Sunday, October 11, 2015

Seattle Breakfast black tea

Black tea blend
Perennial Tea Room

Ingredients: Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian black teas in Perennial Tea's trademarked blend.

Not far from the oldest Starbucks location in Seattle is dear little Perennial Tea Room in Post Alley, hidden behind a wooden bench and hanging flower pots. The man welcoming customers and calmly explaining tea origins is an absolute gentleman and an incredible knowledge resource. I could have stayed all day, and maybe they would have let me, since there are two cozy tables with chairs and four tea brews going for customers to try.

Being new to the Pacific Northwest and Pike Place Market, and dangerously close to running out of breakfast tea at home, of course I bought his Seattle Breakfast tea.

The blend has grayish leaves with some honey-colored buds. It smells a bit earthy like Indian teas, maybe both Assam and Darjeeling? I don't know, because I think the blend is a secret. Maybe I will ask my gentleman friend very politely next time.

At the tea room, each tea is on display and available to smell. Teas are packaged in pre-labeled bags with specialized instructions.

Pre-heating my single-cup-sized $2 Goodwill find Brown Betty teapot and Pottery Barn wedding gift mug.

These mug tea strainers complete the experience. I love seeing them in period piece films. Perennial Tea was selling a similar one with longer, more intricate sides and a round metal strainer rest to go with it.

And now, for the taste! It's a smooth, dusty flavor to match the earthy smell of the dry leaves. Expertly blended for flavor that's rich but mellow. Liquor is dark with deep red hue.

It's nearly a shame to put milk in it, but after drinking half a cup I do, and it's the milky light brown color I love to see, with a touch of gray. I enjoyed the tea so much, I decided to cook a full breakfast and brew a second cup. It goes well with a hearty meal, too.

Some color variation in the wet leaves.

I'm at the end of a box of PG tips at home, and while I respect that tea to the ends of the earth, it's been getting a bit malty for me with what I believe is the Ceylon. I was pleased to find this Seattle Breakfast with a more mellow profile than its other breakfast counterparts.

Seattle Breakfast blend is perfect for misty mornings like this.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Why tea people love the Pacific Northwest

Sorry for the silence. I've moved! I'm in the Pacific Northwest. I hope my tea friends are having fun at the Northwest Tea Festival today. Crimson Lotus Tea, I need to meet you! Soon!

There's a moving pod full of necessary (not necessary) belongings to unload today, so I've stayed home this weekend in my new little Craftsman house.

Pittsburgh, you've been great. But now I'm ready to drink all the tea in Seattle.

Yes, Seattle is all about coffee. So why am I convinced that the Pacific Northwest is for tea drinkers?

Reason #1: Evergreens.

Feeling deep? Feeling moody? Of course you are. There are evergreens everywhere, your new dramatic sentinels. Tea people love green that stays green. These evergreens aren't tea plants, but I intend to stare them down every day. Over the rim of my tea cup.

Kitchens with farmhouse sinks are great, too. 

Reason #2: Shit grows here.

It was a sad day in Pittsburgh when I finally gave up on the iris bulbs I had planted in the cruel clay soil. Other lucky people managed to grow food in Pennsylvania, but after three years of waiting for those irises to bloom, I swore off gardening forever. Sadness no more! It rains here. Shit grows. I can pluck vegetables without paying tax on them (perhaps only paying tax on the seeds?).

Zucchini adventures.

What is this, chard or something?

Beer. People make beer here. This house's previous owners, did. What to do with these hops? Figure out how to make beer, that's what.

The Pacific Northwest has a strong kombucha following, too. Metronome Coffee serves kombucha on tap!

Woodinville, the "Napa of the Northwest," produces wines such as Chateau Ste. Michelle and beer from Redhook Brewery. Don't forget the amazing Elysian Brewing in Seattle. Costco was selling cases of Night Owl Pumpkin Ale in the $26.99 range up here! That price is unheard of in Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, when a beer you like is available for sale, you RUN and get it, and then you hoard it. Pennsylvania state controls the sale of alcohol and that makes things very tricky for drink lovers.

Reason #3: All the coffee/tea shops!

Don't panic: chances are, you are only one mile or one block away from the closest Starbucks. In Honesdale, Pennsylvania, I was an hour away from Starbucks. But now, the height of culture is mine.


Self-explanatory Starbucks visit.


Cardamom Apple Rum Latte from Metronome Coffee

Victrola Coffee Roasters on Pike Street is sold at Metronome Coffee, so that's what I'm making in my French press these days. Because yes! In the misty mornings here, coffee just makes sense. I hadn't bought coffee for the house in half a year, then suddenly I need it. I can't explain it. It's just this place.

World Spice Merchants in Seattle is like a tea shop, but for spices. Each spice has 1 oz displayed in a glass jar for you to smell and get a sense of volume. Carry a pad and pencil with you and write down your order for the clerk to measure out. They sell tea, too.

Tea Ave, specializing in Taiwanese oolong, is north in Vancouver.

Crimson Lotus Tea in Seattle specializes in puerh. Which means I have a lot to learn from them. Which means I'm taking a drive north, soon.

Pacific Northwest, I love you.