News & Announcements

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…..waiting.

Saturday and Sunday…..happening.

The NW Tea Festival.

Wahoo!

Fischer Pavilion at Seattle Center.

Come and enjoy.

Keep warm, drink tea, chat.


If you look closely at these photos (you might need a magnifying glass), you will see that it isn’t English written on the packaging. It’s Russian. Yes, yes, as in, from Russia. Hello.

Some friends went to St Petersburg (yes, Russia) and Moscow. There’s no “cow” in the pronunciation of Moscow, and I know that you wanted to know that. As a treat for me, they brought some tea from Russia, and we had a tea party. One of the teas was a green tea with tropical and floral overtones, and the other was a black tea. Both were quite nice, although the black tea had a nice tart tang to it that seems to be lacking in other black teas that I have recently tried. Whatever it was, I liked it. 

The Russians are tea drinkers. They brew wonderful teas. The same cannot be said for their coffee. So their history of producing tea goes back a long way, just as the history of tea goes back to ancient times. 

You would know information like this if you attended the NW Tea Festival, Oct 5 & 6, at the Fischer Pavilion at Seattle Center. 

It’s an opportunity to learn about, and taste, teas with which you may not be familiar. I am not guaranteeing that there will be Russian tea there, but there will be familiar and not-so-familiar tea to taste, vendors to meet, information to learn, and a good time to be had by all.

Maybe you will meet some Russians.

The NW Tea Festival, Oct 5&6, Fischer Pavilion at the Seattle Center.


There’s a reason that, when drinking coffee, you feel more jittery than when drinking tea. Coffee has no polyphenols, which join with caffeine in tea to reduce the impact on your body. In addition, according to Jeffrey Blumberg (researcher at Tufts University), the two properties together may actually enhance focus, leading to better attention. So all those late night coffee drinking study groups in college might have been better served drinking tea.  

As for tea, some kinds contain less caffeine than others. Green tea has less than black tea, we know that. But white tea is debatable. Because most white tea uses the first leaf and leaf tips, it is thought to contain more caffeine. This is because new growth on tea plants contains the most caffeine, probably due to the spurt of new growth. The down on the buds also add to the amount of caffeine. Still, unless you are uber sensitive to caffeine, you may not notice the difference between white and green tea the way you notice the effects of drinking coffee on your body. 

In an effort to reduce caffeine, consider this: there are two major plants from which tea is produced. Tea grown in India, Sri Lanka, and Africa generally uses the Camellia sinensis assamica plant, while tea grown in China uses predominantly the Camellia sinensis sinensis  (what’s up with repeating words?) plant.  The assamica plant can produce up to 33% more caffeine. Also, leaves that grow in the heat of summer produce more caffeine than leaves that grow in the spring. Water temp and length of steeping can also make a difference. 212 degree tea tastes very different than 175 degree tea, and with a shorter steep time, contains less caffeine.  

If you are  concerned about reducing all caffeine (because even decaffeinated tea has some caffeine), drink herbal teas containing rooibos or fruits, herbs and flowers. But then, those are not actually tea, with the Camellia sinensis leaf.  

We have true teas and herbals at the NW Tea Festival, Oct 5 & 6, at the Fischer Pavilion at Seattle Center. 

It’s tea time in Seattle. Come celebrate with us.


Arriving in five weeks is the annual NW Tea Festival at Fischer Pavilion at the Seattle Center, an ambitious project while still a crazy busy and fun event. 

A new tasting this year involves Theo’s Chocolates, an organic and local Seattle chocolatier, paired with Keiko’s Kagoshima Organic Matcha Tea, and led by Nicole Armstrong, who is beginning to make a name for herself in the tea world. It should be a fascinating and different pairing for those who like something novel. 

There will be tea tastings galore, and lectures to broaden your horizons. Maybe learn a few new things as well. 

For a $10 admission, you receive a take-home tasting cup, allowing you to attend the event both days, if you are inclined. It’s a weekend of tea exploration and glory.

Volunteering is another way to experience the Festival. For giving of your time 4-5 hours one day, you receive free admission for both days and a bag for shopping, a tea tasting cup, and a fabulous NW Tea Festival shirt. And eternal gratitude from the organizers of this year’s event. The more you volunteer, the more gratuity gifts you receive. Maybe someone will kiss your ring finger if you volunteer both days.

Then again, maybe not……..

Still, camaraderie and enjoying yourself produce endorphins in your body, the feel good hormone, making you feel even better. 

Even at $10, that’s a deal.


There is still much to do for the NW Tea Festival, Oct 5th & 6th, and they still need volunteers. It means free admission both days, and the company of multi-talented, sassy, and a-whole-lot-of-fun tea people. 

Meanwhile, I am drinking Sun Moon Lake Assumu tea, which is grown in the high mountains of Taiwan in the city of (wait for it) Sun Moon Lake. Who makes up the names of cities, and is there a lake in the middle of this one?

This is a black tea, and we are way past Lipton’s here. The color is a beautiful rich caramel, and the taste is a little of cherry or plum, to me, although the tin says prunes. Who wants to drink prune tea? No one except really old people with problems about which you do not want to hear. Plum, which is undried prune, sounds better. To me. Of course!

The tea company, Shen Zen Tea, www.ShenZenTea.com, is difficult to find until you realize that they sell at farmer’s markets, not retail stores, a nice change. This is a plug to get you to support farmer’s markets and a local tea company. Which markets they sell at are listed on their website, as well as their teas, although the one I am drinking is not listed. Pity. As the website is still under construction, maybe they are still working on listing their teas. Keep working! So hunt them down at the farmer’s markets instead of their website, which is still under construction. And hope that they can get that together soon, for their business model. They have beautiful packaging with elegant design, and a smooth black tea that is quite enjoyable. I might want more.

Meanwhile, it’s six weeks to the NW Tea Festival at Fischer Pavilion, Seattle Center. Plan to attend, discover new teas, and listen to tea talks. Tea people rock!


It’s the frangipani hootenanny for the northwest tea folks. 

The NW Tea Festival rolls into Fischer Pavilion at the Seattle Center in seven weeks. There are vendors galore, tea products and wares to buy, tasting sessions to imbibe, and herds of tea people with which to mingle. It’s an opportunity to make new friends and taste new teas. For a modest entry fee of $10, you receive a take home tea cup with which to taste to your heart’s content. Most of the vendors have tastings of several of their teas. Try them all; Fischer Pavilion has bathrooms!

This is learning about tea without having to buy huge quantities of some obscure tea and finding out that it was awful and you wouldn’t even serve it to your visiting Aunt Em, who can’t go home soon enough. Amen!

Last year, I tasted nearly everything, and brought home 6 new teas, 5 of which I am still drinking a year later. One was an impulse buy. Beware of eye catching labels.

Avoiding the $10 entry fee is easy: volunteer. These things don’t run by themselves. Volunteering introduces you to other enthusiasts, tea vendors before the rush of people, and a whole host of swell people (the festival organizers) who will be eternally grateful for your community support. Volunteering is done your way: a few hours, half day, full day, two days. You decide.

Not everywhere has a tea festival. Montana, for instance. We are lucky that a group of people are willing to take on this thankless task. And your support in the way of volunteering is awesome. 

Come to the NW Tea Festival Oct 5 & 6th. 

Or………….stay home and wash your hair and paint your fingernails.


a(Credit: Sakuma Brothers Farms) Among countless acres of berry vines and apple trees in Skagit Valley, you’ll find Richard Sakuma tending to his tea

There are only 4 tea growers in the United States: two in the South, one co-op in Hawaii, and this guy……………….Richard Sakuma, in Skagit County. He was at the NW Tea Festival last year, and we hope to see him again this year.

The NW Tea Festival is just around the corner: Oct 5 & 6th, at Fischer Pavilion at Seattle Center. 

Hope to see you there.


Although I am not much for herbal (medicinal) teas, I will try anything once, maybe three times. So when one of my friends brought me herbal tea from Iceland, I smelled it (twigs), said thank you, plopped it on the shelf, pushed it to the side, and ignored it for a month. 

You have to let these things age, don’t you? 

 The tea stared back at me, begging to be tasted. I could stand it no more. With a certain amount of“hail-ho”spirit, I made a small pot. 

Let me tell you what’s in it: Iceland moss, birch, angelica. No tea leaves, this is an herbal (medicinal) tisane. Healthy. Helpful for respiration, digestion, circulation. Guards against gout, rheumatism, and water retention. Promotes liver function. 

Yipee!

 All good reasons to drink herbal (medicinal) teas except………I drink tea for it’s taste. I don’t need a doctor to drink tea. It’s all well and good that tea helps the body function better, but first and foremost, it has to taste good. This tastes like twigs and moss, which is what it is.

I am taste testing it against pu’erh tea, my least favorite type of real tea, to see if it improves my feelings for pu-erh. Guess what? The Zen Dog (www.TeaHouseGallery.com) Moonlight Pu-erh isn’t so bad after all. It’s a white pu-erh, and it doesn’t smell, and taste, like most pu-erh’s, which is to say, dirt.

If the choice is moss tea or pu-erh tea, I think it’s clear which one wins. Moss tea is not happening in this house unless I have respiration, digestion, or circulation issues. If and when I do, I know where to look: up on the shelf, pushed to the side.  

Meanwhile, should I visit Iceland, I’m taking my own tea.


Driving home one day, I noticed a new tea shop where an old coffee shop had recently closed. As we already have 18 places to buy coffee in 6 blocks, I was relieved to see that this wasn’t going to be another coffee establishment. 

Instead, it’s tea. From South Africa. Yes, yes, they have teas from other parts of the world, and coffee as well, but as the owners are from South Africa, their interesting teas, tea blends, and tea concoctions are made with rooibos. Ok, rooibos isn’t technically a tea. It’s an herbal infusion. Picky, picky. 

The owner, Natasha Robson-Lovato, made me a latte with 2 shots through an espresso machine of rooibos and steamed milk, then drizzled honey and cinnamon over it. A skeptic by nature, I smiled and said I’d try it, though not entirely sure that I would like it. She made my friend something called a Rooibos Fresh, which was shots of rooibos and apple juice. 

Not a huge rooibos lover (I overdid it several times when I was younger), I was somewhat surprised at how pleasant the taste was. In fact, it was rather on the yum side. 

Additionally, we treated ourselves to a Pineapple Fridge Tart, which Natasha makes daily. It melts in your mouth, and slides down your throat. Oink! It was good. They also offer a Peppermint Crisp Tart, another of Natasha’s creations, who could soon be my new BFF. They have sweets, savories, and tea sandwiches daily. Go early; they sell out.

The Cederberg Tea House people are a family from South Africa: the parents, Cecile and Howard; the daughter, Natasha, and her American husband, Jason. Everyone works in the shop, and they regale you with tales of South Africa, tea, world travels, and the difficulties of becoming an American citizen. We who were born here, take our citizenship for granted, forgetting how appealing this country is to other cultures. 

The tea house is so different from any other tea houses around that that alone is worth a visit. Then there’s the creative teas and the snacketto’s, which are original sin. Go, already!

Cederberg Tea House, 1417 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

cederbergteahouse.com, 206-285-1352


We were already on our way to the donut palace, assuming we would drink coffee with our treats. By happenstance, we decided to try a tea/donut pairing. We’re very cosmopolitan, you know. 

I had some teas that were quite suitable, and after perusing our choices, we decided on a couple that just might work. Here was our criteria: the tea needed to be lighter rather than heavier, so no puer. Nor did we want  strong black tea or an oolong, like Golden Moon Coconut Pouchong,  purchased at the Tea Lady, in Olympia. What we wanted was a green tea or a white. Silk Road Teas sells Jasmine Silver Needle (purchased at Perennial Tea Room, Seattle), but I wasn’t sure that jasmine wouldn’t compete with the donuts. We considered Sugimoto’s Sen Cha (purchased at Uwajimaya in Seattle), but that might be a little more flavor than we wanted. 

That left three choices: Silk Road Teas White Peony, Phoenix Tea Huo Shan Huang Ya (purchased at Phoenix Tea, Burien), and Chado Tea White Champagne Raspberry (chadotea.com).  

The Silk Road Teas White Peony was quite nice. The flavor was subtle, with a slight floral flavor, indeed complementing the donuts: glazed and sugared. We quite enjoyed it. We then brewed a pot of Chado White Champagne Raspberry. Although the tea is wonderful by itself, it needs no competing food. It was too floral, too sweet. Donuts need contrast, not competition. Finally, we decided to try one more: Phoenix Tea’s  Huo Shan Huang Ya, a yellow tea. It was the right amount of astringency to offset the sugar of the donuts. We were quite pleased with our experiment, and learned new things about tea. 

Which is how it should be.

This whole of idea of pairing tea with food is an old idea. You are just objecting because you don’t think of donuts as food. Tea makes no distinctions. 

Buy different teas, try different teas. It’s how you learn.   


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