Friday, May 23, 2014

A Tea Sampler Moment

This is going to sounds very odd, but one of my greatest joys is packaging up samples of tea. I could do it all day. Carefully scooping out loose tea from a bag or bin and letting it slide out into a tiny sample bag and then sealing all the goodness into that little package. Then placing the label on it and wondering if the recipient will love the tea as much as I did.

So when a friend from the industry (my jobby-job industry, not the tea industry), casually mentioned that he was making a transition from tea to coffee and asked for my opinions and suggestions on where to begin, well, frankly he just didn't know how he had just made my day!

All packaged up and ready to go!

I currently have close to 200 different teas in my tea cupboard (read: pantry), and so deciding what to include in a small sampling is no small feat. Without taking you through the mental gymnastics I performed in order to come up with my choices, let's just cut right to the chase and talk about the final decision:

Black Teas (great for your heart, mind, and even your teeth!):
Irish Breakfast from California Tea and Coffee Brewery - This is my consistent go-to morning cup of tea. It is hand blended by one of the owners, Diane, and it is the strongest, best Irish blend I've met yet. I love it.

Anastasia from American Tea Room - A beautiful introduction to floral-infused black teas. The light hints of floral notes elevates the  Chinese black tea, rather than weighing it down.

Lapsang Souchong from Joseph Wesley Black Tea - This is the tea that changed my mind about Lapsang Souchongs. It has a subtle smokiness without making you feel like you're chewing on a smoldering log. It's complex and lovely.

Green Teas (known for antioxidants and more!)
Duke of Wellington from Mariages Freres - If green teas are a little challenging to acquire a taste for, this is a great first step, being a well balanced blend of black and Chinese green teas.

Moroccan Mint from Whittard of Chelsea - Another great avenue to appreciation of green tea. This is a nice blend with spearmint that keeps things light and fresh.

Teasource Green from Teasource - This is the house green tea blend, using Chinese green tea, which is more earthy and less grassy than Japanese green teas.

Toasted Walnut from DavidsTea - The best possible introduction to Sencha, which is Japanese green tea. The blend with walnut and coconut is absolutely mind-blowing (objectively-speaking).

Oolong Tea (great for your skin, bones and more!)
Milk Oolong from American Tea Room - The first time you taste a milk oolong is a magical moment. How does it taste so creamy without any milk being added? It's a weird and wonderful creation, and this is my personal favorite version.

Rooibos (a caffeine-free African red bush "tea" with a long list of health benefits)
The Liberator from Java Tea Co. - The perfect transition from coffee to tea because this is where chicory, green tea and rooibos come together in an amazing way.

Vanilla Rooibos from Chateau Rouge - A surprisingly satisfying blend that is frankly unexpected.

Lemoncello from American Tea Room - A perfect blend for summer, with lemongrass and marigold.

Yerba Mate (has it's own set of health benefits) -
Mango Chili Mexican Mate - I had to throw this one in just because it's a little crazy. You either love it or hate it. In any case, you've just gotta try it.

So the thought hit me. It's about time for me to clear out my Tea Cupboard (um, pantry), and I'd love to share the wealth. Would anyone be interested in being a recipient of a random sample of teas, probably 10 different teas, and you'd just pay a small flat fee to cover postage? It would enable me to introduce a lot of people to A LOT of different teas from amazing tea companies, and it would allow me to indulge in my guilty pleasure of packaging tea samples. Win-Win!

Comment below if you're interested, and if there is enough interest, I'll set up a way to start sending out packages in the next couple of weeks!

Enjoy, my friend! (You know who you are)

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