Monday, November 30, 2009

Tea Review of Bird Pick Tea and Herb

This weekend did some more checking out tea in Los Angeles & Pasadena.
I had been hearing about Bird Pick Tea & Herb, for over a year. Finally getting to check out the place. It is located in Old Town Pasadena in a great storefront. The shop is calming right when you walk in and you are greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff. I didn't really quiz them but they were attentive and helpful. My friends both ended up buying tea accouterments. They have a wide selection of pots, cups, tools and everything you need to make a good cup of tea, and lets face it lots of things that you don't need but are cute and make nice gifts. I found the displays a bit overwhelming & the pre-made gift baskets not to my liking. The packaged sets were nice and so were the teapots available. They offered tea samples and I tried a gen mai cha, Japanese green tea with toasted rice, and a keemun, a Chinese black tea. Here is were they really fell down in my book. Both tea samples were bitter, I don't know if they steeped too long, or used too hot water. My friends thought the gen mai cha was terrible, I agreed that it wasn't good. But I didn't blame the tea, which I love normally, while others don't care for it, I blamed the preparation. I also think the way they display the tea is pretty, with large clear glass containers, but it is the worst way to store tea. Tea should be stored in a cool, dry location away from light. They even had matcha tea powder out in the sun, which I have always been told needs to be refrigerated in a airtight container to keep it fresh. I think they could keep the tea in glass for display only, but have other containers that they pull from to fill orders. I would not buy my tea from a vendor that stored tea in clear glass, because freshness means more flavor & more beneficial anti-oxidants.
Things they did right:
- greet customers & offered samples
- good location & atmosphere
- lots of choices for loose leaf tea
- lots of choices for teapots and accessories
- tea cart with on the spot preparation, cool feature
Things that were not great:
- tea stored in CLEAR glass containers (they did have air tight lids) in the SUN
- tea preparation not great or had changed in flavor sitting in airpots
2 out of 5 leaves
Mainly for the staff & atmosphere and bringing tea to the masses, but I would not recommend the store for buying tea, just tea accessories.
Since they are opening up 2 more stores in the Los Angeles area, they might want to re-think the clear glass jars!

No comments: