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Coffeeshop Tea

November 03, 2006

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The long process of moving is over, but the unpacking continues. In the meantime, I haven’t had any access to good tea except the occasional order-to-go. My kettle is still in a box, my cupboard is empty, and taking so much time off work makes me so rushed when I’m there that tea gets all but forgotten. I did have the opportunity for two good teas in the last week. The first was at Espresso Vivace on Denny, which is, incidentally, my absolute favorite place in Seattle to get a consistent, smooth espresso drink, hands down.

Vivace also features about six to eight kinds of loose tea (I’m sorry I can’t find any information on the brand anywhere), and I’ve always had good luck just picking one at random. Last weekend my husband and I took a short stroll down the street for the last time as residents of Capitol Hill. He ordered a latte, and I ordered the Wu Wei. It was a dense herbal tea with strong hints of lemongrass and some kind of flower – maybe hibiscus. A quick Google search tells me that my tongue doesn’t lie. It contains hibiscus, clove, lavender, licorice, sweetleaf, and lemon balm. It’s bold, rich, and complex for a tisane. Recommended, but don’t let it steep too long, or the flower gets a little bitter.

Before I got started today, I stopped in at the Tearoom in the University of Washington Medical Center where they serve Xanadu teas. The chai is my second favorite of all chais (the first being from Travelers Tea Co., a little Indian store at 601 Pine, famed for its authentic masala chai recipe). I always add a bit of half and half and a packet or two of raw sugar, though its very drinkable alone, as it has a small amount of sugar crystals included in the mix. Old habits die hard, and I still like my chai with everything in it. Very spicy, but it doesn’t attack like Morning Glory, which is just too much for me.

I’ve just found a bus that will take me from our new house to several tea shops. So I might have the chance to do a little more exploring… once I find that box with the tea kettle in it.

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