As a tree has many branches each leaf is unique, with proper care and nurturing the tree will grow and thrive.
There is much to be said about the tea people in my circles. Our interests, palates, industry choices, favorite brands may differ, although despite all the differences, we stay connected by the leaf.
And I will fess up now “I so enjoy meeting and interacting with my friends in tea”.
There is something wonderful that happens within my spirit, an uplifting charge and reaffirmation that I am, where I am supposed to be.
On Friday, one of my dear tea friends placed this post on FaceBook
It was no coincidence that I had been trying for several weeks to find someone to join me on a tea trek to this expo. I immediately responded I’m in.
After a few d/m’s we made the arrangements to meet and share this experience.
Although I am a morning person, planning to meet at a subway stop destination by 11:30am on a Sunday morning was not the norm for me.
Arriving on time and sending my “I’m here” message to Nicole, Tea For Me Please, she let me know that her train was delayed and also informed me we would be joined by another, “partner in tea”, Natasha, Snooty Tea Person.
When Nicole arrived we began our journey to Queens. On the train and bus, lively tea conversation began, playing catch up on the many days past and comparing notes for future tea experiences.
The Queens Crossing Art Gallery space was a perfect venue set-up for the Fang product display and tasting. The artisan works lined the perimeter with the tasting tables in the center of the floor in linear arrangement.
I was disappointed that we were not allowed to take photographs. For a tea blogger this is decidedly a downer. The Culture Of Tea & Tea Ware Expo presented by Fang Gourmet Tea, though small, was a very nice representation of the high end products the company had to offer (note by high end, let me clarify, way above my budget). The items were exquisite and in each section I visited there was at least one tea set, tea tray, tea accessory that I would have liked to add to my collection.
The photos below are from the Fang Gourmet Facebook Page.
We had a lengthy conversation with one of the tea specialists about the amazing collection of Rock Mineral Teapots and Cups that were on display, the artisan workmanship was beautifully executed. The combination of the clay and minerals are said to elevate the quality of the tea (ok, I can not justify, ever, spending over $11,000.00 on a teapot).
For the tasting it was our intention to each order one brewing of a selected tea and share our tasting with each other. This resulted in another disappointment when we realized this was not permitted. The tasting menu was extensive from each variety and at varying prices. It took us a while to make our selection and finally agreed to share a gongfu style brewing, of Yiwu Hundred -year Ancient Tea Tree Loose Raw Puerh. The brew was enjoyable, expending six infusions from the long wiry leaves.
Not wanting to end the day on a “Queens” note, Nicole and I decided to continue our tea day journey and investigate a new matcha cafe recently opened in Manhattan. Natasha could not join us as she had another appointment scheduled.
Arriving at Grand Central station we bid Natasha goodbye then on to drink more tea. Our travels took us to Lower Manhattan and Alphabet City in search of a warm cup of Matcha.
Matcha Café Wabi, 233 East 4th Street, (between aves A & B), is a small matcha bar (standing room only) serving hand whisked Matcha, Matcha to go, as well as sweets, green tea ice cream and coffee. Though small, this compact environment where the atmosphere is friendly and warm. We scoped the menu and settled on a straight cup of liquid joy. A refreshing energizing treat on our tea trek and a new location to add to my list of recommended tea haunts. The shop will also feature exhibits by local artists and a variety of classes.
After this short much needed relief, we headed over to T Shop knowing there would be seating and more warm cups of tea. Seeing Theresa is always a pleasure and sharing tea with her a joy.
Earlier that day Nicole received a note from Yoon Hee, Tea for Life, inquiring how long we would be at the expo as she might like to join us. I was so excited thinking of the possibility of seeing her. When she arrived at T Shop my day was complete. More exciting tea conversation ensued and plans discussed.
Theresa shared a special tea with us from her personal collection. The leaves of this white tea are so beautiful (of course my visions explored the possibility of creating a piece of jewelry incorporating this element).
Time passes quickly as we were so engrossed in sips of tea and conversation. Honestly, I did not want to leave. The environment of T Shop is so comfortable, and our host so gracious, being there, especially with good friends, is like being at home.
FYI, I did make it home in time to catch Downton Abbey and proceeded to end the night with tea and treats. Oh and by the way the sweet in the cup is homemade matcha mousse. My daughter has given it the thumbs up.