Tag Archives: San Jose

3 Mother’s Day teas in the San Jose area.

Satori Tea Bar.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Satori Tea Bar. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, and afternoon tea is a wonderful way to spend some time with your mom.  After all, isn’t that what many mothers say they want: a nice time with their children?  Of course, you can take her to the Fairmont for afternoon tea, but that’s fairly spendy.  Several local tea rooms are offering special Mother’s Day menus this year; remember, like all special events at restaurants, advanced reservations are required.

1. Mother’s Day Tea Celebration: Saturday, May 9 at 11:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. seatings; Sunday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. seatings.

Menu:
Plentiful pot of tea
Mini quiche
Assorted tea sandwiches and green salad
Tea fancies: tea cookie, tea hat petit four, citrus tart, and dessert bar
Warm Heritage scone with Devonshire cream and preserves
Toasted crumpet with rum butter

$37 per person (advance reservations required)
Add a blood orange mimosa for an additional $11.

Satori Tea Company’s Tea Atelier
37 N. San Pedro St., San Jose.
(408)292-1502

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Filed under Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tea, Vendors and Shops

Refreshing Citrus Rose Tea Punch recipe

tea punch ingredients

Citrus pomegranate rose tea punch ingredients. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Labor Day may be the unofficial “end of summer” but it’s not the end of the hot weather here in San Jose!  Cooling, refreshing drinks are still necessary to survive the warmth, especially for those of us who live in older homes without air conditioning.  Tea – especially iced or cold-brewed – is a great drink to keep in the fridge, and it makes delicious mixed drinks and punches.  Served over ice, it is wonderfully cooling and easy to drink. Here is the recipe:

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Filed under Recipes, Tea, Tips

Steampunk tea and Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose

 

Photo: MorgueFile.com

Photo: MorgueFile.com

Clockwork Alchemy, the Steampunk convention associated with FanimeCon, has returned to San Jose’s DoubleTree Hotel for the second year.  Featuring dance, art, crafts, writing, music, fashion and food within the Steampunk aesthetic, because the genre is tied to Victoriana, tea will always be available whenever convention attendees want a cuppa.  Not only will the DoubleTree Hotel’s restaurant offer its usual hot tea on the menu, but the convention is setting up its own tea room, called The Alchemist’s Tea Parlour, where guests can get not only a nice hot cup of tea and a biscuit, but even have their fortunes read in their tea leaves.  The Tea Parlour will be open from Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Riesling Room.

Other occasions for tea include a writers’ gathering and reading, called “Tea and Trumpets”, on Friday from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Monterey room.  On Monday at 11 a.m., there will be an interesting class called “Stocking the Steampunk Pantry, Equipping a Steampunk Kitchen, & Setting a Steampunk Table” in the San Carlos Room.  The class will explore the relationship between the Industrial Revolution and agriculture in changing how people got the food they ate and what was available to various locations.  Class attendees will use this information to imagine the tools, gadgets, and ingredients appropriate to a Steampunk kitchen.  There might also be an episode of “Tea Dueling” in and among the other activities!

Admission, or Membership, to Clockwork Alchemy costs $65 for the weekend (and includes free admission to FanimeCon, also in San Jose this weekend), but you can also buy a Membership for each day on its own.  Just go to the At-Con Registration line in the Bayshore room at the DoubleTree Hotel; Friday, the opening day, costs $35 to attend, Saturday and Sunday each cost $40, and Monday is $30 for a general admission Membership.  Children are welcome to attend with an adult, and have a discounted rate.

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Filed under Events, History, Tea

Enjoy some tea and treats with the Eta Aquarid meteor shower

The constellation Aquarius.  Photo: Till Credner, Creative Commons 3.0

The constellation Aquarius. Photo: Till Credner, Creative Commons 3.0

San Jose has seemingly skipped from spring to summer lately! One way to stay cool through the evening is to open up the windows of your home, and spend time outdoors as the sun goes down and the air cools off. What better way to enjoy the cool of the evening than with some tea, treats, and a meteor shower overhead? The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower is supposed to be at its most intense beginning around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, continuing until dawn, but shooting stars could be visible to the east/southeast on the horizon as early as 9 p.m. Pacific time. A spot on the eastern side of the foothills near Berryessa or Evergreen would be an ideal place for meteor-watching, early Sunday and Monday morning.

Halley’s Comet leaves a trail of dust in its wake, littering its orbit with debris. This debris falls to Earth twice a year, when our orbit gets near enough to the comet’s orbit and some of the dust gets pulled in by Earth’s gravity. The other meteor shower caused by this debris is the Orionid meteor shower in October. Ideal conditions for viewing meteor showers include dark, moonless skies, and clear weather. Look for the meteors to originate from the constellation Aquarius, which should be visible above the horizon between midnight and 3 a.m. You can also wait until 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday for NASA’s live webcast.

As for tea and treats, it’s warm enough to enjoy either iced tea, or hot tea, as you choose. A hearty black tea will help you stay awake and focused in order to see those meteors. Keep up your energy with a buffet of treats from the tea party pantry that will pair well with your choice of tea. You can even add some tea ice cream from the grocery store.  If you have a good view of the eastern and southern sky from your yard or windows, you may not even have to leave the comfort of your own home! Pull up some lawn chairs to support your back, or spread out some beach towels, and enjoy your midnight tea picnic while gazing up at the stars this weekend!

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 other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Meteor Shower Created by Halley’s Comet Peaks This Weekend” from Space.com
“LIVE WEBCAST Sunday 9 p.m. ET: See Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower”
“Look Up! Stargazing events for May 2013”
“Eta Aquarid meteor shower to peak this weekend with 20 to 40 meteors per hour”
“Be inspired by Halley’s Comet with a viewing of the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Bring along a tea party as you watch the Orionid meteor shower in October”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Give an open house with a tea buffet for your favorite graduate”
“Fill the time waiting for your Twilight Saga: Eclipse tickets with a midnight tea picnic”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Meteor-watching in San Jose? Keep warm with tea and snacks”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Here’s how to put on a Twilight themed midnight tea picnic”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”

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Filed under Events, Tips

Have a Valentine’s Day tea for two

"I'm all 'steamed' up over you my Valentine -- you suit me to a 'TEA'!"  Image: Denise LeCroy/Tea in England

“I’m all ‘steamed’ up over you my Valentine — you suit me to a ‘TEA’!” Image: Denise LeCroy/Tea in England

Tea shares a few qualities with some popular aphrodisiacs, like chocolate: it’s got antioxidants that are good for you! It’s not too late to put together a romantic tea-for-two for your sweetheart. You can do a high tea instead of going out to an expensive and crowded restaurant for dinner, or have tea and sweets for dessert afterwards. Pull your nicest things out of the tea party pantry, cozy up with a pot of tea, and you’ll be well on your way to a private little tea party.

First, choose a tea: both Satori Tea Bar and Lisa’s Tea Treasures sell rose-scented and other floral loose tea blends that would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day tea. Or, you can get some rose water or orange-flower water from the Middle Eastern food section of many local grocery stores, and add a teaspoon of that to your favorite black tea.  Next, put together some treats.  You can stir some chopped chocolate and dried cherries into your favorite scone recipe, or go to Nob Hill in Milpitas, or other higher-end grocery store and get a packaged scone mix, refrigerated pre-made scone dough, or even (at Bay Area Whole Foods stores), pre-made scones, as well as some cherry or raspberry jam to accompany them. Savories that include red foods, like roasted red peppers, are both tasty and festive. Chocolates, red velvet cupcakes (you can even buy red velvet cake mix in local grocery stores these days) and any other luxurious desserts are also welcome additions. Try making your own truffles, and infusing some chai spices in the cream, for a tasty twist!

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 other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Surprise your loved one with tea and romance”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“How to use edible flowers for tisanes”
“Review: Vital Tea Leaf Angel green tea and Siberian Rose tisane”
“Tea-table recipe: rose-petal jam desserts”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“Aztec chocolate bread pudding to eat with tea”
“Making the most of a cup of restaurant tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
“Review: Passion blend from SerendipiTea”
“Shrewsbury Cakes: a Regency recipe to eat with tea in San Jose”
“Practice good manners in San Jose at the tea table”
“6 points of proper tea etiquette for San Jose”
“Review: Original English Tea Scones from Sconehenge Bakery”
Homemade truffles for Valentine’s Day

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Filed under Holiday, Party Ideas, Tea, Tips

Tea savories are at home on the Super Bowl buffet table

Gingerbread football cookies.  Image: MorgueFile.com

Gingerbread football cookies. Image: MorgueFile.com

All of San Jose is excited for Super Bowl XLVII because local favorites, the San Francisco 49ers, are playing for the championship! While tea-lovers who aren’t also football fans may want to escape to another room, or to another building altogether – such as one of San Jose’s tea shops – when the game starts, there are many tea table savories that are equally suitable for the game day buffet table;  look in your tea party pantry and see what you can use!  Tea-loving football fans can brew up a sturdy black tea like an English Breakfast, or even add tea leaves to their barbecue spice rub, that will pair well with the strongly-flavored foods on the buffet table, and enjoy one of San Jose’s unofficial holidays, “Super Bowl Sunday.”

Show your support for the San Francisco 49ers with red and gold-colored foods, as well as the themed napkins, paper plates and team memorabilia that decorate every fan’s home. For example: make a chicken salad with honey mustard, and serve it in mini red Bell pepper cups. Make grilled cheese and bell pepper finger sandwiches on sourdough bread. Make a fruit salad with lots of bananas, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, or maraschino cherries for color.  Or, try an old California recipe from 1915, invented for the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition. If you have a food processor, it’s a really quick addition, too:

CANAPE A L’EXPOSITION
Fry six thin rounds of bread. Chop three tablespoons of cold chicken or ham and two anchovies, and pound to a paste. Add a tablespoon of thick cream and season with chile powder. Then spread on the toast. Sprinkle with grated cheese and brown in the oven.
— from The Pan-Pacific Cookbook: Savory Bits from the World’s Fare by L.L. McLaren.

In more modern terms the recipe could look like this:

6 slices sandwich bread
1 cup cooked chicken or ham, chopped
2 anchovies, boned
1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus extra
1 teaspoon chile powder
grated cheese, to taste

Toast or pan-fry the bread on both sides until browned and crisp. Use a 1-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut at least 2 rounds from each slice of bread. Set aside. Add chicken and anchovies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until ground to a paste. Add a tablespoon of cream and the chile powder to the meat and process, adding more cream as necessary to make a spreadable, but not runny paste. Spread the meat paste on the toast rounds. Sprinkle with grated cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and browned to your liking. Makes about 6 servings.

This makes a quick, easy, and slightly healthier addition to all those hot wings, jalapeno poppers and chips that will be on your game day buffet table. If you use cheddar cheese, and garnish with paprika or roasted red pepper, it will even be a red-and-gold colored appetizer! Other traditional tea savories like sausage rolls and smoked salmon finger sandwiches would also appeal to the beer-drinkers, and you can make iced tea punches and spritzers with fruit juice and carbonated water for the kids and those who want an alternative to beer. Go ‘9ers!

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 or Pinterest!

For more information:
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“Super Bowl Super Fan: New Orleans Tea cocktail from The Spice and Tea Exchange”
“Super Bowl ‘tea’”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Give an open house with a tea buffet for your favorite graduate”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“Barbecue with tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Menu tip: 5 teas for San Jose’s beer fans”
“Use tea in refreshing fruit spritzers”
San Francisco 49ers Menu from Epicurious
Super Bowl recipes from the NFL blog
Easy Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-ups recipe
San Francisco recipes from Allrecipes.com

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Filed under Holiday, Party Ideas, Recipes, Tea, Tips

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

Treat Mom to a tea brunch at home next weekend

FreeDigitalPhotos.com

So many of us are beginning to think “what should I do for my mom on Mother’s Day?” Flowers are always nice, and chocolates are, too, but if you did that last year, how about something a little different this year? And seriously, does your mom really want another bottle of perfume or shower gel?

If you live nearby, or can travel to see her, why not prepare a tea brunch for your mom – or aunt, grandma, or other women who’ve nurtured you – and use your money more efficiently, while giving her a priceless gift: your time and effort. Get some nice flowers for the table, make her a pot of tea, and keep the whole thing simple, so that you can sit down with her and help her enjoy the day. Set the table with a tablecloth, cloth napkins, china, family heirlooms, if you have them – many mothers don’t bother to get them out for themselves – and have everything ready so that all she has to do is sit down and relax.

Don’t know what food to make? Many brunch foods go really well with black tea. Savory casseroles and sweet bread puddings can be assembled ahead of time, covered and put in the fridge, and baked in the morning, saving holiday time. Here are some recipe suggestions for your own Mother’s Day tea brunch:

Masala Chai
Plain Scones
Savory Black Olive Scones
Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sandwiches
Meyer Lemon Curd
Apricot Oolong Compote
Cinnamon-Raisin and Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
Aztec Chocolate Bread Pudding
Rosewater Sugar Cookies
Rose-petal Jam Tartlets
Pound Cake with Caraway Seeds

Fresh fruit, scones, jam and butter are wonderful additions, but you can also purchase your favorite brand of English muffins or crumpets for toasting, instead of making scones if that’s too intimidating. Your tea party pantry contents also come in handy for these special occasions. Local supermarkets have a good variety of items, and the San Pedro Square Friday Farmer’s Market has just re-opened for the season, adding another source of the best produce, fresh bread, and other treats, to the Sunday market in Japantown and various other farmer’s markets. Make a pot of loose-leaf tea, set the table nicely, make sure you do all the clean-up, and you will see how surprisingly rewarding it is to give a tea brunch at home in San Jose!

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:
“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?”
“Tea 101: how to have a tea party for children”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
A Mother’s Day Tea

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Filed under Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tea, Tips

May 2012 tea events in the San Jose area

A tea basket is a great Mother’s Day gift! Photo: sideshowmom, MorgueFile.com

Springtime in San Jose is a busy time for afternoon tea lovers! The weather in the month of May is some of the best during the year, with lots of sunny afternoons and cool breezes that carry the scent of the flowers that still bloom in gardens and orchards in the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Perfect weather for drinking tea both indoors and out!  Here are some tea activities that are scheduled for the month of May:

  1. Titanic Survivors’ Reunion Tea and Garden Party, Saturday, May 12 at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. Hosted by the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild.  Food will be provided; tickets cost $30 per person. Titanic-era costumes admired but not required. Gentlemen and well-behaved children welcome. For more information, contact the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild.
  2. 10th Annual Literary Tea, Saturday, May 12, 11:30 p.m. at the Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas. A light lunch will be provided; general admission tickets are $15 per person, or $12 for students and seniors. Historical fiction author C. W. Gortner will be the featured speaker, with harp music by Elizabeth Mier. For more information, contact Larry Voellger at 942-6960.
  3. A Tea Party Just For Mother, Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Lisa’s Tea Treasures, 1145 Olsen Ave., San Jose (at Santana Row).  Special menu is $34.95 and includes a mimosa, choice of Vanilla Floral or Butter Truffle tea, Strawberry Almond Salad, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cucumber Mint tea sandwiches, scone with cream and jam, and Lemon Cream Cake.
  4. Mother’s Day Champagne Tea, Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Lisa’s Tea Treasures, 1875 S. Bascom Ave. #165, Campbell.  Special menu is $34.95 per person and includes a mimosa, orange juice or sparkling lemonade; choice of Earl Grey Floral, Champagne Raspberry or Boysenberry decaf teas; a Caesar salad and scone with cream and jam; apricot, pistachio and gorgonzola, cucumber mint and artichoke heart parmesan tea sandwiches; a choice of Four Cheese Basil Crepes or Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Bacon Torte; and a choice of Chocolate Violet Mousse Cake or Mixed Berry Cream Tart.
  5. Mother & Me Champagne Tea, Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Tyme for Tea & Co., 37501 Niles Blvd., Fremont. 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. seatings, reservations required. Cost is $32 (ages 9 and above), and $26 per child age 8 and under. Call (510) 790 – 0944 for more information.
  6. 2012 Home Tour and Backyard Tea, Sunday, May 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Historic Peter E. Col House, 1163 Martin Avenue, San Jose. Presented by Hanchett Park Heritage Project, the event will feature a tour of the home and a backyard tea. No children under age 12. Admission (online) through May 11 is $20 per person (+ online service fees); from May 12-May 18, admission is $25 per person (+ online service fees). Check in at the event; no tickets required.
  7. “Time for Tea” Exhibit, Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 4 p.m., through July 1, 2012 at the Ainsley House and Gardens, 300 Grant St., Campbell. Afternoon tea in the Carriage House is available before each tour; tea and museum admission is $25 per person, and reservations are required. Call Karen Lange at (408) 866 – 2758 to make a reservation or for more information. Museum admission (without afternoon tea) is $6 (adults), $4 (seniors), and $2.50 (youth ages 7 to 17).

Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square also has a seasonal tea menu, but you’ll have to go down to the shop to see what’s on it, because the individual items aren’t listed on the website.  Of course, you could put together your own spring tea at home or at a park or garden in San Jose, with treats from your tea party pantry, perhaps a tea cocktail, chocolate, and other goodies.

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:
“5 Mother’s Day tea events in San Jose”
“Another tea cocktail for the horse-racing fans!”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Birthday gift ideas for the San Jose tea lover”
“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“5 gifts you can make with tea”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Cinco de Mayo in San Jose is a good time for tea.”
“It’s Derby Day: why not have a Derby Day tea while you watch the race?”
“Mother’s Day Tea Party Ideas” from Country Living magazine

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Filed under Events, Holiday, Tea, 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.

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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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