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Back from my Pacific Northwest adventure! Had a wonderful time, especially adored Portland (the vibe of the city, all the lively varied neighborhoods, tea shops!, used book stores!, kitchen pantry dream shops like The Meadow!, naked bike night!, first Thursday art walk!, food truck areas full of people having fun late into the night!, so much craft beer!, Ground Kontrol!, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Washington Park’s Rose Garden and Japanese Garden and Hoyt Arboretum, taking the old historic highway through the Columbia River Gorge, Sauvie Island, driving down the Oregon coastline from Astoria to Arcadia Beach to Manzanita, the Tabor Park cinder cone at dusk, Mount Hood, all the yummy well sourced food…), though everything (Olympic National Park, particularly the rainforests and coastline beaches like Rialto and Ruby, the lavender farms in Sequim, Pike Market!, the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island, flying into Seattle right by Mount Rainier, on and on) was great.

Wasn’t expecting so much tea (there’s virtually none anymore in Memphis, alas), so that was a great surprise (husband dug how the bubble tea around town has more choices than tapioca pearls, stuff like coconut bits and fruit/plant jellies). Steven Smith and Stash seem the default in restaurants yay, and we just stumbled upon places like the Tea Zone and Camellia Lounge, multiple Townshend’s locations, and the Tao of Tea as we wandered places. So great.

I have a minor cold now (not too surprising, ugh air travel) so I’ll refrain from rating this while my sinuses and throat are impaired but I must say it’s really hitting the spot. Strong and bold without being harsh, and with a more citrusy bergamot than usual that somehow I dig (normally I prefer my bergamot flowery and complex, not fruity at all). Yum.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Sounds like a fun trip! I was there recently myself. :)

TastyBrew

Glad you enjoyed Portland! It’s a pretty great place to live :-)

LiberTEAS

I love Portland. I live just a few minutes from it in Vancouver, WA. And Steven Smith’s Tea Shop is one of my favorite places to go! There’s also a great tea shop called Tea Chai Te – they have a few locations as well.

TastyBrew

LiberTEAS- I was just at their sellwood location yesterday! Had their hojicha/matcha chai. I like Steven smith too, but if I want a good tea shop, I love townshends on Alberta. Their tea isn’t the best ever, but i love the atmosphere.

ifjuly

thanks, Amy oh! it was my first time visiting…

had no idea you were a resident, TastyBrew! jealous. a friend of mine who visited last summer and i were bonding over how much we want to move now, ha.

LiberTEAS, i actually thought of you when i finally nabbed some Lord Bergamot—i knew from reviews you liked it, and i think that might also be how i found out in passing you live near portland. jealous! i really wanted to visit the actual shop because of that cool stuff they’re doing with tea cocktail mixer things (?) but it was a little out of the way for us and the hours didn’t work given we’d spend business hours out in nature most of the time. ah well!

all the tea shops around town made me so jealous. we were at a townshend’s on division the night of the naked bike ride, and thankfully a cute local guy a table next to us asked us if we knew when it was starting and explained the whole thing when we said we had no idea and were tourists. it makes me laugh imagining not knowing why hordes of naked cyclists were roaming the roadblocked streets downtown like a parade.

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TeaBrat

Sounds like a fun trip! I was there recently myself. :)

TastyBrew

Glad you enjoyed Portland! It’s a pretty great place to live :-)

LiberTEAS

I love Portland. I live just a few minutes from it in Vancouver, WA. And Steven Smith’s Tea Shop is one of my favorite places to go! There’s also a great tea shop called Tea Chai Te – they have a few locations as well.

TastyBrew

LiberTEAS- I was just at their sellwood location yesterday! Had their hojicha/matcha chai. I like Steven smith too, but if I want a good tea shop, I love townshends on Alberta. Their tea isn’t the best ever, but i love the atmosphere.

ifjuly

thanks, Amy oh! it was my first time visiting…

had no idea you were a resident, TastyBrew! jealous. a friend of mine who visited last summer and i were bonding over how much we want to move now, ha.

LiberTEAS, i actually thought of you when i finally nabbed some Lord Bergamot—i knew from reviews you liked it, and i think that might also be how i found out in passing you live near portland. jealous! i really wanted to visit the actual shop because of that cool stuff they’re doing with tea cocktail mixer things (?) but it was a little out of the way for us and the hours didn’t work given we’d spend business hours out in nature most of the time. ah well!

all the tea shops around town made me so jealous. we were at a townshend’s on division the night of the naked bike ride, and thankfully a cute local guy a table next to us asked us if we knew when it was starting and explained the whole thing when we said we had no idea and were tourists. it makes me laugh imagining not knowing why hordes of naked cyclists were roaming the roadblocked streets downtown like a parade.

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Bio

“…you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
-Julia Child on food and cooking, and I think it applies to tea as well!

note: i am currently taking a break from swapping/mail of any kind as money is rather tight. i apologize! i do love to swap but i can’t afford to right now. hopefully in a month things will change.

my cupboard includes any tea i’ve ever owned, including things i’ve sipped down, in order to facilitate swaps with people and keep a record—this way i don’t get redundant samples/order duplicates to try. if you are interested in swapping, i have a separate ever-updated list of teas i actually have on hand i can PM.

i like strong, rich blacks (including some choice old skool CTCs); juicy-fruity flavored green blends; buttery chinese greens; light floral oolongs; flavored oolongs (how sacrilegious!); earl greys; smoky blends; second flush muscatel darjeelings; verdant’s straight oolongs steeped in a gaiwan (mind altering!); anything from laoshan village it seems.

favorite notes include lavender, bergamot, violet, fennel, cardamom, melon, honey, sandalwood, smoke, nuts, roasty/toasty stuff, malt, wood, leather, creamy lemon, steamed rice, artichoke, garden-sweet snap veggies, earth/soil, forest and wet bark, and mushroom.

notes i generally can’t stand (at least in tea) include jasmine, rose (ok in small doses but i often find it overpowering and then everything just smells like musty old lady perfume), astringent apple (and general fruitiness really unless it’s with green tea), and chamomile (unless i’m congested or tired).

my current favorite tea vendors are butiki and harney and sons. i’ve also found some delicious teas and/or had good customer service experiences with the following companies: capital tea ltd., the devotea, verdant, mandala, golden moon, teavivre, lupicia, taiwan tea crafts, yezi tea, den’s tea, the tea merchant, norbu, fauchon paris, tao tea leaf, zen tea, fortnum and mason, townshend’s tea, joy’s teaspoon, new mexico tea company, persimmon tree, teajo teas, whispering pines, della terra, upton imports, mariage freres, samovar, justea, teabox, american tea room, steven smith, steap shoppe, utopia tea, and andrews and dunham damn fine tea. when i’m at the grocery store my “you could do worse” brands include stash, bigelow, tazo, taylors of harrogate, whittard of chelsea, and pg tips. and it’s a fact: you can’t make classic southern sweet tea without luzianne.

top picks, fall 2013

black:
verdant zhu rong yunnan black
verdant laoshan black
thepuriTea hong jing luo (no longer available :( )
thepuriTea red dragon pearl (no longer available :( )
mandala morning sun
golden moon honey orchid
verdant golden fleece
taiwan tea crafts red jade
yezi tea zheng shan xiao zhong “scotch” tea
capital tea borsapori estate assam tgfop1 (spl)
butiki khongea golden tippy assam
butiki giddahapar darjeeling extra special
upton imports fikkal estate
golden moon sinharaja
harney and sons new vithanakande
persimmon tree vintage black
teajo teas black manas
justea kenyan black
harney and sons kangaita op

morning blends:
butiki the black lotus
harney and sons queen catherine
harney and sons eight at the fort
harney and sons big red sun
harney and sons scottish morn
golden moon irish breakfast
harney and sons irish breakfast
utopia tea english breakfast
fortnum and mason breakfast blend (needs milk!)
andrews and dunham double knit blend
steven smith no. 25 morning light
butiki irish cream cheesecake

earl greys and scented afternoon blends:
teajo teas silky earl grey
harney and sons viennese earl grey
upton imports lavender earl grey
american tea room victoria
lupicia earl grey grand classic
harney and sons tower of london
tao tea leaf cream earl grey
zen tea earl grey cream
della terra earl grey creme
upton imports season’s pick earl grey creme vanilla
upton imports baker street afternoon blend
harney and sons russian country
della terra professor grey
verdant earl of anxi

flavored black:
herbal infusions moose tracks
american tea room brioche
steap shoppe cinnamon swirl bread
della terra oatmeal raisin cookie
butiki nutmeg cream
kusmi caramel
david’s tea brazillionaire
lupicia banane chocolat
butiki hello sweetie
fauchon paris raspberry macaron
butiki blueberry purple tea
herbal infusions marshmallow snowflake earl grey
herbal infusions creme brulee chai

pu erh:
mandala loose and luscious lincang 2007 shu/ripe pu erh
mandala special dark 2006 shu/ripe pu erh

oolong:
verdant shui jin gui wuyi oolong
verdant hand-picked early spring tieguanyin
butiki 2003 reserve four season oolong
harney and sons formosa oolong
tea merchant silk dragon
golden moon coconut pouchong
zen tea coconut oolong
american tea room coconut oolong
teavivre taiwan jin xuan milk oolong
butiki flowery pineapple oolong
butiki lychee oolong
lupicia momo oolong supergrade
butiki strawberry oolong
butiki pumpkin milkshake darjeeling oolong
52teas tiramisu oolong

green:
verdant laoshan bilochun green
verdant autumn harvest laoshan green
tao tea leaf hou kui
harney and sons tencha
harney and sons gyokuro
new mexico casablanca
butiki with open eyes
american tea room nirvana
joy’s teaspoon mahalo
den’s tea pineapple sencha
harney and sons tokyo
butiki potato pancakes and applesauce
butiki holiday eggnog and pralines
den’s tea organic genmaicha with matcha
golden moon hojicha

white:
butiki cantaloupe and cream
butiki champagne and rose cream

no caf:
harney and sons soba buckwheat
butiki birthday cake
della terra lemon chiffon
52teas strawberry pie honeybush
butiki mango lassi
joy’s teaspoon italian dream
butiki coconut cream pie rooibos
butiki peppermint patty
persimmon tree mint chocolate chip rooibos
art of tea velvet tea
fusion teas chocolate cake honeybush
american tea room choco-late
steven smith no. 40 bon bon
townshend’s tea dark forest chai
utopia tea decaffeinated earl grey cream

sleep aid/medicinal/therapeutic:
new mexico extra sleepy bear
stash white christmas
verdant ginger sage winter spa blend
samovar turmeric spice
butiki the killer’s vanilla guayusa

coldsteeped wonders:
whispering pines manistee moonrise
harney and sons fruits d’alsace
utopia tea berkshire apple and fig
culinary teas peaches and cream
butiki peach hoppiTea
butiki ruby pie
whispering pines gingerade

besides tea

born in seoul, raised in new england and upstate new york, went to college in pittsburgh, currently in memphis with an eye toward philadelphia, portland, or asheville eventually.

i like cats, most beverages really (i also like good freshly roasted coffee, craft beer, wine, whiskey and gin-based cocktails, and soda/soft drinks like agua fresca), art (mainly writing but also visual and music) and critical theory, feminism/genderqueer politics, historiography, statistics, children’s literature and librarianship, travel, and food/cooking. also have recently gotten into weightlifting (mark rippetoe and stumptuous!) and sprint training (HIIT, plyometrics) and i love it.

Location

Memphis, TN

Website

http://facebook.com/ifjuly

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