Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seattle - A Tea Town Part 3

Monday was going to be my last day in Seattle and there was still so much more to discover. I started off the day meeting an author friend Jeanne Sauvage.  She took me to tea at The Teacup. It is a lovely tea shop in the Queen Anne Hill area. They bring your pot of tea to your table and give you a timer. We connected over a couple pots of tea and even ran into my Japanese friends from the festival while we were there!

The afternoon I was on my own to discover Seattle. I headed back to Pike Place Market. My first stop was to visit Starbucks' original location which as I mentioned in my last post was named Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.

It is interesting to watch this business change over the years. The word in the tea world is that Starbucks has invested quite a bit into their Tazo Tea brand. If your interested, here is an article about it.  It will be fun to see what Starbucks does with tea in the next few years! It's not just about coffee anymore, so stayed tuned.
Pike Place Market is full of wonderful things.  Here's a quick video for the feel of the market.  It almost sounds like you could be in China! There were musicians playing throughout the market and this was just one of them.

As you can see from the video, there is plenty of fresh seafood to be had  at the market.  Here was my lunch which consisted of fresh crab cocktail and a calamari salad-YUM!

Along with seafood there is plenty of fresh produce and beautiful fresh flowers. 


My next tea stop was a Chinese tea shop named Vital Tea Leaf. It is an intriguing shop. The location is next door to the Four Seasons Hotel just down from Pike Place Market.

 The store carries many teas and teawares along with allowing you to taste free samples of tea. I sat down and was treated to some oolong tea served in a gaiwan which is a Chinese style of serving tea in a small cup with a lid and no handle.  Look closely at the pictures, don't you just love the white porcelain "extra hand?"  How many times do just need an extra hand?

After a day of tea and shopping, I walked back along the water instead of taking the monorail. It was suggested that I stop by Olympic Sculpture Park. It is full of sculptures by Internationally acclaimed artist Louise Bourgeois. Not only are the sculptures beautiful, but the view of Puget Sound is stunning.  Here's a quick video of the view of Puget Sound from the Park.

What a wonderful trip filled with lots of good tea.  Goodnight and Goodbye Seattle for now! 

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of Seattle, although it has been slightly tea slanted! I can't wait for my next trip to the Northwest to discover more tea places. Which tea place was your favorite in my tour? 

Happy Sipping with Memories of Seattle, Lisa

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seattle - A Tea Town Part 2

After teaching classes for The Specialty Tea Institute, I attended the Northwest Tea Festival.  It is a two day event that is open to the public.  There are booths where you can buy new teawares and tea.  There are also two days filled with classes to learn about all things tea.  

I taught a Tea and Chocolate Pairing class using fine teas and pairing them with Guittard Chocolate bars with different percentages of cacao in each.  One of the pairings even included a single origin tea with a single origin chocolate-very special!  After my class, I had a book signing at the Perennial Tea Room booth.

In between teaching and book signings, I found time to look around.  It was fun to sit at the Shizuoka Tea booth with Pearl Dexter leading a tea tasting event. We had to taste two teas separately and then tell if they were the same or different.  It was challenging and fortunately, as the pressure was on, I answered correctly!

After a morning back at the tea festival, Sunday afternoon was devoted to a day of tasting wine. I went on a wine tour of boutique wineries. Yes, this tea gal likes wine too!  Tea and wine are more similar than you may think.  I use a lot of references to wine when I am teaching about tea so it was very apropos to have a day of tasting wine after so much tea tasting!

Our first stop was Covington Cellars for a lovely lunch and wine pairing. We walked into the room and all the candle light danced off the glass stemware for the tasting.  The wine barrel room looked magical just lit by candlelight and small strands of little white lights!

The lunch was delicious and I highly recommend if you are in the area going to one of their events. The Gorgonzola Chocolate Truffles with Savory Candied Almonds were amazing to say the least.  They say they will be packaging them for sale soon!

Our last stop on the tour was a small tasting room for Darby Wines.  I just loved the lighting they had along one side of the tasting room.  This would be a easy project for someone to do.  Just cut out holes in some stained wood and build a box deep enough to hold bottles.  The lighting behind it was just a fluorescent tube. 

It was a fun tour and tasting.  I did find some unique wines to purchase.  Stayed tuned next week as I take you to some tea rooms, Pike's Market, and Puget Sound.  Have I made you want to go visit Seattle yet?

Happy Sipping Tea and Wine, Lisa

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Seattle - A Wonderful Tea Town Part 1


Some of you may be thinking that Seattle is all about coffee, but you would be amiss.  Yes, Seattle is where Starbucks began, but you may not remember they started out as Starbucks Coffee Tea and Spices!  We will return to that in another post..

Having never been to the Northwest before, I was excited to discover it.  I knew I was in for a treat as our plane started its descent and I viewed the snow-capped mountains among the clouds! The city has a great transit system, so I figured out how to get to my hotel without the use of a shuttle or cab!  The Monorail which was built for the World's Fair in 1962 was a wonderful way to transit between Seattle Center (where my speaking events were held) and downtown!

I arrived early to discover Seattle just a bit before I had to teach and speak.  It was a perfect sunny day with a little briskness in the air.  After lunch, I hopped on the monorail to Pike's Market with my colleague Kyle Stewart.  We walked around a bit and then both of us were in desperate need of some tea.

We went to Perennial Tea Room.  It is a located in a lovely alley just up the hill from Pike's Market.  We were graciously greeted by the owners, Julee and Sue.  After more than 2 years since my first book was published, it is always flattering to see my books in a shop. They happen carry both of my books!

We were served one of the teas of the day and then had the pleasure of tasting their Persian Gold.  It is a black tea that is grown in Iran.  Since having researched about Iran for my second book, The World in Your Teacup, it was wonderful to taste tea from that region.  Since most of the tea is usually consumed in the country, not much is exported from Iran.  The tea shop has photos of the growers and the tea was delicious.  Kyle and I had a great time talking and sharing.  Isn't that what drinking tea with friends is all about and Perennial Tea Room is a lovely place to do that in Seattle.

The next two days were filled with teaching Specialty Tea Institute Level I and II classes.  We had a diverse group from all over the country wanting to learn more about tea.  Some were from large corporations, some from midsized companies, and others were interested in starting a tea business. 

 If you are interested in knowing more about tea for yourself or interested in starting a tea business of your own, I think there is no better education than what the Specialty Tea Institute offers.  With it being the educational division of The Tea Association of the USA, they have access to wonderful resources from people all over the globe. 

It was wonderful after class to go down to the waterfront for a walk, a bite to eat, and amazing sunsets.  How beautiful to see the mountains peaking through the clouds!

I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of my tea experience in Seattle.  In my next couple of posts, I will take you to the Northwest Tea Festival,  two more tearooms, explore Pike's Market, and a wine tour! 

Happy Sipping from Seattle, Lisa