News & Announcements

Sa TeaLet’s meet at Starbucks. No response. At least you can find it. Ah, someone who understands that I easily get lost. So Kyohei Sugimoto and I met at the Starbucks in the International District of Seattle. To discuss SA Tea, a division of Sugimoto America, a Japanese Green Tea company.

Japanese tea is only green tea, not black, oolong, chai, or herbal. It is the country of China who brought in Oolong, and India who brought in black tea. The Japanese employ steaming to stop fermentation, while the Chinese utilize pan frying for the same procedure. It’s a different taste. 

Kyohei’s grandfather started the tea business in Shizuoka, near Mt Fuji, in Japan (of course) in 1946. Now his son runs the company, but the tea is still produced the same way, with the same standards. 

The Japanese steam the plucked tea leaves, generally for a minute, to stop the fermentation. Seconds can make a difference in taste. Leaves are plucked every day. Sen cha is the most popular tea in Japan, commanding 80% of all tea drunk in that country. Interestingly, in America, we favor Genmai cha, which is green tea with roasted brown rice. In this country, we call it popcorn tea. We would, wouldn’t we? It has a nutty, toasty taste in the mouth, very different from Sen cha.

My problem with green teas is that most that I have experienced smells and tastes like grass, in water. Ick! If I lower the temp, like it’s suggested for green tea, it smells and tastes like lukewarm grass, in water. Which is why I tend to favor flavorings in green tea. I talked to Kyohei and he suggested I try the Sen cha.

I was amazed that I liked it because I hate change. It was very smooth and subtle, and that grass smell is a moot issue. 

Green tea has something that coffee does not: theanine. This is an amino acid that counters the effects of caffeine. It is also used in treating anxiety and high blood pressure, and helping to prevent Alzheimer’s. 

You can find SA Tea across the street from the Starbucks at Uwajimaya,  the Asian specialty supermarket in the International District of Seattle, and at Metropolitan Market, among other places. Look for the labels in the picture or the Enrich loose leaf tea pouches.  

And, of course, you can find out much more about SA Tea at the NW Tea Festival Oct 6 & 7. Another reason to attend. 


You are shopping to your heart’s delight at the Pike Market. And now you’d like to take a break, sit down for a moment, and have a nice cup of tea. Somewhere with a table and chairs and a warm atmosphere would be nice. You’re in luck. The Perennial Tea Room (206-448-4054) at 1910 Post Alley is open daily from 9:30am - 6:00pm.  The owners, Julee Rosanoff and her business partner Sue Zuege, have been serving the tea community since 1990, 23 years in Seattle.

She started hosting tea parties for her family and friends. Then she moved on to giving classes to hotels offering afternoon tea. After that came a tea pot store, and finally, a full tea store. 

 Julee loves all kinds of tea, and has a wide variety of loose and packaged teas that are oftentimes annoyingly hard to find. She stocks Barnes & Watson, Bewleys of Ireland, Barry’s, PG Tips, Taylors of Harrogate, Twinings, Typhoo, Harney & Sons, Murroughs, Steven Smith, and Silk Road, among others. The great news is: you will not find these teas in the local grocery store. It’s an opportunity to try a new tea before deciding whether or not you like it enough to buy it in volume. Some teas have sat on my shelf for years, because I don’t like them, won’t drink them, and obviously, will not throw them away. With this assortment and background in tea, do you wonder if Julee blends any of her own teas?

Yes indeed! Perennial Tea Room blends two very special teas: the Perennial Tea Room Seattle Breakfast Blend, a nice get-up-and-get-going morning tea, and Room Eleven, It’s Heaven Tea. Room Eleven was blended by grade schoolers who were studying the Boston Tea Party. With Indian and Ceylon teas, it’s wonderful for afternoons. It may have been what the Patriots threw overboard. Or not.

Besides tea, the tea room carries delicate yet sturdy cast iron tea pots from the Orient, and  an assortment of traditional and whimsical pots. Accessories, tea wares, and books take up the remaining space in the shop.

The Perennial Tea Room is a study in tea and it’s culture, and well worth the visit. It’s  entertaining, enlightening, and comfortable. Additionally, the Perennial Tea Room is part of the NW Tea Festival, happening Oct 6 & 7, at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. Check out the website for the tea room:, and in the Fall, come to the Festival. Educate yourself, entertain your palate.

Julee Rosanoff in her tea shop, the Perennial Tea Room.

Hours: Mon - Sun:  9:30am-6pm

1910 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101


If you are looking for a reason to escape to the Lavender Festival this weekend, in Sequim, Washington, think about this: there is a new tea shop in town. Nicole Livengood (and that’s some name) opened the shop last year, selling bulk teas, culinary and medicinal herbs, and spices. The shop is well placed in downtown Sequim, next door to the Hurricane Coffee Company, which also sells some of her teas by the cup. I tried the organic Jasmine Pearls, which was light and delicate, and then the herbal Cranberry Citrus, which is really a tisane, not a tea. Tisanes have no true tea in them, just nuts and peels, roots and berries. I drink a lot of herbal iced tea during the day, for hydration. I don’t like the taste of tap water, and bottled water gets expensive.

Nicole Livengood attended the American College of Healthcare Sciences, in Portland, Oregon to learn about herbs, and her love of tea comes from a lifetime of being around good teas. Her shop carries classic green, flavored green, rooibos and honey bush teas. She also has oolong, pu’erh, black (flavored and not), and flowering teas. There are white, herbal, mate, and chai teas. In honor of the Lavender Festival, there are six lavender teas. The chocolate chai is a delight if you love all things chocolate, and the darjeeling is light and pleasant, if you don’t.

Nicole’s shop is the Sequim Spice & Tea Co. It’s at 115 N Sequim Ave, Sequim, Wa. Although she does not yet have a website, you can reach her at 360-683-2050 or Hours for the shop are Tuesday - Friday: 11am to 5pm, and Saturday: 11am to 4pm.

The drive to Sequim takes about 2 hours, the Lavender Festival starts Friday (that’s this coming weekend), July 20 and runs through Sunday, July 22. The Sequim Spice & Tea Co is open all year for herb and tea lovers. I wish Nicole good fortune with her shop, and hope to see her at the fabulous and informative NW Tea Festival, Oct 6 & 7, at the Seattle Center. I hope to see you as well.  

While at Phoenix Tea, in Burien, last weekend, I was led through tea tastings with Brett Boynton, owner of the tea shop. What I know about tea is this…some I like, others I don’t. But the subtlties of tea have not ever been explained to me, even after 50 years of drinking tea.  It was nice to have a guide, and Brett is good at it. We tried some ALISHAN, a high mountain Taiwanese oolong. The first infusion smells, to me, like seaweed, but the later infusions lose that smell, and the taste feels buttery in the mouth, or like olive oil. My companion said that it felt like when rain hits a hot desert. Whatever it is, it’s quite pleasant. Water that is too hot, say the standard boiling point, 212 degrees, gives the tea an iron, sulphur taste. Which means; don’t boil the life out of water before using it for tea. Have some respect for the drink. We also tried something called WHITE WHISPER, which is a Kenyan white tea, with huge leaves. Now that I had an idea of how tea should feel in my mouth, and I used water that was somewhere around 163 degrees, I could feel how buttery the tea felt in my mouth. This tea was a little sweeter than the Alishan for me, and had pear notes to it. 

Tea tasting is fun. And educational. You can tea taste with Brett at Phoenix Tea 10:30 on Saturdays, and then, when you come to the NW Tea Festival Oct 6 & 7th at Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, you will have a better appreciation of tea. And maybe meet some tea vendors, like Brett, who know, and want to share, their love for tea.