The training, of course, varies dependant on the environment and type of tea service required.
As you all are aware I’ve frequented many a tea establishment and have reported the good, bad and the ugly, from tea bags to loose leaf and both types of tea offerings have encompassed these qualities.
Recently, I treated myself to a tea experience, part of my pre-birthday celebration that is worthy of positive commentary.
This small tea bar besides serving good quality loose leaf tea provides exemplary tea service and does it with such finesse that I felt I must recognize.
When I entered the seating was almost full. I spotted an empty seat at the end of the bar and excused my way down, large pocketbook and all.
Once seated I was approached by a familiar face and welcomed, at first I think my hostess thought I was there solely for a tea pick up and I mentioned I would like to sit for a centering cup of tea. She immediately gave me their lengthy tea menu to review.
Since this was not going to be the usual two dollar and seventy-five cents cup, I perused it carefully and began asking questions. I made mention of my extreme fondness of woodsy notes in tea and today, after just coming from an event I hosted where I served an herbal I needed some Camellia sinensis.
The lovely tea specialist suggested a Rou Gui True Cliff and verified her suggestion with the owner. She then went for the canister clearly labeled and pulled out the vacuum-sealed individual gaiwan serving bag.
She filled the bowl with the dark leaves and applied the initial rinse; I felt the joy of space and time alteration as the aroma wafted through the air. My immediate response was to wave it more in my direction so eager was I to immerse myself in the beauty of the brew.
With the first sip I was centered, the second warmed, the third completed the task of total tea revival.
As I sat and enjoyed, I began to consider my environment and what was going on around me. I mentioned before the bar was filled, I began to observe the patrons and how they were experiencing this oasis.
At the front of the bar was a young man whom I had seen before at my last visits to the shop, clearly a regular, his tea set-up different from other patrons with yixing at center stage denoted serious tea drinking. The young ladies beside me laughed and giggled as they compared information retrieved on their cell phones.
Others seated talked about the tea experience and asked questions about teas listed on the menu.
There were groups speaking about business, artistry and execution of such, whilst forever noticing the tea.
All the while, our hosts kept our serving cups filled with additional infusions making sure to notice if they were nearing completion.
At one point I viewed the tea specialist in the process of educating her customer about the tea she was preparing, while completing the task of brewing and pouring the infusion. It was just beautiful to see, I got such a warm almost spiritual feeling watching her go through the task of serving tea so effortlessly.
This is a testimony for hiring/training experienced tea personnel where tea is being served, the enhanced experience is what will influence customer retention.
I could have spent the balance of my day in this lovely environment, had I not been mindful of my other duties, I would have stayed for more infusions. My hosts were wonderful and I will be returning again for a quality tea experience.
Thank you Shunan and Nicole for adding a smile to my day.
123 East 7th Street, East Village