We’re not going to lie, we are drawn to nice food packaging designs. Of course this extends to one of our passions, tea, as well. If you’re perusing though the aisles of any Chinese grocery story or specialty store you’ll usually be able to find some nicely packaged teas in appealing tins of all shapes and sizes. So when we went to the Chinese gift emporium Pearl River Market in NYC (477 Broadway, between Grand St. and Broom St. in Soho) we thought we must have hit the jackpot. Pearl River is a veritable pantheon of garish, fun and colorful tea tins. Some of the showiest tins, with something of a retro flair, come from a Hong Kong company called Guang Sang Tea (which also goes by the imprint Roland). If you’re not in NYC, you can peruse the selection of tea tins at Pearl River online. The Roland vanilla tea tin at left is one of our favorites.
Category Archives: Tea
We are really loving the blog Appetite for China lately. They have lovely pictures, and we are learning all sorts of fascinating facts about Chinese cuisine. One AforC post in particular that struck us was about an alternative tea party, featuring food made with tea, including classic tea eggs and tea flavored banana bread. Well, when we think ‘tea party’ it conjures up images of either kids and dolls or old stuffy ladies with watercress sandwiches, so we were pretty inspired. The recipe for Matcha Almond Icebox Cookies sounded so good we might make them for our own alternative tea party. No watercress allowed.
Colorado-based Two Leaves and a Bud is a brand of tea we’ve been enjoying recently. They specialize in whole-leaf single origin teas from India, China, Japan and Africa. We’re a big fan of the delicate Darjeeling tea from India and the Tamayokucha from Japan. You can buy the teas either loose, or in pyramid-shaped sachets made out of a biodegradable cornstarch material (they don’t melt in your tea, though!). A feature of the site we particularly enjoy is the tea map, which provides the latitude and longitude of where their teas are sourced. It’s no secret we love maps.
We got a lovely sample of tea from M’s family when they were passing through Savannah, Georgia. It’s called Emperor’s Bride, and its fragrant, fruity aroma was perfect for us sweet tooths [teeth?]. Little did we know that this tea is actually a popular Finnish variety known as Keisarin Morsian (Literally, ‘Emperor’s Bride’ in Finnish). Though it is popular there, it is almost unknown elsewhere. In fact, we had trouble finding any information on it at all. What we do know is that Keisarin Morsian is a black tea blend with tea leaves from Ceylon and Assam, and it is flavored with pineapple chunks and orange peel. We tried Keisarin Morsian both iced and hot, and it’s perfect with just a spoonful of sugar (guess we are not tea purists). You can buy some from The Savannah Tea Room online, or at their store (7 East Broughton Street, Savannah, GA).
The new eater kitchen has been stocking up with some nifty international implements lately. Following on the heels of our Molcajete from Mexico is our new Kyusu from Japan. You have probably seen a Kyusu before – it’s just the Japanese word for “teapot”. More specifically though, Kyusu usually refers to a style of clay/ceramic teapot with a single handle.
They are considered especially well-suited to brewing green tea, or Japanese sencha. Sencha is supposed to be brewed in small batches, and is well suited to these little pots. My new white ceramic Kyusu is Muji Brand [this link is in Japanese – it’s a miracle I found it…], courtesy of my cousin Lauren. Tea Nerd has a ton of information about the Kyusu, including places to purchase them.
Chocolate and tea are probably two of our favorites foods, so when we found a product that combined both we were more than happy. The Dolfin Green Tea Bar, or more properly Au Lait au The Vert Sencha du Japon (Milk with Sencha Green Tea from Japan) is a 32% milk chocolate bar with 5% green tea (about $4 for an 9 oz. bar). We usually prefer dark chocolate, but can understand why they went with milk chocolate – to counter the natural bitterness of green tea. You can really taste the tea flavor, sweet and woodsy, but unfortunately the chocolate itself is a little gritty. We did not love the whole texture of this bar, especially since it is not very cheap. Overall, a little disappointed. We know there are other chocolate/tea bars, though, perhaps they will execute this concept better.
Tea is something of an obsession for the Eaters. We currently have probably about 40 varieties of teas in our possession at this moment. One of our latest favorites is Ito En Jasmine Pearl Tea. It’s a whole leaf hand-rolled tea, which unfurls when you steep it. We were previously not big fans of Jasmine teas, since when they are bad, they are really bad. However, Ito En made us a believer. Ito En certainly is not a cheap variety ($18 for 3 oz.), but it’s delicious. Bottled Ito En teas are also now becoming available at stores like Whole Foods, if you want to try them out.