Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Meet Timmy

Spring is the time for tea plants to send out new growth, an event known as "flushing". That's where the term "first flush" comes from. Our resident tea plant, Timmy, is no exception! We noticed that Timmy has some new little leaves just making their way out now.

Timmy is still pretty small, just about a year old. In about 3 or 4 years, he'll be big enough to harvest leaves from. Timmy came from Rockridge Orchards in Enumclaw. They grow all sorts of things there, and even make their own wine and cider. You can say hello to them (and even buy a tea plant to grow at home yourself) at the University Farmer's Market.

Next time you're in the shop, be sure to say hello to Timmy and his new leaf buds!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Makaibari Autumnal Flush Back in Stock

The 2008 Autumnal Flush Darjeeling from Makaibari Estate just arrived today! We were quite pleased with this picking when we tried samples, so we're excited to finally have it in stock.

The Makaibari Estate is a truly spectacular garden. It's certified organic, biodynamic, and fair trade certified. You can find more info at www.makaibari.org.

We only received ten pounds of this tea (and 2 pounds are already spoken for!), so if you'd like some, now's the time to buy it! We'll have it in-store and on the website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Den's Tea Visit

One of the nice thing about the tea industry is that it's very close-knit. There's sort of a "we're all in this together" attitude, rather than a competitive feeling. Because of that, even a small tea shop like us often gets to meet the owner or CEO of one of our suppliers. And that's just what happened the other day.

Den Shirakata, president of Den's Tea happened to be in Seattle and stopped by for a visit! We get a few of our Japanese teas from him, including the Sakura Sencha and my personal favorite, Guricha. We chatted about tea for a bit and asked him a few questions we had about Japanese teas. We also preordered some Shincha, the highly-prized first picking of tea in Japan. We should be getting it sometime in mid-May.

Mr. Shirakata took some photos of the shop to show his staff in Japan. He said they love to see where the tea they produce is going. He also brought us a little gift, a lovely tin full of delicious cookies! Yum!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fox's Viennese Biscuit Review

Looking through the catalog for our British Import supplier, I spied some tasty-sounding biscuits from Fox's. We carry their Ginger Crunch Creams (which are quite delicious and very gingery), so I was excited to see what other biscuits they had to offer. I popped over to their website and saw the Viennese Chocolate biscuits were at the top of their user-picked ranking. Well, you can't get a much better recommendation than that, so we ordered a case.

I was charged with the oh-so difficult task of reviewing the biscuits and blogging the results. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. With a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea in hand, I sallied forth.

My first impression is that it's quite a bit like a Pepperidge Farms Milano cookie, only more buttery, and less crispy. The biscuit part is almost the consistency of shortbread, but lighter and more airy. The chocolate filling is also quite pleasant, with a light creaminess.

Of course, we must also test dunkability.

The shape of the biscuit makes it a lovely candidate for dunking, and the lightness helps to maximize the tea absorption. The ridges also help to keep your grip on the biscuit, which is quite convenient, since there's nothing worse than dropping and entire biscuit in a cup of tea and trying to fish it out before it loses all structural integrity.

Overall, I'm very impressed. The combination of light, airy biscuit and creamy chocolate filling is a really nice balance. The only problem is that they are highly addictive, and very rich. I could easily see myself sitting down with a package of these and a cup of tea and suddenly realizing that I had eaten all of them in one sitting.

This may be my new favorite biscuit, so please come buy some so I'm not tempted to eat all of them in the store.

Test-Drive a Teapot Today!

We recently got some more Lomonosov teapots in the store, and Lisa and I were curious about how well they pour. So of course, we had to try it!

It actually poured quite nicely, with just a slight drip at the tip.

Perennial Tea Room staff are not the only ones who get to try this though; you're welcome to test-pour any of our teapots in the store! We try to bring in teapots that pour well, but sometimes they vary from teapot to teapot, so if it's a concern of yours, give it a try! If you can't make it into the shop, just give us a call and we'll pour-test it for you.