Tag Archives: Peet’s Coffee & Tea

Review: Peet’s Summer House Iced Tea

Peet's Coffee & Tea on Santa Clara St.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Santa Clara St. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Summer has definitely arrived in San Jose, with the highest June temps we’ve seen in years!  Definitely time for lots of iced tea, and happily, someone has designated the month of June to be Iced Tea Month.  While cold tea, served with or without ice in the glass, has been a familiar drink in the United States since the middle of the 1800s, especially in the warm Southern states, “iced” tea is generally agreed to have been “invented” – at least formally introduced – to Americans at the 1906 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.  Iced tea became a sensation and has remained a popular warm-weather beverage ever since then.  Iced tea is easy to make at home, with a glass jar or decanter and some cold water in the fridge, but when you’re out and about, sometimes it can be difficult to find a good iced tea.  Various dine-in and fast-food restaurants serve iced tea, and most coffee shops in the San Jose area do, as well.

 

Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Santa Clara St. usually has a few cold tea-based drinks on the menu, but if you want your basic iced black tea, their Summer House Tea is a good choice.  It is a blend of black teas specifically created for making iced tea, and it is only served iced in-store.  You can also buy it as a loose-leaf tea in tins, or in tea bags, for about $7 per tin or box of tea bags.  The company website describes the blend this way: “Iced tea is an altogether different drink from its steaming counterpart, calling for a smoother, more refreshing flavor.  Summer House contains three teas from China and India for a blend that’s at once slightly sweet, toasty and mildly brisk.”

Peet's iced tea.  Photo from the Peet's company Facebook page.

Peet’s iced tea. Photo from the Peet’s company Facebook page.

I tasted the Summer House Tea for the first time a few years ago.  I would not consider it a smooth-flavored tea, and I didn’t taste any sweetness or toastyness.  The description suggests that the blend is a mix of Assam (for the toastyness), with some other Chinese teas.  There must be some Darjeeling in the blend because there was a good amount of astringency (“briskness”) in the flavor, as well as a citrusy tartness.  The tea is served unsweetened, and although I usually don’t add sugar or honey to my tea – hot or cold – I would add a small amount of honey to this iced tea.  It would also be tasty with a slice of fresh Meyer lemon.

Stay hydrated this summer with lots of iced tea! You can even change it up by adding fruit juice and sparkling water to make ice-cold spritzers.

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Peet’s Summer House Iced Tea product page
“The Perfect Cup: Tasting Tea”
“Tea Tasting Terms”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Iced tea punches and mocktails: variations on a theme.”
“Sweet tea: the ‘Elixir of the South’”
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Review: Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”
“Use tea in refreshing fruit spritzers this summer” 

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Filed under Product Reviews, Tea Tasting, Vendors and Shops

Tea for studying in San Jose.

Ready to study with a cup of tea. FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Now that the first day of class at SJSU and local high schools has come and gone, keeping the energy up for studying regains its important position in life for local students. Many choose to drink coffee and energy drinks to stay awake, but these beverages can upset the digestive system as well as sleep patterns, so a pot of tea makes a really good alternative, being gentler on the body, while still providing a caffeine boost. However, different kinds of tea are better for studying with than others.

One common tea myth states that black tea has the most caffeine, and green and white tea have the least amounts of caffeine. That’s incorrect; each type of tea – black, oolong, green and white – falls within a range of caffeine content, and the range for each type of tea overlaps with at least one other type. For example, it is possible to find a white tea that contains more caffeine than a particular black tea!  However, white teas are so delicate in flavor and aroma that they should really be appreciated when you have nothing more serious to do than relax.

For studying, or any prolonged intellectual work, like reading, or manual work where you need a steady hand, like working on your car, a black, oolong, or green tea will provide enough flavor to keep your taste buds satisfied, but not make you jumpy like coffee can. If you prefer black tea, choose a tea from India, especially Assam, as that variety has been bred over the years to have a higher caffeine content, and it is especially good if you add milk and/or sugar. A dark or amber oolong – which has a more robust and less floral flavor – is nice study companion, and a good-quality Chinese green tea can also be a great choice. You can get flavored and unflavored black, oolong and green teas at local tea shops like Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square, and even some coffee shops, like Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

If you aren’t used to the taste of tea, or if you are a coffee-drinker trying to cut down on coffee, then masala chai – Indian tea with milk, sugar and spices – is a good choice for both flavor and caffeine content. You can get chai from Starbucks and Peet’s, and find chai concentrate and powdered chai mix at most Safeway, Lucky, Nob Hill, and Save Mart grocery stores if you don’t want to (or can’t) make it from scratch. Pull some packaged cookies or some chocolate from the tea party pantry to munch, and you’ll be set for a productive study session. However you drink it, tea is a great beverage to study with, keeping you alert, but not jumpy, providing great flavor and hydration, plus keeping San Jose’s students warm during these cool, windy autumn days.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?” 
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Ease the first-day-of-school jitters with a tea party”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Enjoy San Jose’s harvest moon with some hot tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“How to make ‘instant’ chai”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“Study with tea instead of coffee!”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area destinations: Peet’s Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose”

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Filed under Health, Tips, Uncategorized, Vendors and Shops

Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival!

2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival postcard. Image from the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

For Bay Area tea-lovers, a festival devoted to caffeinated beverages promises to be a tasty and energy-filled event; we have the Winter Fancy Food Show and the San Francisco International Tea Festival, and this weekend is the 2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival on Saturday, August 18th. The event organizers have planned an information-filled morning for the festival, which ends at 1 p.m. so that all the tea-tasting and coffee-tasting (plenty of free samples!) won’t interfere with anyone’s sleep that night. There will be a vendor hall featuring coffee and tea companies, as well as classroom discussion panels and workshops about tea and coffee, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

The tea panel, Tea 2.0, will be led by the Bay Area’s James Norwood Pratt, author of the New Tea Encyclopedia, and a celebrity in the tea world. Panel members will include Ned Heagerty of Silk Road Teas, Patrick Pineda of Tisano Tea, Sina Carroll of Red Circle Tea and Eliot Jordan of Peet’s Coffee & Tea. With James Norwood Pratt as moderator, it will be a really fun, as well as interesting, discussion! Tickets are $25 each (purchase from the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce or at the door) but you can get $5 off your ticket by going to the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce page on Facebook and “liking” it. Here is the vital information:

Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival
August 18, 2012, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Shattuck Hotel
Hotel Shattuck Plaza
2086 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 292-4353
Toll Free: (888) 623-7261
Fax: (510) 845-7320
E-mail: info@hotelshattuckplaza.com

It’s about a 45 minute drive from San Jose to Berkeley for the festival. To get there from San Jose, take Hwy. 880N toward Oakland, then merge onto 980 E towards Walnut Creek. Continue on CA-24, and take the Martin Luther King Jr. Way exit. Make a slight right onto Adeline St., left on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and make a right on Allston. Or, if you want to take public transportation, you’d take the 180 Express bus to the BART station in Fremont, then take BART to the downtown Berkeley station, and walk a block to the hotel.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival website
Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival – Maps and Directions
Online registration through the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival tickets on FunCheapSF
“Perk up at the Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival”
“Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival – Saturday, August 18, 2012”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Tea 101: what is pu-erh tea?”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area day trips: San Francisco’s Chinatown”
“An overview of Chinese teas available in San Jose”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Bay Area Winter Fancy Food Show will include lots of tea”
“San Francisco International Tea Festival happens this Saturday!”
“San Francisco International Tea Festival – accessible to San Jose tea lovers”
2011 Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival on YouTube

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Filed under Events, Glossary & Terminology, Health, History, Tea Tasting, Vendors and Shops

Review: Tea-tasting at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in San Jose

Peet's Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Although better known for their coffee, as a major competitor to Starbuck’s, Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a good source for loose tea and good-quality bagged tea in San Jose. The California-based company offers free tea and coffee tastings, both pre-scheduled ones and for walk-ins, in their Bay Area stores. That’s right, you can walk in to a Peet’s Coffee & Tea store in the San Jose area, and ask them to set up a tea tasting for you right then and there!

The South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild went to the Peet’s store in downtown San Jose on Santa Clara St. recently for one of their tea tastings, and were very pleased with the experience. Peet’s staff prepared seven teas and tisanes for tasting, all from their organic tea collection:

  • Gunpowder, a rolled Chinese green tea which was savory and slightly smoky in flavor and aroma. Peet’s describes its flavor as “bittersweet and slightly smoky character”.
  • Jade Mist, a Chinese green tea that was fresh-tasting and savory. Peet’s describes it as “fresh, bright taste with a mildly brisk flavor … with aromatic hints of green peas and kale, leaving a crisp aftertaste.”
  • Ancient Trees, a pu-erh from Yunnan in China, that was earthy and mildly smoky. Some of the tea tasters thought the first infusions were too strongly “dirty” but the later infusions were milder and more enjoyable. The staff member who led the tea tasting said this was one of Peet’s most popular teas. The website describes it as “rich, earthy, nutty and densely flavorful, as thick and dark as coffee, yet exceptionally smooth.”
  • Darjeeling Fancy, an Indian black tea with a mild astringency, smooth aftertaste and surprisingly rose-like aroma. The website says it is a second flush Darjeeling and has a “sweet, floral aroma, and a pungent taste.” Although I don’t tend to like Darjeeling teas – I find them too bitter – I am happy to say that I liked this one; that may be due to the milder tannins in second-flush Darjeeling teas. I did notice that it became much more bitter than astringent after 5 minutes of steeping.
  • Buddha Peak Ceylon, a Sri Lankan black tea that had a slight lemony aroma. The website says it has “bright malty flavor and brisk tanginess.”
  • Pure Peppermint, a tisane that was strongly minty and refreshing. The website reveals that it is Oregon peppermint, which “has an intensely minty quality.”
  • Red Rooibos, a South African herbal tisane that featured the tart, almost citrusy herbal flavor characteristic of rooibos. The website describes its scent as “saffron-vanilla”, with a rich “faintly malty” flavor.

Peet’s has a Tea Wheel with information about all of the teas they sell, but the staffer who conducted the tea tasting was

Peet's tea tasting set-up. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

very knowledgeable as well. He was careful to heat the water to the proper temperature, used a timer to infuse each tea for the proper amount of time, and provided cups of plain water so we could cleanse our palates. The attention to detail also included separate tasting cups for each type of tea, so that the fragrance and flavor of one tea would not influence the next. While the company seems to spend more on promoting their coffee, it’s good to know that they take good care with their tea as well! There are over 10 Peet’s locations in San Jose alone, along with two in Milpitas, two in Santa Clara, and more stores throughout the Bay Area.  Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a good tea-tasting destination in the San Jose area.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Peet’s Coffee & Tea company website
“The Perfect Cup: Tasting Tea” from the Peet’s website
“Tea Tasting Terms”
Peet’s Coffee & Tea article on Wikipedia
“Peet’s Tea Assam Golden Tip (review)” on Lainie Sips
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea” 
“Tea 101: what is pu-erh tea?”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area day trips: San Francisco’s Chinatown”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”

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Filed under Events, Product Reviews, Tea Tasting, Tips, Vendors and Shops