Thursday, October 05, 2006

A New Brew in San Francisco


I'm a big tea drinker. I love tea, and the whole idea of tea. Which is probably why I love London. Anywho, I've always been disappointed at how there's no tea brand in San Francisco that I can go to get consistently good and flavorful teas. I like my tea with a sweet blend because I drink most of my tea as iced tea. I brew a pot every week and have a glass for dinner every night. Does it get any better?

I've found some great places in New York, London, Paris, and even Portland, where my sister lives. But never found anything reliable in San Francisco. Until now.

In the new Westfield San Francisco Center on Market Street, an outlet of Lupicia tea stores has opened. I first discovered this import from Japan at a mall in Honolulu. They have a mix of fine classic black, green and white tea, but they also have a fun mix of flavored tea. I would always have to buy my supply when I visited my family in Hawaii and then pine for more when I would drink them too fast and I'd run out before my next visit to the islands. Now, I can just catch the BART to pick up some of my favorites.

Yes, some of Lupicia's flavored tea is a bit odd. I question sometimes the red pearl-like balls mixed in with leaves. In one odd flavor that thankfully has been discontinued, there were actually small blue-colored rocks that were supposed to be lava. They have such a large variety of tea that you can feel overwhelmed trying to figure out which to try. So to make it easier, my two recommendations are among my favorites: 1) Muscat is a black tea with the subtle sweet scent and flavor of the muscat grape, and 2) Paradise, a mix of black tea with dried fruits including cranberry, mango, and strawberry. Yes, when you drink it, you'll feel like you're in paradise.

4 comments:

quel-fromage said...

Have you tried Aroma on 6th Ave, just off Clement? There is a little "bar" there and the owner will brew up tiny pots of the different teas for you to taste. If you like sweetish teas, try the "blue people" oolong. It has a lovely, lingering sweet finish. I'm completely hooked. It's nice that you can taste any tea in the store, and the owner is very knowledgeabe if just a trifle weird. Hey, it's San Francisco.

Chef Ben said...

No, haven't heard of Aroma. Will definitely give it a try next time I'm out shopping for fresh crab at the Chinatown fishmarkets on Clement. ;-) Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I know this is an old post, but I figure I should throw this out there.

If you're in Chinatown, try looking for the Red Blossom Tea Company on 831 Grant Street. If memory serves, they carry a comparable Jasmine Pearl tea at a cheaper price.

I like both Lupicia and Red Blossom Tea, yeah. Check that out.

Chef Ben said...

Thanks for the tip. I agree, I always go to Chinatown for my jasmine pearl and other traditional teas. But when it comes to a nice creative floral mix, Lupicia has some interesting finds.