Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tea 103

I am a tea drinker. Although there are times when nothing tastes as good as a cup of strong, black, French pressed coffee, I usually prefer tea.

I am fortunate to have the best tea parlor in Northern California, right here in Newcastle! “An Afternoon to Remember - Tea Parlor & Gifts” serves delicious food, well-brewed teas and has a fabulous gift shop. It is the best place to spend an afternoon or to pop in for a refreshing “cuppa” & a warm scone. Mandarin orange is my new favorite!

The owner, Amy, and her delightful staff are super-friendly, and are ever-willing to share their love of tea and extensive knowledge of “all things tea” with everyone!

This being the case, my first real outing (not to a Drs. appointment, ugh!) after my surgery was to attend an event at Afternoon to Remember: Tea 103 – Oolong Tea Tasting. What a great and informative couple of hours we spent learning about & tasting Oolong tea! Then, just to make it even better, we were served two kinds of scones. Mandarin Orange & Jamaican Banana – Lemon Curd & Devonshire Cream included!

I took a few photos during the tasting. I hope these will give you an idea of how the tasting was conducted and encourage you to find a tea parlor of your own!

Please take the time to visit the An Afternoon to Remember website. You can shop for tea and accoutrements & their wonderful cookbooks, see more photos & sample menus, and view a great video of a tea tasting with James Norwood Pratt, which I also attended. The video is lengthy but very entertaining and if you are interested in the history of tea, you shouldn’t miss it!

This is the entrance. I love the little butler with his tea cup!

Interior View

Table set for tasting/class

Amy - parlor owner

Some teas were brewed in glass pots to show off the color
& served in a small cup. (see next photo.)

This is our individual tasting set up.
Small cup for tasting from glass pots, 3 traditional tea "bowls",
and three individual tea pots.
Tea brewing in individual pots.

Then, we tipped the pot onto the tea bowl.

Here are the steeped leaves.
Most Oolongs can be steeped multiple times! Some prefer the 2nd or 3rd steeping.

I learned so much and tasted such wonderful Oolongs at Tea 103! If you'd like to hear more, leave a comment and I'll post a mini-class about these delicious Oolong teas!

Enjoy! Chris