Monday, November 30, 2009

Lamill Coffee in Silverlake

Lamill Coffee in Silverlake is from the name, the place to get coffee, not necessarily tea. This is a coffeehouse but they do have a nice and well balanced list of teas. Went for lunch here and overall a good experience. I ordered a green tea they had on the menu, and even though I know quite a bit about tea, I didn't know how to pronounce the Chinese name or know the tea. So being adventurous I wanted to try this one, organic magnolia Yuncui green. When I said to the waitress, I would like this green tea, not sure how to pronounce it, hoping she would help me out, she responded, "I don't know either." Ok, not the answer I was expecting, but it is a coffee place. One friend got a silver needle, white tea and the other ordered iced tea. The iced tea was said to be a green tea. When it came it had other flavors in it, and having allergies my friend wanted to know what else was in the tea. That took quite a while and ended up having flowers in it, so she chose not to finish it. Side note food was excellent. Both the white & the green tea were bitter, again this could be due to too long steep time or too hot water. The tea came in a glass pot and the leaves had been removed, which is fine for presentation, but re-steeping, especially oolongs is important. The white tea was listed as a silver needle, but the waitress when asked said that all the teas were blended with lots of other ingredients & that nothing was pure tea. I didn't correct her, but my tea & the silver needle from flavor appeared to be just tea, not blends with herbs & flowers. They menu had cool names for the blends, but when asked what the ingredients were in the blends, the waitress responded, "there are 8 million ingredients in the blends," and therefore couldn't really give us a better idea of what was in the tea.
Things they did right:
- nice atmosphere & good music
- cool descriptions of tea, not the usual flowery, fussy, but modern & hip
- nice presentation with glass pot
- loose leaf tea (assumed because we didn't see the tea)
- tea given equal time in the beverage menu (beverage menu much larger than food)
- loose leaf tea tin available for purchase
Things that were off:
- staff knowledge of tea (might just be our particular waitress)
- took forever to find out what the iced tea was made of & it was a standard menu item
- tea preparation seemed flawed, not sure of the problem, but outcome was bitter tea
- no leaves so re-steeping isn't an option
- different cups for different tea, but no real reason
- price warrants better knowledge of what they are selling
Side note, the bench seats are uncomfortable & hard to get in & out of, recommend sitting in chairs.
3 leaves out of 5
For trying to make tea hip and atmosphere.
They might want to up their training of staff on tea, since about half the people were drinking tea.

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