October 28, 2014

Afternoon Tea: The St. Regis New York

I was very excited to join Jee and Sara at the St. Regis New York earlier this month for a traditional afternoon tea. This type of tea service is special, I think. (Read Jee's review.)

The hotel is located off 5th Avenue so the walk from the subway puts you amid the sophisticated hustle and bustle of the city. Tea is served in the King Cole Salon which is a grand room - tall ceiling with murals, gold trim, and crystal chandeliers. However, it's not a feminine room. The seating and floor decor is decidedly dark and masculine.

The staff was patient and polite. There was a minor issue with the sandwiches. We were not given an opportunity select our sandwiches. Roast beef and salmon sandwiches were served which I could not eat because I don't eat meat. However, our server accommodated my request for additional vegetarian options. The sandwiches and quiche were quite good - freshly made and the right amount of everything.

I don't think the scones were memorable as I can't recall anything beyond that they were accompanied by cream, preserves, and lemon curd.

Four types of sweet pastries were served - red fruit tarts, macarons, eclairs, and ginger cakes. The tart and eclair were my favorites. Jee noticed that the tart had a hidden pocket of matcha. Delicious.

Last, but not least, the tea. A generous selection of teas is offered. The list is dominated by blacks which makes sense for a traditional afternoon service. The complete tea menu is available here.

I look forward to experiencing the other hotel afternoon teas in New York. Check out my reviews of traditional hotel afternoon tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel and the Rittenhouse Hotel,

October 21, 2014

Three green teas by TeaVivre

I appreciate the generosity of TeaVivre. The company has provided me with multiple samples of several types of green teas. The tea quality is very good. The label on each tea packet includes the place of harvest. Today I share with you three green teas: Huang Shan Mao Feng, Pi Lo Chun, and Bai Mu Dan.

The Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng in Grown in She County, Huanshan, Anhui Province. The aroma and taste are fruity. The leaves, curled when dry, are pretty.

The first Pi Lo Chun I drank was Huang Jian Lin's for Adagio Teas as part of the company's Roots Campaign. Read my review. TeaVivre's Pi Lo Chun was grown in on Dongting Maountain, Jiangsu Province.

TeaVivre's Organic Superfine Long Jing or Dragon Well has a classic appearance and aroma. I wonder if its organic status contributed to its good flavor. This tea was grown in Lin'an County, Hangzhou, Zheijang Province.

I have more teas from TeaVivre so watch this space for reviews. You can purchase the teas mentioned in this post on the TeaVivre website.

October 16, 2014

Favorite Tea Ware: Jee Choe of Oh, How Civilized

As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore tea ware, from bombillas to matcha whisks. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite 3 of folks in the tea blogging community. Today's faves are from Jee Choe of Oh, How Civilized.

Mariage Frères Tea Canister: On the last two trips to Paris, I picked up tea canisters from Mariage Frères. They're so pretty and the colors are gorgeous, like this mint green one. This one is filled with Marco Polo, one of the best selling Mariage Frères blends. [Mariage Frères]

Matcha Ladle: I got this Bamboo Matcha Ladle from Ippodo, at their shop in Midtown East. This delicate ladle scoops out the perfect portion of matcha and I use it almost every day. [Ippodo Tea NY]

Matcha Whisk: When I got the ladle at Ippodo, I got this 80-tip Bamboo Whisk with it. This is my second one since the first got a little beaten up from not using it properly. I was too aggressively whisking the matcha against the bottom of the bowl -- something you shouldn't do, which I learned the hard way.

All photos are courtesy of Jee Choe. Thank you, Jee. 

September 30, 2014

Drinking oolongs at The Mandarin's Tea Room

Two months ago on a humid day, I accompanied Jee to a private oolong lesson led by Timothy Hsu, proprietor of The Mandarin's Tea Room. (Read Jee's review.) Do you know that humidity is good for tea? Timothy told us that humid air "opens up the tea leaves." I have struggled to write clearly about my experience that afternoon. I took notes about the teas we tasted but the lesson was more than that. It was the interaction between the three of us, the light in the room, the arresting photos on the walls, and the gorgeous table and tea ware. Perhaps it has been a challenge to write about the tasting because I got tea drunk! Instead of further postponement, I have decided to share several photographs of the tasting. Enjoy!

Have you had a hard-to-describe tea experience?

P.S. Have you read the recent press coverage of tea rooms in NYC?

September 27, 2014

Afternoon Tea: New Museum

Tea and art. Why not? The Hester Street Cafe at the New Museum offers afternoon tea. A nice idea on its own or after seeing an exhibit.

Jee and I ordered tea for two. (You can read Jee's review here.) I chose the keemun and Jee the pan-fired green. Milk was not served with my tea and I did not ask. The keemun tasted as it should and I enjoyed it without milk.

I don't have a good photograph of the scones and pastries (shortbread cookie, cakes, macarons). The scones were a bit dry. I was disappointed with the macarons. Now, let's talk about the delicious cucumber sandwiches! (There were only two sandwiches available on the day we went - cucumber and chicken salad. I don't eat chicken so I cannot speak for that sandwich.) What did I like about the cucumber sandwich? Fresh, flavorful bread, thin slices of cucumber, and a judicious amount of cream cheese.

The tea is priced at $20 for one person and $35 for two. Download the tea menu.