All posts tagged: tea

coffee, tea, treats.

For someone who doesn’t drink coffee I had my share in Japan. The coffee scene is on fiah and the attention to detail makes the experience so much more special. A few coffee (and tea!) explorations to follow. My favorites were the spots with coordinating tiny treats. & Coffee by Maison Kayser was one of our first stops. Hubby had an espresso; I had a lavender milk tea. We also ordered a pain du chocolate and our beverages came with little chocolate treats. It was quiet when we arrived (before 8AM on a Saturday). This was our in-between spot after sushi breakfast and before Itoya shopping. We heard about the Toyko Coffee Festival from a local magazine ~ I like to pick those up from airports; sometimes you get lucky with ideas. En route, we ran into a cousin-in-law who at the time lived in San Diego – so random! So we all tasted cups of brew together. There were over a dozen coffee vendors, mostly from the Tokyo/Kyoto area, but also a few international …

wild terra.

After visiting Topo, I walked over to Wild Terra, which had caught my eye when I was looking for parking. I was drawn to the brightness of the shop – lots of natural light. I didn’t know what would be inside and I had to find out! Turns out, Wild Terra had just opened three weeks before my visit. They sell teas, spices and herbs, and lots of natural beauty and health products, plus art prints and some home goods. Wild Terra holds workshops onsite, too. (Big fan of workshops!) And they sell local honey. (Big fan of local honey, too!) The space is inspiring and the staff are very welcoming. They encouraged me to open up the jars to smell all the aromas. Mmm…I ended up getting some Earl Grey tea – the “Earl Grey Creme” – which was indeed creamy, even without adding any milk. Wishing you lots of good vibes and success, Wild Terra!

chai this; chai that.

When in Portland, try all the chai! First up: Seastar Bakery‘s Golden Chai with hazelnut milk, an herbal tisane made with turmeric, ginger, chamomile, citrus, and honey. This was unlike any beverage I’ve ever had. The citrus surprisingly worked really well in the tisane and the turmeric was not overpowering. It was by far my favorite beverage on this trip, and quite possibly from any bakery/cafe I’ve visited. Next up, Prasad‘s dirty chai with coconut mylk, a housemade masala chai blend with a shot of cold-press coffee, sweetened with honey. It was a little sour and a little sweet, but mostly had warm notes from the spices. To wrap up the day, we stopped at Tea Chai Te for…even more tea! Hers and his: Velvet milk oolong with hemp milk and almond milk tea with soy milk and mango popping boba. A lovely afternoon tea break. The next day, we started our morning with Pip’s Original Doughnuts. They serve their chai by the glass and by the flight. Whaaaat? I’m not a fan of beer flights, and …

tea time.

One of my new favorite tea spots is Blue Willow Tea in Berkeley. As part of birthmonth, I invited some friends to join me here for an afternoon of tea and good company. It was going to be my first time at the tea lounge, so I called ahead. The owner Ali was super friendly and sweet, and I was so excited that she could section off a part of the tea room for my gathering. The tea lounge is a bit hidden; you have to know it’s there to find it, but once you do, you are welcomed with a wall of teas and these beauties. On a normal visit, I would probably enjoy one type of tea, but since it was a party we enjoyed three! We tried an oolong, the bourbon vanilla black tea, and a green tea. Our cups were warmed and each tea was served in region-specific serve ware. One of my life goals is to be become a tea expert so here is my attempt at learning the lingo… The oolong …

good morning. 

Hubs and I have started a coffee shop tour! It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, or stay home because pajamas, but it really does feel good to get dressed for a coffee shop date and some strolling. Also, it’s nice to go somewhere together when it doesn’t involve errands or getting something done. We get to sit and talk with each other without distractions or responsibilities (even though some of the conversation might be what needs to get done when we get home. Ha!). Explore along with us! Hal’s Office in Albany, California We ventured to Hal’s, a new kid on the block. Sit by the window on a sunny morning and take fancy pictures, people watch, dragon watch (yes, we saw a dragon pass by – it was Lunar New Year weekend), dog watch. The workers get excited when you order mochas “for here” because they get to practice their coffee art skills. Check out this beauty. We tried the cherry pastry and the sausage & cream cheese croissant, both by Firebrand. And to …

chai time!

My good friend Angel (the lady behind Todos Organics) and I ventured to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden this past weekend for a lesson in chai and spice. Class was held in the Garden’s Tropical House which was the perfect location for learning about masala chai; many of the plants used in masala chai recipes are grown here. Our instructor was Deepa Natarajan, ethnobotanist and lover of masala chai! She’s also got her own masala chai spice blend that is sold at the Oaktown Spice Shop. Basically, she is a masala chai celebrity. 😉 Deepa gave a us history lesson in tea, talked about each of the spices you might put in a masala chai, and showed us the different plants in the garden that produce masala chai ingredients. Masala means “mixture of spices” and chai simply means “tea.” What makes a masala chai? Clove, star anise, cinnamon… …cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, coriander… And ginger! I got to help grate the ginger on a ginger grater, which I’ve decided I need in my life. This thing is amazing! Here’s …