A few nights ago, I was invited to a tea event put on by Lupicia Fresh Tea at the
The store was closed for the night and San Francisco-based authors James Norwood Pratt and Jennifer Leigh Sauer (who’s primarily a photographer) were the featured guest speakers, talking about tea and their respective books on the tea experience.
BTW, all the brass was out for Lupicia, which interestingly added “fresh tea” to their names as an added emphasis on the quality of their tea. Lupicia, which I was first introduced to in
When I first arrived, I was greeted by this huge bowl of this tea refresher. It’s made with mango oolong tea, fresh mint and vodka. Who knew you could spike your iced tea with vodka? It was really refreshing. Just as refreshing was the non-alcoholic offering ….
... This beautiful drink made with green tea powder and grapefruit juice. I’m still not really sure how they kept the grapefruit juice and green tea separated, but it was very tasty.
Along with the drinks were a variety of tea cookies. On the extreme right is the “matcha roll,” which is a sponge cake made with green tea powder (the “matcha”). Next to it is a regular vanilla cookie and a genmaicha cookie (made with the toasted green tea) and finally a shortbread cookie with chocolate and black tea. They all looked delicious (but sorry to say I didn’t sample any of them since I was full from an early dinner).
Here’s James Norwood Pratt speaking about the “cult of tea.” He’s written several books on tea, including the “New Tea Lover’s Treasury” and “The Tea Lover’s Companion.” He’s very much the tea professor, and he says that when he first started writing about tea in 1982, sales of tea in the
Jennifer Leigh Sauer is actually a photographer who fell in love with tea less than two years ago. She was so inspired that she went around
Lupicia set up various tea stations where we could try 10 varieties of tea, from black to red to green to herbal. I love the cute small porcelain cups used to taste test the tea. You know, in old martial arts movies I saw growing up in
Here's an herbal tea called Adagio that has African roobios tea with grapefruit and lemongrass. Right next to it was one of my favorite teas, another herbal tea called “Sweet Dreams.” It had a slight citrus undertone that was very … zzzzzZZZZ.
I asked Pratt what is his favorite tea of the moment, and it so happens, he says, that it’s
The Dongding Oolong tea was so delicate and complex at the same time. It was perfectly brewed by the Lupicia staff and it was served with a sniffer bottle to allow us to enjoy the tea’s fragrance before drinking the tea. The tea itself had almost a nutty flavor, almost like almond. It was yummy, but I probably won’t be getting any because it sells for $1,000 per 100 grams.
It was a fun, enjoyable evening hearing tea lovers talk about tea and getting to taste some first hand. If you’re ever in the Westfield Centre, you should stop by Lupicia (or any of its other
Lupicia Fresh Tea, San Francisco Centre, 845 Market St., San Francisco. (Second location at Stonestown Galleria.) PH: 415.227.0533.