Tea Safari & Mini-Blending Workshop at Indie Mart this Sunday!

22 07 2011

Sunday, July 24, 12pm – 7pm.

Indie Mart, Thee Parkside, 17th & Wisconsin in Portrero Hill

Come one, come all and experience a little tea safari T-We Tea style at Thee Parkside in celebration of the 4th birthday for Indie Mart.  The Madame of Morocco will make a cameo as well as a surprise limited engagement appearance by our very own Dolores Day.  Come taste the joys of life (tea) and party in celebration of DIY’ers and art and each other!

Stop by also for a chance to make your own tea blend to take home, or leave it to the pros and purchase some great T-We Tea takeaways!

Ta Ta For Now, Tea Lovers!





Cupping the Great Outdoors

13 02 2011

Tea Cupping Set and Airpots

Given the incredible SF Weather the past couple of weeks, I took my ritual tea cupping time to the great outdoors.  This project was all about finding inspiration for the next great addition to the T-We Tea lineup.  I, a Virgo, find my peace and harmony surrounded in greenery and vast expanses so what better place than the picturesque Golden Gate Park.  I packed up my little Echo with a gym bag of vendor tea samples, cupping sets in their perfect containers, and an airport of just boiled water.  Little did I know what kind of journey this would bring…

My first choice of location was the Chinese Pavilion located on Stow Lake.  I was just there a few days prior visiting with a friend, and the serene water and pure beauty of the pavilion is the idyllic spot to revel in tea.  I parked my car and begin my journey of schlepping tea things (story of my life) to the bridge to cross onto the island where the pavilion is located.  To my suprise, a construction truck met me at the bridge crossing with a sign translating “None Shall Pass.”   Me being an outstanding citizen with a high morale code decided not to rent the paddle boat to cross onto the forbidden island and taste tea.  I moved on…

Cupping Keemuns. One on the right was the best!

Next stop, I found the most spectacular glen equipped with vast picnic areas with benches, grills, and what other material may be required to host a party equipped with a moonjump.  The expanse of this valley was stunning, and the countless tables guaranteed that I wouldn’t be bothered by another soul.  Here, I setup shop and began my ellarborate OCD procedure for tasting teas.  I dove into a battle of 3 Keemuns all vying for my love and final sales order.  I was in my element.  Inspired by the alluring smokey aromas, I was on journaling away in this serene and peaceful environment UNTIL a band of 8-10 rogue hipsters decided their ideal ‘Snoop Dog Themed Picnic’ location was located 10 feet from my table.  WTF!  Out of the 100 empty tables presenting them self to the hipsters, how come they need to cluster next to the guy with some wacky airpot and little porcelain sets.  When one shouted, “What we drinking?” to the response of “PBR” (seriously, it doesn’t get more cliche than this), I knew it was time for me to admit defeat and pack up and move onwards.  Ohh hipsters…

Last stop was a small expanse of grass where I just setup shop on the ground in a little dirt patch.  Here, I was able to get two more cuppings finished looking at Indian Black Teas and then a round of Chinese Greens and Oolongs.  At this point, the game of homeless man frisbee that I was volunteered as the center of the throwing field did not sway me in my spot and I stood my ground to finish the damn tea cuppings.

Moral of the story, next time I think I will just open my window from my apartment.

Tea Cupping the Great Outdoors





Cooking with the Single Guy Reviews DIY Tea Blending

27 01 2011

Hey tea friends,

From my recent back to back DIY Tea Blending Class (Thanks Daily Candy!) at Workshop, I had the pleasure of meeting a new tea friend Ben, a great food blogger from  the site, Cooking with the Single Guy.  In his review he shares his journey in creating his own signature tea blend.  Artfully done and I am appreciative for his insight.  Check it out!!!

Cooking with the Single Guy – Blog Post – Blending Tea at Workshop SF

Christopher C





DIY TEA Blending Class @ WorkshopSF

19 12 2010

Awesome, Awesome Way to Spend My Sunday!

Today I taught probably my new favorite class style to teach.  It is DIY TEA BLENDING held @ Workshop SF.  Workshop SF is a nonprofit that teaches people to make stuff, awesome stuff.  A bit bohemian, a lot Rock and Roll, the space in which the class was taught was the perfect setting.  Basically, the amazing pupils learned a little bit about tea (didn’t get to bring my TEA 101 Keynote speech) and then we let the fun begin.  I setup an amazing “buffet” of teas, tisanes, botanicals, herbs, you name it, we got it!  Then, we got our hands dirty and started blending and tasting using our cupping sets.

My students came up with some inventive uses for coriander seeds, raw cocoa nibs, lemongrass, yerba mate, etc and the teas we were mixing today were Keemun, Assam, Bai Mu Dan, Jasmine Pan-fired Green, etc.  We had some awesome spins on a classic chai as well as some herbal infusions that were just all around beautiful.  Great job everyone!

To be in the know of when the next DIY TEA Blending class is happening, subscribe to WorkshopSF’s newsletter (www.workshopsf.org) and sign up for the class immediately cause this round filled up faster than I could publicize!

DIY Tea Blending in the Making

Like Visiting a Salad Bar!

Looks Like Fruity Pebbles!





Packaging 101 – Lessons Learned

30 11 2010

With the development of a fabulous tea line comes the development of packaging a tea line.  Holy Headache, Batman!

Let me clue you in on some lessons learned along the way.

  • Don’t let the inner perfectionist drive you MAD!
  • Quoted print/delivery times never seem to include the 5 “flex” days that printers take for those additional hiccups.
  • Always have a Plan B and be willing to go back to Plan A when Plan B falls on its face.  Also, reserve a Plan C.
  • Too many paints that we use are toxic (well at least the prettiest colors).
  • Referrals are the best sources to good vendors.
  • Stay away from Colbalt Blue.
  • Inkjet labels melt in a laser printer.
  • When in doubt, do it all yourself.
  • If DIY approach is taken, employ friends and have a bottle of champagne waiting.

I do not know how many of you venturing into the world of retail packaging, but you never know.  Here are some photos of a tea line in the making.  Enjoy.

Cpher

Painting logos with NON toxic paints

Little teapots drying

Miles of self-made stickers





Tea Outside the Box

18 11 2010

Frisco Teapot Box in Dolores Park

G’Day Everyone!

This weekend I had quite a lovely Sunday in Dolores Park.  I had the pleasure to serve tea at the Frisco TeaPot’s experiential event on “Place”.  Never ceasing to amaze, TeaPot built an experiential box that looked out onto the cityscape.  It was one of the most glorious November days I have ever experienced with warm air, sunshine, and tea.  I served up some Vietnamese Organic Nam Lahn Black Tea, a Chinese Dark Oolong, and the fabulous Hawaiian Coffee Cherry Tisane (previous blog post).  It was a perfect symphony focusing on place utilizing pure single origin teas.

Check out the friscoteapot.wordpress.com blog to be in the know on where they will pop up next.  Also, “Like” them on Facebook to see what all the fun is about!  TeaPot Facebook





Cooking with Tea – Fresh Matcha Noodles

12 11 2010
 

Rolling fresh matcha noodles

Matcha Pasta Dough

So I adore fresh pasta.  With the help of my hand crank pasta machine (thank you Nelson), I have arrived at the point where I can quickly whip up a fresh batch for dinner.  One night, I was on my craze of adding tea to everything I cook, so I became daring and added Japanese Matcha Powder to my whole wheat flour and egg combination.  It was probably about 1/4 cup of matcha into the mix substituting the flour, of course.  I easily combined the dough according to the online recipes from my dear friend Martha (Stewart).

The most thrilling part of the whole experience was the smell of the noodles when rolling out the dough.  The matcha added this incredible fragrance to the blend.  I rolled the dough into sheets and then hand cut some for pappardelle style noodles and left the others in full sheets.  With the full sheets I made an awesome veggie lasagna of zucchini ribbons, kale, fresh tomato sauce, garlic, ground tofu (for protein), spinach, and parmesan cheese (on top).  The green tea noodles added this sweet vegetal aroma to the entire dish and it was a hit among coworkers.  I have yet again earned another cooking with tea pat on the back.  Hip hip!