Tea Giving: Day 6 (Jade Cloud)

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“All our wisdom is stored in the trees (and plants.)” – Santosh Kalwar

Poor Kermit the Frog, but in this case it really is Easy Being Green. We call Jade Cloud our “least offensive” green tea.  It’s one of those green teas that’s just easy to drink and just about everyone that tries it, likes it.

Its not overly grassy, not overly vegetal, not overly spinach-y or asaragus-y. Its just not “overly”. It’s easy. It’s why it’s one of our most popular everyday green teas. And its Organic.

I often hear from many people that they don’t like green tea. My response is always a reply with these 5 questions:

  1. What green tea is it?
  2. How much tea are you using in your cup?
  3. How are you heating the water?
  4. How long are you brewing it?
  5. Have you tried Jade Cloud?

The answers to questions 2-4 once I’ve recommended Jade Cloud are:

  • 1/2 – 1 rounded tsp per 8-10oz cup (Most American mugs are larger than that)
  • It should be around 175˚ (Not boiling. Boiling burns the leaf creating bitterness)
  • Roughly 2 minutes though some people have reported they like theirs at 3 minutes. (Any longer and the bitterness will come through. And that’s true of most green teas.)

Question #1 is key because it really does come down to the type of green tea a person may or may not like. Some love the distinct notes of Japanese greens that are highly grassy while others prefer greens with lighter floral notes. It’s often a matter of finding the green tea that makes your tastebuds sing rather than just a blanket statement of: “I don’t like green teas.”

Green TeaOur Jade Cloud comes from the Anhui Province of China where clouds drift in and cool the gardens and create some shade. That brings out its deep green color and develops its wonderful flavor. It’s grown at a high elevation of 1200 meters and harvested in early Spring, when the tea leaves are young.

The color of the brewed liquid is light – almost a pale yellow and has aromatic notes of cucumber and magnolia flowers and cucumber. It’s flavor is slightly buttery, smooth, with light notes of citrus and a touch vegetal.

If you are looking to find your way into drinking green tea here’s an opportunity to try Jade Cloud. Use code TEAGIVING6 to get 25% OFF this delightful Green tea.

It just might change your mind about Green Tea.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 6 (Jade Cloud)

4,015 days

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Pearl Fine Teas turns 11 years old today!

11 years.

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11 years of fulfilling a simple dream to travel and sip tea with strangers.
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11 years of glorious blunders (also know as learning and growth.)
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11 years of meeting some pretty cool humans in an industry filled with passionate nerds.
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11 years of support from loved ones and strangers (many of whom are now friends.)
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11 years of change and navigating uncharted (boiled) water.
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11 years covered in tea leaves and tea stains and a regular supply of Crest White Strips.
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11 years on a mission. Committed to the TeaLife and spreading TeaLove to anyone that crosses my path.
………..

Here’s to endless cups of tea on Day 1 of the 11th year of Pearl Fine Teas – and all the TEAdventure still to come. Hope you will stay for the rest of this ride…

Please enjoy a site wide Anniversary Sale celebrating a decade + 1 in the wonderful world of tea.

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I wouldn’t be the Chief Leaf without all the good people who supported me over the last 4,015 days.  Thank you and Happy Sipping!
4,015 days

Healing Heart Tonic

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Say Hello to District Blend #02: Brookland!

Welcome to the little hamlet where Pearl Fine Teas was born almost 11 years ago. To honor this lovely part of Washington DC, I’m finally introducing the newest member to the Pearl Fine Teas family: Healing Heart Tonic.


But first, a little about Brookland:

“Brookland evolved in the early 1870s, when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran its western branch line through this area. The rail line was situated alongside a fine 1840 Greek Revival farmhouse known as the Brooks Mansion, home of Colonel Jehiel Brooks. In the late 1880s, Catholic University was established just north of Colonel Brooks’ farm. Developers quickly responded, creating a new Washington neighborhood beyond the central city and taking its name from Colonel Brooks. The university provided a centerpiece for a large number of Catholic institutions.

In the early days, Brookland, with its single-family, wood-frame houses in styles ranging from Queen Anne to Craftsman – attracted government workers, Smithsonian Institution scientists, and people of many ethnic backgrounds who shared the Catholic faith. In the 1930s, Brookland attracted affluent African Americans looking for an area that was not restricted to whites only. Of particular note are 13 International style houses designed by Hilyard Robinson and Howard H. Mackey, two of Washington’s most prominent African American architects of the era. Robinson was responsible for the Ralph Bunche house, 1510 Jackson Street, NE, built for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Many other prominent black Washingtonians made their home here, including the entertainer Pearl Bailey, the poet Sterling Brown, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Robert Weaver, Senator Edward Brooke, and historian Rayford Logan. Brookland enjoys an interesting history of civic activism. Most recently it rescued the Brooks Mansion, which still stands near the Brookland Metro station, a symbol of this community and its heritage.”


This neighborhood is located in the Northeast section of DC and is known informally as “Little Rome” due to the influence of the Catholic Church and home to Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Rose garden at the Franciscan Monestery

I first discovered this little enclave back in 2003 – a hidden gem, devoid of trend and pretension. I loved the diversity of people, the loving warm-hearted neighbors, the chirping birds, the stunning green spaces with gardens galore – and the gorgeous refuge of the Franciscan Monastery where you often see a Monk or Nun strolling in deep contemplation and reflection. A quiet walk through the rose garden instantly infuses a sense of peace and puts all things in perfect perspective. As a member of the Franciscan Garden Guild, I’ve spent time in the greenhouse, helping with the famous yearly Plant Sale and even learned how to extract honey from the bees they keep.

My neighborhood has inspired me in so many ways – mostly notably with the profound friendships I’ve made living here that have touched and warmed my heart – specifically my good friend Bill. He is no longer with us, but I had the privilege of being his next door neighbor for 14 years.  We had a lot of fun during those years and he taught me a thing or 10 about everything from how to install a light fixture to how to navigate some of life’s steeper slopes. It was a joyful friendship and one I deeply cherish. It’s also why I wanted to create a blend that reflected and honored that special friendship – which was born right here in Brookland.

Bill was a Deacon in his Church; He loved roses, and chewing on lemon grass and good ole’ fashioned ginger root. The Brookland Healing Heart Tonic is a blend of  those 3 ingredients and is totally caffeine free, healing, and heart warming. Besides the emotional healing benefits of this tisane, there are also many actual health benefits to this wellness tonic:


herbal rose tea.

Rose: 
• Naturally uplifting (especially for those prone to feeling down or depressed)
• Regulates hormone levels (how the neurotransmitters in our brain are regulated)
• Can help to improve liver function and increase urination (natural diuretic)
• Releases toxins from the body
• Good source of Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• May also help treat arthritis, menstrual cramps, cold/flu, digestive issues, and insomnia


Lemon Grass. Cymbopogon citratus. Capim Limao, Santo.Lemon grass:
• Traditionally used to help control and normalize heart rate and for high blood pressure.
• Used for the treatment of depression and anxiety
• Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal
• Loaded with Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• Citral is the active constituent and lemon grass has the highest concentration of it compared to any other plant in the world. Citral has antioxidant and anti-tumor properties that both benefit the brain.


Isolated gingerGinger:
• Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Fungal
• Boots Immunity
• Aids digestion and relief from nausea
• Improves heart disease risk factors
• May lower Cholesterol
• May have powerful anti-diabetic properties
• Can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride level (similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin)
• Studies show its effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis
• Can protect against age-related damage to the brain (Alzheimers) and can also improve brain function in elderly women



Healing Heart Tonic (District Blend #02: Brookland)
will debut at markets on:

• Saturday, May 5th: Falls Church Farmers Market, VA  (8am – Noon)
• Saturday, May 5th:  Monroe Street Farmers Market, Brookland DC  (9am – 1:00 pm)
• Sunday, May 6th:  Central Farm Market in Bethesda, MD (9am – 1:30pm)
• You can also purchase online in the Tea Shop here.

“There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.” ~ Charles Dickens
“Happy Sipping!” ~The Chief Leaf

 

Healing Heart Tonic

Tea by the Sea

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The Little Green Giant Tea Kettle and a cuppa tea by the sea

I’ve been romping around in oversized pajama pants, a sweatshirt and soft wool socks holding a mug of tea every day since I arrived.

I’ve wanted to stay at Addy Sea for years but there was never an open opportunity until now. It was random, as many things are, and yet it arrived right on time when I clicked their website to see about winter rates and discovered a writing retreat listed for the first week of March. It didn’t take much convincing after that to find out more and book it along with my room.

A mere 2.5 hour drive from Washington DC on a late Sunday afternoon had me arriving at the Inn when it was dusk. I had the prearranged code to get into the main parlor and the code to unlock my room was waiting for me on the welcome piece of paper at the arrival desk. That little handwritten note with check-in information ended with this: “There are cupcakes in the fridge.” 

Up I went… two flights of wonderful creaky stairs to the 3rd floor and room #10. I opened the door and the view of 3 large windows facing the ocean and the sound of crashing waves started a chemical reaction that I’m vaguely familiar with. I think it’s called relaxation. I dropped my bag, opened the window and stared for a very, very long time.

“Tea!”

That word popped into my head like an order rather than a suggestion. I rummaged through my tea travel bag – always filled with Pearl Fine Teas along with my Bodum travel water kettle, or as I call it: Little Green Giant (LGG). Certainly the best investment any tea lover can make. There is nothing worse then staying somewhere that may filter its hot water through a Keurig or coffee maker. One can never know. So one must always be prepared. If ever there was a way to kill a cuppa, it’s like that, and frankly, I’d rather drink nothing than expose my tastebuds to that chaos. I call it “Tea-PTSD” and because of that, my LGG always comes along for the ride. And isn’t also nice to have a kettle in the room to boil water on demand? Common in most Asian countries – but not here in the US.

With LGG heating up, the “make-your-own-teabag” is on deck with our Ginger Lemon Tisane. The power in this concoction seems to wipe away sore throats quickly which has been lingering for a few days now. So now its time to sit. With hot cuppa tea. In semi-darkness listening to crashing waves and looking for stars.

The next morning I’m up at 7am thanks to the eastern sunrise shining into the room, LGG is plugged in, rolling a boil and Assam is on deck awaiting to take a dip. I sip and stare at the horizon for a time and then make way down those creaky old steps to breakfast which is held in what looks like a dining room out of a Jane Austen novel. In fact, that’s what I referred to it as the entire time I was there: The Jane Austen Dining and Tea Room.

It is only then as I’m enjoying breakfast that I realize: I am the only guest in the entire Inn. Just me. I texted this phenomenon to a friend, and her text back was: “Writing. Alone in an inn? It sounds like the Shining.” My reply? “Naaaaa.” Though there are stories floating around on different websites where people have heard noises, it is a house built in 1901 out of wood and located directly on the beach. What house wouldn’t creak? And what malevolent spirit would reside in a house with this much warmth, beauty, and direct view of the sea that serves cakes and tea at 3? I’d like to think Jane herself pops in now and then to oversee the tea room and make sure the Royal Albert Country Roses china is in place, as she grabs a pen to sit and write by the fire.

The small buffet held warm eggs and bacon, freshly baked muffins, fruit, greek yogurt and a selection of cereals. As you can guess, what I was most interested in was the tea collection which was presented in a lovely classic wooden box with selections from Lipton and Twinings.  Sadly, no can do. But also, not a problem.

As I’m digging through my canvas tea travel bag to pull out a gorgeous Darjeeling 2nd flush, I meet Sarah who works at the Inn part time and is also the owner of Swell Cakery nearby.  Sarah bakes many of the tea time treats at Addy Sea. Sarah also loves tea. So I reach into my bag of tea tricks and pull out a tea for her to enjoy the rest of her day.

A lot has happened already and it’s only 1030am. The other writers have arrived, we all gather around a table closer to the fireplace in the Jane Austen dining room, and I learn that all of them are tea drinkers. I obviously offer to be the Tea Facilitator and share my personal stash with them each day. With our own hot water urn on the table for endless re-steeps, this makes it even easier to be creative and to sip tea without having to get up for a refill. Brilliant!

And this became the routine for the next 3 days: writing and tea, writing and tea, cheese and crackers, chocolate dipped macaroons, another round of tea and a walk along the ocean.  As one might say in the time of Jane Austen’s: “How heavenly.”

I have only good things to say about Addy Sea : from the rooms that felt like home with soft eco-friendly coverlets and fluffy pillows, the oversized bath towels and eco-friendly bath products, the courtesy hairdryer, the bottle of wine by the fire, the extremely friendly and respectful staff, the change of flowers on the tables every single day. Cinde’s wealth of information, humor and willingness to try a a new tea; Steve’s lightening quickness to fix a rather lazy shade in my room; Sarah’s tasty gluten-free tea treats; Tiffany’s cheery personality and gift of chocolate covered strawberries; Jason’s one-on-one chef demonstration on poaching the perfect egg… And their willingness to accommodate and treat this Chief Leaf like she was a long lost friend, as she did research and drank tea by the sea for 4 days.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea by the Sea

10 Years of Tea! (It’s our Anniversary!)

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It’s our Anniversary today!

How does one celebrate 10 years in the tea industry, peddling leaves every weekend through rain, sleet, snow, hail, hurricanes, blizzards, heat waves, humidity, wind storms, earthquakes, flying locusts, vampires and alien invasion? Well maybe not the last 3…

First: Let’s get this out of the way: I actually like selling tea at farmers markets on weekends. I love the sense of community, my fellow warriors/small business vendors, my tea obsessed customers, and the fact that I can now carry and open a 70 pound EZ UP tent all by myself and throw it in the TeaMobile with ease. Tea built muscles. Tea brought friends.

Second: The cliche is true when people say things like: “How did 10 years go by so fast?” Or “It feels just like yesterday when…” Both are true for me, especially with regard to making the decision to step into the tea industry. As Frank Sinatra says: I did it my way and chose a different path than most tea businesses. Right or wrong, July 18, 2017 marks the 10 Year Anniversary of Pearl Fine Teas!

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The famous TeaTent at markets

Third:  I’m often asked this question: “What made you want to start a tea business?” It’s taken me 10 years to truncate the story into a few sentences:

“It’s something that was always nagging at me and I decided that I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and think: I wish I’d tried to do something in tea. So I did it. I figured the worst thing that could happen was nothing, but at least I gave it a shot.”

The long version:  It was sometime in late April early May 2007. A late night Google search for “TEA” brought me to a link for a Tea Expo happening in Atlanta. I saw there were classes offered in tea education and on that particular weekend there was Tea 101 and 102.  You had to pass Day 1 in order to participate in Day 2. I booked my flight to Atlanta that night and a few weeks later there I was standing in line for Tea 101. As I stood there I actively easvesdropped on a woman I heard telling someone she had just bought an online tea company. My interest peaked, I butted in and asked her about it and then proceeded to sit next to her and grill for her 2 days about how and what she did. Those 2 days turned into over 4 years of tea training with my good friend Barb Tuscon the former own of SBS Teas. She and I took every class together from that day forward. I’m honored to call her my first official tea friend. Barb has since retired and travels the world with her husband Chuck, but I know shes still drinking really good tea!

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Cupping green teas at STI

I left that 2 day Expo, got home, fired up my computer and started Googling Online Tea Businesses for sale. There were two I had active interest in, with the first being well out of my price range with no financials to support the fee. The second one popped up out of nowhere one day. I had to do a double take, reload the page and make sure what I was seeing was correct: Pearl Fine Teas was for sale and it had the cutest logo ever. I contacted the owner and found it out it was located in Canada and the price happened to be just right. A few weeks later, I was the proud owner of Pearl Fine Teas, USA. Boxes of tea were held up at the border control and I remember getting a call from an agent who asked me if what was coming across was illegal. I told him he was welcome to open the boxes and try to smoke anything in there but that the better option was to just steep it. He laughed and the boxes were on there way. Of course they showed up on a weekend when I was out of town and my next door neighbor Bill dragged everyone of them into his own house until I got back. There were many, many, many boxes.

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Making Oolong in Taiwan

Time frame: From initial thought to actually owning an online tea business took exactly: 2 months. I made sure to sign papers and transfer funds on July 18, 2007 which according to all my calculations was a very good birthday for Pearl Fine Teas.

What came next:  Nothing. I had no idea what the heck to do. Friends and family supported me by going to the site and making purchases at Christmas time. I was thrilled! I had made my first $600! The site just sat there, the boxes of tea were piled up in my house and I was still continuing my tea training. By Spring of 2008, my bookkeeper had said that I should consider selling tea at the farmers market where he volunteered in Del Ray, VA. I didn’t think that would be my cup of tea, but he insisted I should try. I brought a small table, a regular umbrella, about 8 teas and started going to market on Saturdays. This was the early days before the DC Metro Farmers Market boom and I believe I was one of the only people selling tea at markets aside from another girl who sold at Eastern Market. (Del Ray Market will always hold a special place in my heart since that was the official kick off of selling teas at markets.) From that point on I just kept moving forward.

Here are some highlights over the past years:

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Cover of TEA. A Magazine and our Obama Blend

• Speaker on Tea at the Metro Cooking year for 3 years.

• Traveled to Taiwan twice, Japan, and Sri Lanka to make and purchase tea.

• First certified Tea Professional in Washington DC through STI

• First to tweet about the Obama/McCain election, asking on Twitter if either candidate was a tea what would they be. A photo of the winning blend made the cover of TEA. A Magazine.

• Survived a fire and lost all inventory; rebuilt, and opened a pop-up tea shop in Union Market (DC) that turned into 18 months.

Pearl Fine Teas has gotten Runner-Up for Best Tea Shop 3 times! (We only have a tent and online shopping)

• Got to meet Venerable Geshe Tenzin Dhargye at the 2011 Kalachakra in DC who took my gift of tea (Hawaiian Zen)  to the  Dalai Lama. It was a great honor.

 

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Tea garden in Japan

Tea changed my life. In ways I could have never expected. It helped me be a better Creative Director to my existing clients, it helped me understand products, product marketing, consumers, buying trends, and what people see/don’t see while shopping. It expanded my circle and brought people into my life I would have otherwise never met. It has helped me connect with humanity, increased my compassion and it’s brought me fulfillment knowing that I have helped change peoples lives. That’s a legacy I can live with.

So, here I am – 10 years in. Still. Selling. Tea. And still loving tea.

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District Blend 01: Georgetown Grey

Whats next? We’re celebrating making it 10 years in the tea industry, (in Washington DC) by introducing a new line of teas called: DISTRICT BLENDS! 6 tea blends that focus on 6 diverse neighborhoods in the Nations Capital. A new blend will release each month leading up to Christmas. Here is the first:

Georgetown Grey
Who doesn’t love Georgetown? Old historic buildings, small shops, waterfront, jazz clubs, cobblestone streets, the canal and always so many flowers. When I need to feel like I’m in a Europe-like setting, I find my way to Georgetown. To honor its classic charm and loveliness our first blend combines a gorgeous Indian Darjeeling black tea with Italian Oil of Bergamot and is blended together with delicate flowers of pink rose petals, blue cornflowers and yellow calendula. If this neighborhood were a cup of tea it would be Georgetown Grey. You can purchase here.

You’ll have to check back next month to find out what neighborhood blend debuts for August!

A big thank you to everyone who was supportive, helpful, kind, encouraging, and loyal these last 10 years – especially my customers. I’ve gotten to live out one of my dreams: To travel the world for tea. Without all of you, I’d just be drinking tea at home and annoying my friends and family with talk of one day owning a tea company.

I’m excited to see what unfolds over the years to come as Pearl Fine Teas continues to spread TeaLove around the world.

Happy Sipping!
~ The Chief Leaf

10 Years of Tea! (It’s our Anniversary!)

Sakura Sencha “Cherry Blossom” Tea

the Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival
The Tidal Basin at the Jefferson Memorial

If you haven’t made your way to Washington DC during Cherry Blossom Season, put it on your bucket list. It’s such a beautiful time of the year here and often the weather is pleasant: not too hot – not too cold. This year was unusual in that we had a very warm Jan/Feb and then it dropped to freezing in early March. The Cherry Blossom bloom time was moved up and then moved again. It’s a reminder that Mother Nature is always in control. The National Cherry Blossom Festival lasts for 2 weeks and there are activities and events almost every day. Not only is it a fun time, the entire city is glowing with pink and white blossoms!

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Cherry Blossom Tin!

We have Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to thank for giving Washington DC its first cherry trees on March 27, 1912 as a gift of friendship to the people of the United States. These flowering cherry trees are called “Sakura,”  and is a symbol of the “evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.” You can read a bit more about this here.

 

To celebrate this time of year, (which happens to be my favorite), I source a very small amount of Sakura Sencha. It’s a very refined blend of premium Sencha green tea and cherry blossoms, but this years blend has added Matcha  and a few rose petals for added visual appeal. This is one of my all time favorite teas and what makes it so special is that you have to wait a whole year before you can enjoy it again!

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Sakura Sencha with Matcha

Here are some tasting notes on this delightful healthy, flavorful green tea. You can purchase 2oz of this tea on our website – and it comes in a lovely cherry blossom tea storage tin! I hope you will give it a try.

• Overview:   Yabukita Species Green Tea from Shizuoka, Japan
• Dry Leaf:    Smallish, long and slightly flat
• Liquor (liquid):    Gorgeous bright green
• Aroma:   Fresh, green, cherry fruit
• Flavor notes:    Subtle notes of cherry show up at the finish. The matcha powder added is not overpowering, but compliments the blend nicely. A very easy green tea to drink.
• Brewing recommendation:    170° Fº / 1 minute / At least 2-3 infusions
• Caffeine: Yes

 

Purchase tea now.

ありがとうございました Arigatogozaimashita!

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

#tealove
#sakurasencha
#cherryblossoms

Sakura Sencha “Cherry Blossom” Tea

Vote for Tea!

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It’s that time of year in Washington DC when our local pub, The Washington City Paper has its annual BEST OF DC READERS POLL!

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The TeaTent

This is where locals get to vote for what they consider the best in everything from: best place to nap to best hangover cure to best…tea shop!

I was pleasantly surprised in 2016 when we made it as Runner-Up in Best Tea Shop category.  I couldn’t have been happier, especially considering there is no actual bricks & mortar. Just a 10 x 10 tent that’s stuffed into my SUV TeaMobile, and lugged around every weekend to area Farmers Markets in the DC-MD-VA Metro Area. Through rain, sleet, snow, wind, heat, clouds and sunshine, you’ll find the #TeaTent propped up and filled with avid Tea Lovers picking up orders or just chit chatting about current events, dogs, politics, telling secrets, picking teas, buy gifts and making me laugh.

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Click here to Vote

2017 is officially my 10th year as a tea professional. July 17th to be exact! Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’ve just spent an entire decade in this kooky business. Aside from the amazing tea I get to drink every day of my life, it’s taken me all over the world and given me a profound sense of community and connection.

Over these last 10 years, I have made such lovely friends out of customers and I’m always delighted and grateful when they choose my micro tea company to spend their money. I’ve said it for years, and it’s still true today: I have the absolute best tea customers on the planet. Passionate, loyal and down right funny! Thank you to all the TeaNerds near and far who have supported Pearl Fine Teas from 2007 to 2017.

I hope you will vote for Pearl Fine Teas again this year!

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

#TeaLove
#SipTeaFeelHappy

Vote for Tea!