Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tea Nazi Looks at Tea in Los Angeles

I was called the Tea Nazi by Ed Fuentes. Now that siptea is closed I am on a mission to educate & inform Los Angelenos about tea. Proper, good, tasty tea. Here is my first review of tea in and around LA.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Blueberry Pomegranate Oolong special on Steeping sign)
First the positives:
-Equal time to tea in the name & inside the store. Signage is the same for tea & coffee, not a second class citizen on the signs
-Asked if I could get it in a cup/mug rather than paper & they gave me a glass mug
(Tea, and coffee for that matter, taste much better in ceramic or glass than paper.)
-A decent selection of all types of tea, except pu'erh (didn't see any, but might have missed it)
-Loose leaf tea sold in tins (protected from moisture & light)
-Tea bag was pyramid style with loose leaf blend inside
-Proper use of "steeping" on the signs rather than "brewing"
Now the negatives:
-A tea bag, nuf said
-One source for hot water, so no temperature control, just boiling (so water was hotter than it should be for Oolongs)
-Didn't see any Organic options
-Tea bag was pretty stuffed when done steeping (a problem with tea balls, tea stick & bags in general - not enough room for the tea to fully expand, especially an Oolong)
-No place to put the teabag, just put it on a napkin on the table
-Flavor was okay, but thin & didn't really taste like an Oolong, blueberry & pomegranate flavors (chemicals?) took over tea taste
-Tea bags stored in glass jars (HUGE pet peeve, looks pretty, but the essential oils that make the taste & have health benefits, need to be protected from sunlight.)
-2nd steep was blah, nothing left & this is usually a better cup for a true Oolong, so makes me question if it was an Oolong or a mistake on the sign (left the bag in for the rest of the time drinking)
-No mention from staff on when to remove the teabag from the water & really not expected to, since it was tied around the mug handle
Well less than stellar example of tea in LA, no wonder people aren't drinking more tea, if this is what they normally experience.
2 leaves out of 5 for the things they did right.

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