Tea-ventures

6 Mar

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In case you wanted to see a super-pretentious (candid, I promise) photo of me drinking tea, now is your chance.

Thank my friends for feeling they needed to take one for my tea-blogging.

Coincidentally (sort of), I also have to write about tea for work. Tea places in the city, that is. So recently, my friends and I made a day out of senior ball dress shopping by stopping to grab tea after.

And for the record, senior ball dress shopping is a day in itself, really. It’s like prom all over again… except this time around, I am rather horrified by how much dresses cost. I’m NOT willing to spend that much — “that much” meaning I’m cutting out at $200.  And that’s if it’s the only dress I love. (Preferably, no more than $100.)

Anyway, after discovering that dress shopping on the island is a nightmare, we detoured at Harney and Sons in SoHo. Not only did I benefit because of work, but my friends — who love some of the loose leaf blends — did also.

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The best part about Harney and Sons is how appealing it is to the indecisive. Each of the teas at this store is hand-selected or crafted by the family company, and lest you not know which of the 100 you would like to buy — they have a tea bar where you can get two free samples. The “tea master” (your barista) will brew to perfection whichever two teas you’d like to try.

Their blueberry green tea was actually quite delicious also — and that means something because I do not like green tea very much. It wasn’t too tart and it didn’t taste like I was eating a plant (which is usually what I taste upon consuming green tea).

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In addition to a tea bar, this “gourmet” tea shop also has a tea lounge, where you can sit and get a pot of tea, along with food. I would describe it as garden-food (clearly I like my burgers), since most of the menu from what I remember consisted of salads, and small tea sandwiches with lettuce and cucumber, etc. It was definitely  pricier than I hoped, so I didn’t actually sit to eat.

And finally, if you discover something you love, they also sell their products there in the store, in loose leaf and sachet form. Please, for the love of all that is good, buy loose leaf tea. Although the sachets are much easier, loose leaf will give you a better cup with the correct brewing process (post coming soon). To clarify — sachets are a type of tea bag but made of a loose, soft cloth-like material. They are better than regular tea-bags when you are in a hurry because they better allow the tea leaves to expand while steeping.

But let’s be real, tea from tea bags is still delicious and half of what I drink all the time is from a tea bag. My favorite teas don’t even come in sachets. Although the time-saving difference between loose leaf and tea bags really isn’t that great, realistically loose leaf requires cleaning a tea ball. If you are one of those people who keeps the phrase “ain’t nobody got time for that” handy (or you just don’t care, which is totally acceptable too) maybe don’t buy loose leaf right now, but at some point you should.

So, if you’d like to try something new and you A) are in the SoHo neighborhood, or B) are up for a trip to lower Manhattan, it’s worth a visit.

And because I am in a digital photo class and have to keep a photo-journal, I had my camera with me. After I snapped some pictures,  my friends promptly took my camera away (I think they are becoming frustrated with my minimum-of-80-photos-per-week requirement) and they proceeded to take pictures of me as I consumed something called Golden Monkey — a Chinese black tea with baked apricot and chocolate.

ImageThe result? A slighty bourgie / hipstery / pretentious photo I am rather embarrassed by…. that I now really don’t feel like sharing.

Maybe later. 

But I will show you this….

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.…I think I have a problem.

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