Key West Tea and Spice Company

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We’re back from our vacation to Key West and while there I stumbled across this little tea shop called the Key West Tea & Spice Company. It’s a small shop near the heart of Old Town just off the end of Duval Street. Like all little shops in that area, it has its fair share of souvenirs and other stuff for tourists, but in the back is the tea selection. The teas are stored in glass jars on the wall. It didn’t seem as though they saw much business, either, so I was beginning to wonder how the teas fared in that environment.

This is my first time trying Icewine. I’ve read some of the other reviews of Icewine from other companies and it seemed as though others were pleased with it, so, inspired to try it, I bought some.

The tea smells sweetly of apple blossoms. The taste, however, isn’t floral, it’s sweet and fruity. It has a gentle taste of grapes, but with a raisiny depth to it that. There’s a lot going on. The tea is slightly drying in my mouth, but it’s not unpleasant and helps to tone down the sweet taste. Overall, it’s really pleasing.

My one point of contention with this company is their lack of attention to detail. First, the tea in glass storage in a store that has no front wall to it. (I think they just pull down a metal door to cover it at night.) Also, the tea is spelled Ice Wine on the package, but Icewine on the website. I realize this is a minor detail, but it shows a lack of professionalism on their part.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

It sounds loads better than the one I tried not long ago!!
Florida does make some good teas… that’s where I got the coconut oolong! :)

ashmanra

I agree it seems odd for the tea to be in glass! There was a thread a long time ago discussing a company that makes a special coated glass that shields the tea from UV rays. Maybe they were using that? And there is a big debate on whether light AND air, or just air, should be prevented getting to the tea. I prefer protection against both, and if there is a question of how often stock turns over I would rather it was in a pouch inside a tin! I didn’t even buy tea at our little local tea shop because I felt there was no way it could be fresh.

Angrboda

I hope you had a wonderful time! Sad to say, but I still haven’t managed to get that package in the mail. I will definitely do so on wednesday, though, because I’m going to the post office then anyway.

QuiltGuppy

@ashmanra – No, they weren’t the ultra cool glass ones, just extra large Mason jars with the rubber ring on them. The woman was more concerned with her souvenirs getting disorganized by my two young pirates than with selling me tea. (Kind of grumpy, actually…) We were there on Friday afternoon, with a huge cruise ship docked and offloaded, and it was still pretty empty. Someone did come in as we were leaving, but they were looking at postcards.

@Angrboda – It was a wonderful vacation! One that my family desperately needed to get away from things. We were really sad to leave.

@Indigobloom – Apparently they have some talent with teas, because even with the crappy storage, the tea was still really great! Maybe I should move to Florida.

Indigobloom

Ah good idea, I’ll meet ya there! :P

Kashyap

glass storage jars are often to attract the eye, but if the tea vendors turn around is on the tea is rapid and there is no direct sunlight falling on the tea, the flavor shouldnt be too compromised by storage, particularly if the tea is flavored. I really liked how you wove a story into your experience though, so often they buyers experience is lost to the tea description and tea is such a rounded experience, with the vendor, environment, culture, tea, and teaware all playing a part. I was in Boston, MA to do a 270 mile cycling event for ALSTDI and have a tradition of going to this really great Thai restaurant that is right around the corner from the hotel. I had brought my portable Taiwanese gawain and a 2006 sheng pu erh (that I thought would compliment the meal and help with the probiotics that I was going to need over the next 3 days of odd meals and riding) and the server refused to bring me hot water when he realized I had brought my own tea! He eventually conceeded, but that experience nearly ruined the pleasure of the tea, food, envrionment pairing. So again, thanks for rounding your experience out with more than the cupping.

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