Loose Leaf Tea: What a Surprise
A personal story experience about the discovery of the world of loose leaf tea.
Loose Leaf Tea: What a Surprise
I was recently introduced to the wonderful, magical world of loose leaf tea. Not long ago, my wife and I were able to spend a leisurely afternoon strolling through the streets of downtown Edmonds, Washington. For those who are not familiar with the area, Edmonds, WA is about thirty miles north of Seattle. Downtown Edmonds is only about 5 blocks east of the Puget Sound waterfront, which boasts the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry dock, two waterfront parks, and several waterfront restaurants.
We had spent the night at a hotel near the waterfront, and after breakfast the next morning, decided we would spend the rest of our time visiting the downtown shops and local businesses. After spending some time doing this, we stumbled upon one of the most pleasant surprises of our visit: Treasures & Teas, a local shop dedicated to the world of loose leaf tea, brewing, and tea brewing accessories.
The first thing we noticed as we made our way into the store was the fragrant aroma that permeated the store. It was a soothing, welcoming fragrance, and we thought perhaps the pleasant aroma was from burning incense. We were quickly informed that what we smelled was the fragrance of the varieties of loose leaf teas the store had to offer.
A few minutes later, what really captured my attention was the far wall from the entrance of the store. It was filled with jars and jars of loose leaf tea. There were five shelves, and the length of the wall was a good thirty feet, if not more. Every inch of the shelves was filled with jars of tea.
I asked the merchant how many varieties of tea they carried. She quickly replied that they carried over two-hundred and fifty varieties of tea. I had had no clue there were so many. My experience with tea, up until that point, was limited to store bought tea, which I purchased occasionally, and drank mostly if I had a cold or the flu. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted and amazed. My wife and I spent some time talking with the merchant about the vast varieties she had available, as well as the many benefits that tea can provide. I had been drinking store bought green tea in an effort to improve my health, so I asked the merchant if they had any decaffeinated green loose leaf tea. She said she had one, Sencha Green tea.
I also mentioned that sometimes, I have trouble sleeping. She then promptly referred me to their “Knockout” tea. She also suggested that we might be interested in her “De-Stress” tea. After a few minutes of continuing to peruse the wall of teas, I stumbled upon a Vanilla Mint Green tea they carried. The proprietor, when I commented that it sounded really good, promptly grabbed the jar off the wall, took the lid off, and allowed me to take a whiff of the tea. I was in aroma heaven. It smelled absolutely wonderful.
I do not know how much time my wife and I spent in the tea store. It was a most pleasurable experience in which we lost all sense of time. By the time we left, we had six ounces of loose leaf tea (two ounces each of Sencha green, Knockout, and De-Stress tea), as well as a tea infuser. For those who do not know what a tea diffuser is (and it was new to me as well), it is like a miniature permanent coffee filter. You place the loose leaf tea in the diffuser (1 teaspoon for six-eight ounces of water), place the diffuser (with the tea in it) in a tea cup, pour the hot water over the tea, and let it seep (soak in the hot water) for three to four minutes. The diffuser also comes with a cap you place over the top of the diffuser as it sits in the cup while the tea seeps.
The metal tea balls work too, but after over a month now of drinking loose leaf tea almost every day, I can tell from experience that the diffuser is a much easier way to brew hot, loose leaf tea, and clean up is a snap.
I have become a permanent customer of Treasures & Teas. I have, since then, purchased a decaffeinated green tea from a loose leaf tea merchant closer to home (near Wenatchee, WA.), but it is not nearly as good as the Sencha Green Tea I purchased from Treasures & Teas. I have now purchased more of the Sencha Green Tea from Treasures & Teas, as well as some of the Vanilla Mint Green Tea (which, though not decaffeinated, is just as good as it smells).
So, if you happen to be anywhere near the Seattle area, and are a loose leaf tea drinker, and perhaps even more so if you are not, I suggest a little side trip to the small town of Edmonds, WA, to a little tea shop there, and introduce yourself to a whole new world of teas. I promise you the effort will be well worth it.
On a side note, Treasures & Teas does have a web site: http://www.treasuresandteas.com/; and you can order tea over the phone and have it shipped to you. If nothing else, check out the website if you are even remotely interested in the world of teas. Again, I can assure you it will not be a waste of your time.