a tea she has featured

Q:  what do you find are the most read posts on your blog and why?

A: @teaformeplease  informational posts - how to season yixing - how to make matcha
A: @RachelKCarter  recipes that i post (she is  a mad scientist)
A: @teamoment  runaway hits have been a focus on a tea or tea venue and i have the opportunity to get into the owner/why focus on a person behind the tea is always a runaway hit - human interest
A: @lazy_literatus love and death (Shakespearean). occasionally between those are unique things no one else has - like japanese white teas
A: @scandaloustea the things she is most passionate about seem to inspire readers to read example: Fine words butter no parsnips  also tea shops (reviews) around the country
A: @chrisagiddings device reviews like accessories or water heaters
A: @joysteaspoon writes for multiple blogs - telling stories about the tea growers, or tea grown in the US seem popular
A: @TeaWithGary Unique. Passion. People.
A: @TeaWithGary passion, often in a rant works well

Q: Do you post on a schedule?
A: @joysteaspoon no i have kids @chrisagiddings when i did the traffic was not sticky - now no longer and stickier
A: @scandaloustea  no she doesn't - she has tried but it stressed her out and caused the rate to actually drop
A: @lazy_literatus he did a schedule for a bit  but good posts were getting lost in fluff, better to do one post better
A: @teamoment  varies from prolific to trickle but she also blogs for a company twice a week which increases their traffic
A: @RachelKCarter  is a #blogginghippy
A: @teaformeplease once a day monday through friday
A: @RachelKCarter nope  she blames her same children and her husband. ;) her passion drives her posts
A: @TeaWithGary tried a specific day / time cycle (every friday at a specific time)  as a result of the Q asked last yr
A: @TeaWithGary said it totally increased readership  it makes a difference

Q: Do you do anything to specifically target a young crowd? what social media do you prefer?
A: @teaformeplease instagram sends a lot of traffic. she connects differently than on twitter  no target audience
A: @RachelKCarter geek - and never grew up so she doesn't target but gets along with. Likes instagram most then twitter
A: @teamoment  twitter has been her biggest interaction - she mostly writes about family stuff so not young targeted
A: @teamoment instagram is the current fastest growing social media  teaching her to be a better photographer
 A: @lazy_literatus knows nothing about the younger ones but is unfiltered and that seems to attract them. instagram +
 A: @scandaloustea has no idea what the young whipper snappers are ;)
 A: @scandaloustea twitter is really big for her - the numbers are increasing to her surprise. she stopped instagraming
 A: @scandaloustea is first to mention g+ - it's a lower number of people which is quiet but people see it if not interact
 A: @chrisagiddings twitter is his strongest SM platform - but his @Teaity which is more focused gets better interactions
 A: @chrisagiddings on tea-guy facebook fan page he gets better reactions than twitter. he is also an instagram convert
 A: @joysteaspoon twitter was her busiest until 6 months ago where instagram when she linked to her blog and traffic spike
 A: @joysteaspoon  #smart is super effective / @teamoment we forgot to mention pintrest!
 A: @TeaWithGary seems to be a direct correlation with twitter on followers - readers - connections
 Tag your posts with the company and they will re-tweet it and help increase your followership
 pictures increase interaction, pictures and links even more (but limit space to say anything)

 Q: what programs do you use to blog on? A: Blogger, wordpress, TeaTrade, Self written platform, Hootsuite for scheduling
 me: If this then that is also a handy tool.
audience: edgar can refresh/resurface old posts
 - every now and then go look at statistics - re surface old favorites of readers (from @TeaWithGary )
#CaveatEmptor@amazonv Although @MeetEdgar costs money.... from @DrewKaplan

 Q: if you go look at an old post - do you leave it alone or edit it?
 A: @joysteaspoon edit it @chrisagiddings not edit (part of journey) but would edit/update inaccuracies and strike out
 @scandaloustea will edit when something is needed (an update) but won't change her writing
 @lazy_literatus will only edit if something was inaccurate. maybe some grammer posts, but also avoids to preserve journey
 @teamoment and @RachelKCarter do not want to change anything - it's a diary, a journey
 @teaformeplease often goes and tweeks grammar or clarity
 @TeaWithGary edits for spelling, grammer, add footnote updates for accuracy, will edit to cross link same topic posts

 Q: How do you blog for your new shop?
 A: @TeaWithGary hire someone or pick a platform and play with a private blog and test kick the wheels, then take it live

 A: @lazy_literatus there can be a blog of just neat pictures @teamoment do what you enjoy - video, writing, pictures
 @teamoment some behind the scenes - blending pictures - bulk deliveries of tea, anything you
 A: @TeaWithGary youtube is filled with short, amateur videos - unboxing videos
 @TeaWithGary tumblr is very short quick posts
 gary is plugging #TeakuTuesday
 Gary also plugging vine 6 second videos
 @teaformeplease let your employees help and share their passion
 @teaformeplease example: 7 cups of tea employee blogging his experiences

 Q: Ghost Writing - expectations? A: @teamoment a few hours per week blogging, and some SM interaction. all gets reviewed
 @teamoment interviewing and picking a voice you like is important

 @TeaWithGary check out the tea blogger directory, and the association of tea bloggers and find voices you like

--

After the roundtable the panelists got together to celebrate with Scottish white smoked tea (beechwood) from the Field of the king