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Tea, Tea, Tea from Portland

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The carpenter sent his helper to look at the book shelves and it was quickly determined that two men would be needed to tame those unruly beasts.  So we wait…in the mean time I shall console myself with tea.  The family is still very displeased with my latest purchase.

I love drinking tea.  More specifically, strong black tea.  I drink two, often three cups every morning and sometimes one in the afternoon or evening on cold days.  I brew a fresh pot for each cup in a Beehouse tea pot using loose tea leaves.  Last summer my sister-in-law and I took a trip to visit my dearest childhood friend, Taya.  She and her husband live in Portland and are also tea drinkers.  In fact Taya and I began enjoying tea while in grade school although we weren’t then opposed to using tea bags.

Portland, it turns out, is a tea drinkers paradise.  We traveled from one end of the city to the other searching for tea.  Not only do they have a lot of tea, they have fine purveyors of tea producing all manner of tea leaves prepackaged and sold by the ounce.  I came home with bags laden with ounces and ounces of tea.

One stop was at Steven Smith Teamaker.  Located in a nondescript store front, they package tea in the back, visible through glass panels.  Only small quantities in four ounce bags were available on a walk in basis.  If I had called ahead they would have sold larger quantities, probably not a worry for most visitors.   I bought No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1, a full leaf tea while there.  I have seen boxes of bags sold in stores, but never loose.  Their tea is amazing and so much better when brewed from loose leaves.

We also went to Townshend’s Tea Company.  I picked up a pound of #3  Assam (Irish Breakfast).  I love a strong, malty black tea and this one fills the bill.  I had to hurry and write this post because although I purchased a pound of this tea I am nearly out.  This is one I will have to replace pronto.

At The Tao of Tea I picked up two kinds; Rainforest Strong Black and Malty Assam.  The Rainforest Strong Black seems to be bitter no matter how I steep it.  Not a winner in my book but a portion of the proceeds benefitted someone or something.  The Malty Assam is indeed malty and a bit weak, but overall not so bad for the afternoon, but not strong enough to start the day.   I can’t say I love either of these.

I picked up eight ounces of Grandpa’s Anytime Tea at The Tea Zone.  I haven’t even opened it yet.  Looks and smells nice and strong.

I picked up English Breakfast tea at Teavana.  I can’t say it is my favorite, but I can find it in Santa Barbara.  It beats tea bags at any rate.

That is a lot of tea and it will be gone before I know it.  Portland is known for food trucks and being weird.  They also should tout their corner on the tea market.  I just wish Taya were here to enjoy it with me!