Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chocolate and Tea Tasting on MI Tea Tour

After all the gifts [which were spontaneous and voluntary - no gift exchange was ever mentioned in any of the trip correspondence], it was time for the chocolate and tea tasting.

When Teresa asked me about doing a tasting I had no idea how extensive and lovely it would be. I had memories of a simple chocolate and tea tasting at the 2007 World Tea Expo, and assumed her's would be similar.

Once I stepped inside the conference room I realized what a labor of love Teresa had provided for us. Packing and transporting a lot of equipage was required, to say nothing of washing and repacking most of it when the tasting was over.  Teresa executed the tasting single-handedly and with excellence, and could easily be hired to perform tastings for tea rooms. Her sweet roommate [my dear friend, Lori] helped with set-up and clean-up, however. Thank you Teresa and Lori for getting our tea tour off to such a wonderful start!

I snapped the photo below while Teresa was setting up.

Place mats, autumn leaf doilies and candles, and blooming teas in stemmed glassware were placed on the table for lovely aesthetics. 

[L-R:  Judith, Gloria, and Joanie]

Three pieces of chocolate were used for the tasting which we cut into fourths.  One piece was for tasting by itself, and the other three were for tasting with three teas.  And yes, that is a real flower and piece of fern on the plate for visual delight!

The chocolates were from Stella Leona artisan chocolates.

The first chocolate we tasted was 'Lavender Fields' - a lavender infused ganache enrobed with dark chocolate and finished with lavender buds.  It was tasted with [1] Harney & Sons Wedding Tea - a Chinese white tea.  [2] Jasmine Phoenix Dragon Pearls, a classic green tea from Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, MI.  [3] A special decaf black tea blend from Simpson & Vail. My favorite in that pairing was the Wedding white tea.

Each of us was provided with our own tasting program/outline for note taking.

Below was my place setting.  Miniature 6.5 oz. water bottles [the cutest little things!] were provided along with crackers and wafers for palate cleansing between tastings.

[Yours Truly]

Teresa passed around dishes with the dry leaf tea and the infused leaf, and a coordinating visual for the chocolate [lavender] in the center.

A teapot was passed around for each of us to fill our own cups.  Teresa tagged each teapot with the name of the tea so there'd be no confusion or mix-ups.

Judith loves gardening and butterflies, so below was her place setting.  The teacups were perfect for her since they were floral with butterfly handles. Aren't they beautiful?  Teresa thought of everything!

The second chocolate was Honey Cinnamon Truffle - a mouth watering honey cinnamon ganache center enrobed with milk chocolate and finished with a dusting of cinnamon.

The chocolate was tasted with [1] China Yellow Dragon - a yellow classic tea from Tea Haus with the description: a rare green tea variety made with closely held processing methods. The gently baked leaves yield a slightly sweeter brew than green tea. [2] Bossa Nova - an Oolong tea also from Tea Haus.  [3] Flavored Green Tea Apple from Fortnum & Mason in London, England.

My favorite in that grouping was Bossa Nova, but flavored Green Tea Apple was very good too. Both teas were excellent by themselves and with the chocolate.  I have never been to Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, but I'll definitely be paying them a visit soon. 

The last chocolate was a Mint Tea Truffle, made from decadent dark chocolate mixed with fresh cream infused with green tea and spearmint.  The center is enrobed in dark chocolate and finished with tea leaves. 

It was tasted with [1] Japan Kukicha Extra - a classic green tea from Tea Haus.  [2] Makai Black tea from Hawaii.  [3] Vanilla Mint Pu-erh.

The chocolate brought out the mint flavor of the Pu-erh, if you could get past its earthy smell.  My favorite in this group was the Japan Kukicha Extra green tea.  The tea was good by itself and with the chocolate.

[L-R: Lori, Nancy, Linda J. and Linda P.]

[L-R: Linda P., Me, and Barb]

After the tasting we all went to our rooms.  Thursday's itinerary was shopping in quaint downtown Rochester and Afternoon Tea at the Royal Park Hotel - next post.

P.S.  Some of the photos used in this post belong to Linda J., Linda P., and Judith R. Thanks ladies for allowing me to use them.


  1. This looks so interesting! I have never been to a tea tasting! I am enjoying your posts about your Michigan TeaTour!

  2. Oh, my, what a delight! To start with, the chocolates and the teas each sound delicious by themselves, I'm sure the pairings were even more so. Teresa touched on all the details of a professional tasting - the water and crackers for palate cleansing, the teacups, the look of the dry and steeped tea, etc. A great way to start your tea tour!

  3. What a wonderful time! I am so glad T had a tea and chocolate pairing for your tour. It made it very special.

  4. I'm finding reliving the experiences through our blog photos as enjoyable as when we first did things. Teresa's presentation really started the tour off as a special evening for me.

  5. Close to Heaven. I want and need this exact day outing in My life.

  6. Oh Dear what did I miss out on-A Tea Tour? : ( Oh sad ME

  7. Such a wonderful theme for a tea tasting! You ladies certainly know how to celebrate a tea tour. We all know how much work goes into hosting a tea party. I cant imagine how tricky it was to do such an amazing job on the road! Cant wait to see the rest of your adventure. Are you selling tickets to your next tour????

  8. How lovely of Teresa to put this together. What a treat. Pairings with tea are so fun to do and I very much appreciate those that have a talent for doing so.

  9. This was an exceptional beginning to the MI Tea Tour! What a great contribution from Teresa.

  10. I loved putting this together. The entire tour was so much fun! Phyllis really out did herself! I am ready for another tour anytime.
    Sips and Smiles,


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